How to find a job if you are new in The Netherlands
Finding a job in The Netherlands, suitable to your specific qualities and qualifications, is often a major challenge for new residents to this country.
The biggest problem for newcomers often lies in the cultural differences. The chances of finding a job depends for a great deal on whether or not you speak sufficient English and/or Dutch and to which degree you have a proper understanding of how our job market works.
In this blog we will discuss some of the biggest challenges for people who are new to our country and we’ll discuss ways in which you will be more successful in finding a new job here.
Whether you are a student from abroad looking for a temporary job during your stay here to help pay your bills, or you have come here to find a better life for yourself (and perhaps family) and have decided to stay here permanently; the fact remains that it will take some time and effort getting used to our country, culture and language, and the quicker you are able to adapt the more likely it will be that you’ll find a job and successfully integrate.
When you’ve just moved to our country (or any new country), it is highly recommended to participate in some sort of integration program (‘Inburgeringscursus’) that will help you understand our culture better and helps you to learn our language. Understanding our culture and speaking our language is the most important factor for a successful integration in The Netherlands.
Our (local) government can provide the information and steps to start this process. You could also search the internet for local language and integration courses in your area.
Orientation of job market
Before you actively start searching for a job, it’s important to first get a better understanding of the way the Dutch job market operates. Investigating this will give you a better idea of what type of work you would like to do and what qualifications and requirements you will need to be able to start this job.
After you have orientated yourself with our job market and have decided what type of work is best suited for you, there are various ways in which you can embark on your job-searching adventure. To begin with, you could use your own local network, at least if you have one, to help you find work. Maybe one of your friends or family members knows someone who needs of a new, ambitious employee like you.
If your own network can’t help out with your job searching, you can always contact an employment agency (‘uitzendbureau’) in your area, like Student Inhuren, and ask if there are any vacancies.
Student Inhuren not only operates as an employment agency, but they are also specialized in mediating between companies that are keen to find new talent, students, young professionals or other ambitious people that are looking for a new job.
Other options are searching in the local newspaper, asking at local shops and restaurants, and internet for vacancies.
It’s also important to think about the way you want to position yourself on the job market.
For example, If you want to present yourself as a ‘multicultural person’, then it’s advisable to only search for companies where cultural diversity is actively promoted.
If this is not how you want to present yourself, it might be better to change your approach by taking away prejudices that might arise when applying for a job, depending on your country on origin.
In this case, it will definitely help if you can convince a company that you do not meet the usual prejudices. You can do this, for instance, by already naming these facts in your application letter or during the actual job interview. This can help you counter any biases your employer might have towards you.
Furthermore, the ‘UWV Werkbedrijf ‘ can assist and advise you while searching for a job. UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) is an autonomous administrative authority (ZBO) and is commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) to implement employee insurances and provide labour market and data services.
UWV has core tasks in four areas:
- employment– helping the client remain employed or find employment, in close cooperation with the municipalities;
- social medical affairs– evaluating illness and labour incapacity according to clear criteria;
- benefits– ensuring that benefits are provided quickly and correctly if work is not possible, or not immediately possible;
- data management– ensuring that the client needs to provide the government with data on employment and benefits only once.
What to do if you get turned down
Getting turned down for a job, especially after you’ve put a lot of time effort into preparing your resume and application letter, can be a tough pill to swallow and it can have a demoralizing effect on you. When this happens, it’s essential not to give up hope, and to return to ‘the drawing board’.
In some cases, the employer will provide you with helpful feedback, which you can then use to improve your future attempts. If you do not receive sufficient or any constructive feedback at all, you might consider asking your friends or family to provide you with feedback.
Make sure you are prepared before applying for a job:
- Updating your CV: It could well be possible that your CV does not meet the correct and professional standards that are required for the position you are aiming at. In this case, it’s advisable to search the internet for tips and tricks that could help you improve your CV. There are many good templates available online that will show you what a professional resume is supposed to look like;
- Maybe your application letter just wasn’t convincing or relevant enough. Remember that in many cases an application letter is vital to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants. A good application letter should always entail your personal qualities that are relevant for the specific job you are applying for. Also, an application letter is supposed to convince your potential employer in which ways the company will benefit from hiring you;
- Making a list of your strengths and weaknesses before going to the actual job interview will also help with your preparation. If you’re not entirely sure about what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can always ask your friends and family to help you with this;
- Asking your previous employers and former colleagues to write a recommendation on LinkedIn will greatly improve your chances of finding a job. Nowadays, internet (and specifically LinkedIn) plays a crucial roll to make yourself known and attractive for future employers. Recruiters often look on LinkedIn before approaching a potential employee, so it’s crucial to make good use of your LinkedIn page and the more positive recommendations people write on your page, the better your chances are. It is very important to remember that if you use social media like Facebook, not to write political or religious statements that could jeopardize your chances. Employers often search your social media to get a general opinion about a person;
- A good first impression will also increase the chances of getting the job you’re after. Make sure to look professional by wearing a clean shirt or a suit, depending on the type of job you’re applying for. But this is only half the work. It’s also important to make sure to come across as an open, friendly, confident and capable person. Keep in mind that your non-verbal communication is just as important as your verbal communication;
- During the actual job interview, it will definitely help if you have researched the company in advance and therefore have sufficient knowledge of the job you’re applying and understand what the core business and values of the company are. By doing this, you’ll show your potential employer that you’ve done your ‘homework’ and are motivated to start the job.