Jobseeker’s Diary * Jobseekers' Diaries

Team11-05-2017 11:20 AM
Moving to The Netherlands was a culture shock in itself. However, successfully searching for a job here was an even bigger culture shock. For some time I did not even have to try. Jobs seemed to fall into my lap. I had not even been searching for a week when I was offered a job at Lush Cosmetics in November of last year. Once that contract ended, I was swiftly hired at a call centre in Rotterdam. From my perspective, my interview and trial shift skills were enough to get me a job.

I decided to leave the call centre job and search for something better. One month had passed and I still had no luck, much to my surprise. Then finally one employer responded. The excitement and relief was uncontainable. I was invited for a trial shift as a Barista. Having been a barista for 4 years previously in London, I felt more than qualified for the role. However, from the moment I walked through the door I felt weirdly intimidated. My gut told me to just go home but I refused. Do not get me wrong, they were very nice people, but it was not hard to see...
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Together Abroad23-03-2017 11:00 AM
As my MBA program moves into the last few months of classes, I find myself faced with a debate concerning employment. I am required to choose a company to base my thesis upon, and a certain amount of hours spent with that company is required in order to acquire the data needed to write the paper. Should I find an internship for myself? As an MBA student with several years of work experience, am I overqualified for an internship? As an expat with a need for a visa, do I have a right to be picky?

Internships are a little different in the Netherlands than they are in the U.S. Here, it must be proven that you are an enrolled student; otherwise you cannot work as an intern. Similar to the U.S., an internship in the Netherlands are a great way to learn the ropes of a position within a company, giving you a foot in the door should you decide to stay with the company for a full-time position. This is especially crucial if, like me, you need a company to sponsor your visa to stay in the country.

However, unless the internship is specifically for MBA students, I...
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Together Abroad28-02-2017 3:22 PM
As I come to the end of my Master’s program at the University of Amsterdam, my focus turns to the daunting task of the job search. Job hunting is never easy,but for expats, it becomes even more difficult. Not only do we need to convince a company that they should hire us, but that they should also fund our visa to stay in the country. As expats, what do the chances look like for us to find jobs and continue the stay in the Netherlands?

First, a little good news. By being associated with a local university and living in the country, your chances already become better. Not only will it make it easier for in-person interviews but universities have wonderful resources for finding jobs after graduation. Between the career services and alumni associations, finding work becomes slightly easier. More good news comes with the orientation year visa that can be acquired after your student visa is no longer viable. This allows a one-year stay after graduation in order to find work, and allows you to work temporarily while on it.

The best way to ensure employment after graduation is to start the search early. Several months out is the...
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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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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