Jobseeker’s Diaries: Contract Negotiation - Know Your Rights! * Jobseekers' Diaries

Together Abroad13-02-2017 10:27 AM
Unless your background is in contract law, looking through an employment contract is a very overwhelming experience, especially if you are coming from a different country. Inundated with legal jargon and seemingly useless details, navigating through contracts can be a daunting task for which you just want to sign and get it over with. But before you sign your life away on a bad deal, it is good to know what to expect and what is up for negotiation in an employment contract in the Netherlands.

Employment contracts typically beginwith the details of the job description as well as working hours, whether full-time or part-time. The standard full-time work week is usually between 36-40 hours. Some flexibility is seen here depending on what the job is and you may be able to negotiate over-time pay for anything over 38 hours. Regarding part-time work, in the Netherlands, it is quite common for women to request this after having children. Employers are legally obligated to allow this after you have been employed for over a year and if there are no extraneous reasons to why this request cannot be granted. You may also see a section in your contract regarding a trial...
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Together Abroad14-11-2016 11:20 AM
One of the most nerve-wracking things we must do in the process of finding a job in the Netherlands, or anywhere for that matter, is the dreaded interview process. It is exhausting, anxiety inducing, and requires a great amount of work in preparation. You must always be on your game during these interviews and be the best version of yourself. There are the usual no-no’s to be reminded of before going on an interview: no chewing gum, no answering your phone, be nice to EVERYONE. But during these times, in order to go even further than those and be as prepared as possible, we ask ourselves what are they looking for and how can I make a good impression?

After scanning the recruiting websites for the perfect position at a great company, there is finally a fitting position and Ihave been asked to come to an interview at the company. At this point in the interview process, my first question has always been: what do I wear? As a woman being interviewedfor a business role, that has been the eternal question for any and all job interviews, and it is usually the aspect of the interview I feel most nervous...
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Together Abroad17-12-2014 9:59 AM
Always looking, always searching. Double-check your CV, write your cover letter. After a point it turns into a routine. I don’t want to admit it, but I think an application written by a bored person definitely shows. The recipe is known – copy and paste the company name, change a few things here and there- even better, don’t change anything apart from names because who cares anymore? I got the same suggestion several times: Don’t bother. It’s not going to be read anyway. I do not think this is good advice, though, because it is self-defeating in the first place.

Sometimes, if I’m really interested in a position and stressed to show how much I would like to work there, I am tempted to respond with a brief introduction like this: “Dear Mr. So-and-so,
I am writing to express my interest in the X position because I strongly believe I will be awesome in this job. I am going to be so awesome because I say so and you better believe me and hire me.
Yours sincerely,
Perfect Candidate”

Ok, it is obvious this went a little too far. I don’t give any reasons for hiring me except for my...
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Together Abroad by Andromachi Kokkinou08-12-2014 10:58 AM
Rejection: It’s the first shock. Gradually, you get used to it. But the more it happens, as I wrote last week, it slowly gets to you. I know it’s a dreadful topic because it can unsettle you to the core, making space for unwanted thoughts: What is going on? Am I not good enough?
During my job-search I’ve come across three types of rejection: Rejection after interview
Anticipation is high. Yes, there’s a lot of stress involved, but it’s the positive kind of stress. Even when faced with the most unexpected results, there is the satisfaction that you made it there. In general, I am less disappointed when I have come closer to getting the position. I don’t think this is strange because when I am called to an interview, even after I get rejected, I feel that I have done something right to be considered for the post in the first place.
No interview
Most unwelcome lines ever: “Unfortunately, we cannot invite you to an interview.” This is one of the politest variations, but you get the message. In most cases it’s an automatic reply. Some recruiters do the difficult job of filling in your name in the “Dear...”...
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Andromachi Kokkinou26-11-2014 5:16 PM
'Have you seen any job descriptions lately? It’s scary.
“3+ years of experience, advanced [insert languages], advanced writing skills, advanced coding skills, advanced in [insert list of software skills], advanced [walking on sticks and juggling three balls at a time].”

I can’t get my head around how many skills they need people to have. I know, practice makes perfect and I have to present something substantial. Otherwise, how to prove I can actually do it? It reminds me of the well-known chicken and the egg story: experienced to get experience, like a dog running after its own tail. I add to my portfolio all pieces of work I’ve created so far, but it’s never enough. There’s another skill that I’m asked to have, another position that I’m desired to have held in the past.

What to do as an unemployed writer and editor to produce more content and gain experience? Well, you can work for free. In my case, if the purpose is related to a cause I really care about, like human rights, I can dedicate my time and energy. It’s obvious though that in most cases I have to adapt and work for the projects available.

Which brings...
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Andromachi Kokkinou17-11-2014 2:56 PM
My week has been quite hectic, as I found my way out of daily obligations, part-time jobs (in take it or leave it situations) and an upcoming, hopefully soon, relocation. In the midst of being busy I stopped by the International City Podium in The Hague last Tuesday. For those who don’t know what it is about, the ICP (International Community Platform) summarizes its mission as “Improving the work & living environment for the (international) employees and families in The Hague and surrounding municipalities and thereby, the working environment for employers themselves.” Events organized by the ICP are a great opportunity to meet and connect with local and international employers, organizations and other job seekers.

I was meeting with a friend, already working in The Hague, in front of New Babylon. We’ve walked by the giant building several times but as we never stopped to think what it’s all about, we had to discover that it’s a complex of apartments, company offices, a shopping center and meeting hub all-in-one. We had a good laugh wandering through entrances until we found the correct one.

The event attracted a lot of young people.  Familiar faces showed up and we exchanged our stories with varied...
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It has been a long journey since I arrived in The Netherlands, and I want to thank you for being available to receive me, believing in my profile and thank you for all your support, and I express my wish to keep our contact. I followed all your guidelines and recommendations, and I succeeded! Thank you for your best attention, let's keep in touch

Helder Costa

I would like to thank you for your great job to make my CV presentable and truly reflecting my knowledge and experience.
With your highly professional advices and support I felt more confident and eventually I got a job.


Tanya Pelser

Thank you to both yourself and Irina for a great workshop this morning, it was refreshing to hear some really basic ideas for the Dutch employment search which I'm sure will help start everyone off on a new career path! I will definitely be using the services of Together Abroad and one of my first actions is to revise my CV and submit this for a review.

James Stopford