6Vacancies: Play the professional field
When it comes to applications and vacancies, make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. Why? In the Netherlands, your application may not receive a reply. Furthermore, official vacancies tend to get a lot of applications. Save yourself the disappointment of not hearing back from your one dream job by casting a wider net. How? Send an open application (Dutch: open sollicitatie). Here, you introduce yourself and your skills, hoping there might be a fit. Remember the lists you made in the first step? Now is the time to contact the companies that excite you.
Approach open applications with a ‘giving mindset’. After all, you are randomly popping up in someone’s inbox and asking them to hire you. Remember to show exactly what you can offer the company. Are you an Italian speaker and saw the company is looking to expand to Italy? Attach an Italian translation of their homepage to your application. Are you good with code and found a bug on the company’s website? Send them a suggestion on how to fix it. These acts of kindness not only show you pay attention but also exhibit a can-do attitude. This is something all employers look for.
Nothing to lose
Avoid open-application-fatigue by having a good ‘backbone’ for all your messages. You need a solid foundation that presents you and your capabilities. Add a few sentences describing what you can do for the specific company. Let your research skills shine in this section. The worst-case scenario for an open application is no answer, which you should be accustomed to already by Dutch standards. The best-case scenario is employment. You could also be an interesting candidate but there is currently no position available. In this scenario, you can end up in the company’s ‘talent pool’ as a contact for future vacancies.
Let them impress you
It’s easy to get a little discouraged as the search drags on and you keep trying to impress future employers. But, always keep in mind that companies should also impress you. Finally, you may feel intimidated or experience a bit of Imposter Syndrome during your quest for employment. Rest assured that you are not alone. Everyone feels this way from time to time. Especially when starting your career, things can become overwhelming.
However, never underestimate the power of enthusiasm versus experience! Someone who is energetic and eager to learn is a pleasant person to work with… maybe even more so than someone with ten years of experience but a bad attitude. Finding the right job is a matter of luck and skill, but in the end it’s mostly endurance. Keep looking, keep applying, and as the Dutch would say: Succes!