Cultural differences in the workplace, a Jobseeker’s Diary * Jobseekers' Diaries

Together Abroad01-08-2017 12:27 PM

The workplace culture sets the tone of the environment you will be working in, and it can be either easy or difficult. Coming from the UK, it was no surprise to discover the Dutch working culture functions on egalitarianism. However, in the Dutch workplace the communication style is rather informal. Whilst the job is to be taken seriously, it is the friendly atmosphere and the usually calm environment that enable high productivity. My manager’s enthusiasm was often so high that I became eager to match it. Her natural, friendly nature combined with strong leadership made her a great manager.

We thrived because of our teamwork, meeting the sales targets day in and day out. Most, if not all, of my previous jobs also had friendly work environments, which provide employees with an open space. There was freedom to express themselves, and kindness between colleagues that made it easier to get along and complete tasks. Yet none of those environments compare to my last experience. No matter how friendly, how fun or how dynamic the workplace was, there was always the issue of dealing with the boss. Many of the manager-employee relationships were lacking. It was always a ‘them’ and ‘us’...
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Together Abroad18-06-2017 4:02 PM

Jobseeker's Diary serie: Being Brave

Applying for jobs can be tiresome at times. But generally speaking, the hardest part is getting a response. Employers are often unable to respond to each and every application, assuming they have even read your application.

I had tried my luck at applying for a job at a local bar where I usually study. The environment was always lovely, as were the staff, and I could easily see myself working there. A couple of weeks had passed and I began to give up hope. Maybe it was not the job for me. Then a few days later, much to my surprise, I received an email inviting me for an interview. As great as this was, it came at the wrong time. I had just begun my exams and had no time for an interview. What made it worse was the fact that the interview was scheduled right in the middle of my exam. Of course I was not going to miss my exam to attend a job interview for a position I may or may not get.

Instead of passing up the opportunity, I requested a different date. The email stated to let them know...
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Myrto Koulama | Together Abroad08-06-2017 3:57 PM

Nowadays, the proper construction of the online professional persona is significantly crucial for job seekers, as most companies and recruiters use professional platforms, and especially LinkedIn, to find the best candidates. Thus, people who want to find a job online join LinkedIn, try to create effective online profiles, build a circle of business contacts, and market themselves.

If you fit this category, then let us see how to best present your online profile.

1. Picture, Headline and Summary

To begin with, a LinkedIn profile has a specific structure that resembles a traditional resume, starting with a single (formal) photograph of a user as an “eye-catcher”, that aims to promote your professional persona and to create an impression of being conscientious. In fact, a LinkedIn profile with a picture is viewed 14 times more. To that extent, it is advised to put a professional image, which also reflects your personality as much as a photo can do.

Next to the photo there is space for your name and working area or job title. In that section, it is suggested to put the right information to improve your chances of being found, by thinking about what key words people will use to...
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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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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