Finding a job can be tricky. And it’s even more challenging living in a foreign country. But we’ve got you covered! Here are eight tips for your job search in the Netherlands.
Whether you’re looking to get a bit of extra spending money next to your studies or searching for a more permanent position, the job search gets exponentially more challenging in a foreign country. We’ve got you covered! Here are our eight tips for your job search in the Netherlands.
Note: This post is geared mostly towards young professionals, recent grads and current students.
1Connect in your field
Network, network, network. Unfortunately, there is no way around it. An excellent way to network is through Meetup.com meetings. Meetup is a platform for online and in-person events on any topic, from online marketing and gaming to sports and other hobbies. It is a great way to meet people in your field and get to know different organizations.
Maybe you’re lucky, and one of the people you meet offers you an open position. But even if these events don’t result in a concrete offer, they will help you with your job search. You’ll get a better understanding of your field and meet interesting people with whom you might create a passion project. And above all: you’re expanding your network and building relationships, which might be fruitful in the future.
2Get on social media and ask for leads
Another great way to kickstart your job search in the Netherlands is the social platform LinkedIn. Many people are reluctant to post on LinkedIn because they think it’s attention-seeking or wouldn’t be helpful. However, LinkedIn is widely used in the Netherlands, and posting can be a great way to alert your network of your job search. If you’re not using the platform already, your first step in your job search should be to create an appealing profile. Many people forget that LinkedIn and similar tools are tools for you to use!
After you’ve created and/or polished your profile, write a post about your prior experience and what you’re looking for. Take some time to connect with people in the field and ask (new) connections if they know about a position or someone who might know more. It’s in the nature of people to help, so even though not all the contacts you’re reaching out to will be able or willing to support you, some of them will. Even if they don’t have a job for you, they might know someone who does. Besides, a post makes people aware that you are also looking for a job and might attract the attention of recruiters who might be able to place you in a position.
Read more about recruiters in our post on job agencies in the Netherlands.
3Use your teachers for your job search
Suppose you are still in school or university or recently graduated, you should benefit from the network of your (old) teachers. Speaking to a tutor after class or reaching out on LinkedIn to tell them that you are searching can work wonders.
Teachers you’ve got some rapport with are one of the most valuable connections you can make: they’ve got contacts in the field you are probably trying to get into, and they’re keen to help you out! If you don’t have teachers you bond with or are not a student or recent grad, think of a field expert, mentor or coach you established a connection with.
Recruitment and job agencies can also be a great kickstart for your job search in the Netherlands. Working with job agencies in the Netherlands is far more common than in other countries (in Europe). Next to Dutch employment agencies like Randstad, Manpower and Unique there are some agencies geared towards internationals living in the Netherlands.
Undutchables is probably the most popular job agency for internationals. Create a profile and select your field, preferred language and other criteria, and they’ll contact you when they’ve got a potential opportunity for you. This strategy is most effective when you’ve got some in-field experience and even better if you speak multiple languages! But also for starters recruitment agencies might be an excellent opportunity to get a foot in the door, as working with a recruiter will give you a competitive advantage.
5Join local Facebook groups
If you’re looking for a quick placement or need to get some extra spending money, join the Facebook groups about the area where you live. These groups often have posts from members who are promoting open positions at a variety of organization types. These jobs are typically service, retail, and entry-level, so they’re the perfect place to find a job that can help you pay the bills and live a bit more comfortably.
And who knows where one job can lead! One person consulted for this article found a server job through a Facebook group at a local restaurant, which led to a job in the tech industry through a coworker! These Facebook groups are a great place to get a job fast as response times are typically quicker than traditional job boards, and the jobs offered are more eclectic and flexible than what you’ll find through LinkedIn.
6Don’t neglect job portals
Despite the flexibility and diversity found through more informal platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, job portals are an invaluable tool for your job search in the Netherlands; Especially if you’re looking for a specific type of position in a particular field. Search by ‘Language Requirements’, a filter pretty much every job portal offers. It’ll save you a lot of time writing cover letters and filling out applications only to realize Dutch is a requirement at the company. Beyond that, you can sign up for updates on job listings in a specific field on most job portals.
Hot tip: Filter the results by ‘since last seen’ only to see jobs you haven’t encountered yet. This helps you only to see the new listings. We also recommend subscribing to email-reminder with job listings from different portals; this keeps you updated and is a daily reminder to apply!
The Netherlands is incredibly international, especially in large cities, and tons of jobs only require English. Even though you’re probably not waiting for this but, there’s no replacement for learning Dutch. Not only does it make you a more competitive candidate, but it really helps once you’ve actually got your job.
One person consulted for this article told us that she felt “a bit disconnected” from her coworkers:
They’re all really nice, but I feel a bit out of the loop, they chat with me in English, but whenever we’re a big group, they switch to Dutch. I totally get it, but it sucks sometimes.
Learning Dutch will help you to bond with your coworkers and will help you to solidify yourself within the environment of your new company. This bonding might not seem super essential to some, but in the Netherlands, it’s often a part of the culture.
8Work Hard – Party Hard
Once you’ve got that job locked down, it’s essential to understand the culture of the company you work at. Of course, the culture varies from company to company, but many Dutch companies – especially start-ups and younger companies – have a ‘Work Hard – Party Hard’ mentality. Most organize regular Friday events with drinks and activities.
Of course, you don’t have to join, but according to many, it’s a rewarding experience. So once you get that job you were searching for, it is essential to make an effort to connect with your coworkers. It will not only make your work more comfortable, but you might make some friends in the process. Also, these connections might be valuable for future job searches as colleagues switch jobs and companies.
That said, of course, do what you feel most comfortable with.
We hope these tips were helpful to you, and we wish you the most luck with your job search in the Netherlands.
The biggest thing you can do is to put yourself out there!
Let people know you’re searching, lean on your network for support, and meet people in the field you want to work in!
We are lucky to live in a great country with a generally rewarding working culture. Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips of your own or how your experience with the job hunt in The Netherlands is.