The Netherlands is one of the highest earning nations in the world, a home to a wide range of international and multinational companies and corporations. With the unemployment figures among the lowest in the EU (3.2% in December 2019), the diverse and well educated population, the country is a pretty sought-after place to work for expats and internationals. However, is it truly a ‘piece of cake’ or a real struggle for non-Dutch candidates to land a job in the Netherlands while the country belongs to the most densely-populated nations in the EU and has a ton of people frantically searching for jobs? If you ever join an expat group and ask people there for their job search experience, 95% of them would say that it is not an easy task.
To address all the concerns and to give wings to internationals who are looking for a job in the Netherlands, Viet Make It teamed up with Anastasiia Serafyn – professional job coach to organize an insightful and memorable event on Thursday, 11st March, as one episode in the Masterclass series. The one-hour event entitled “How to get hired in the Netherlands?” gave ultimate guidance for job seekers with 7 crucial steps, from building a CV and LinkedIn profile to preparing for the interview and handling the job offer. The event was successfully hosted by My Nguyen and was attended by both Vietnamese and international audiences.
If you, for some reasons, could not attend this extraordinary class, don’t worry! Keep reading ahead since this article will give you all the information and discussion happened during the event!
Who is Anastasiia Serafyn?
Originally from Ukraine, Anastasiia came to The Netherlands 4 years ago with her partner. She had gone through the process as an expat looking for a job, so she understands exactly what is needed to win this situation. With 9+ years of international Tech Recruitment experience with big corporates like Cisco, Skype, NXP Semiconductors, and European Space Agency, she has got 20k+ CVs screened, 2k+ interviews conducted, 30+ clients served and is followed by 9500+ members on LinkedIn. She left her 9-5 job to start her own business where she can work with her passion to help expats chase their dream career in the Netherlands.
Define a clear goal
Whenever you have a project, you should take time to plan it since a well-planned project makes you more committed, organized, and wiser with every action and step to take. Same for your job search, treat it as a project! Take your time to write down what kind of industry, companies, misson, philosophy, values and career prospects you want to pursue. After you’ve got around 34 companies on the list, you need a job application tracker to revise your CV, from which you can identify the missing part and then rewind and upgrade your CVs with all the required skills. You might want to ask yourself what you can do to cover these goals? The options are volunteering activities, certifications, licences, courses, sample works, etc.
Do you know that there are plenty of hidden job opportunities which are not advertised? It might be that someone in the company underperforms or is leaving abruptly and the company hasn’t had time to announce it yet. It’s your chance to reach out to people working at the company and send in an open application.
In other circumstances, if the company has a job ad, you need to read it carefully, especially the section of skills, mission, responsibilities, then highlight keywords and mirror these words in your CV. It’s also important to identify the problem of the company and present how you would solve that with your skills and knowledge.
Write a CV
An ideal CV would contain maximum 2 pages, 1 column, 2 colors and is in PDF format. There is no one-size-fit-all CV so you need to adapt for each role. On average, there are 250 applications for a job in the Netherlands, how to stand out from the crowd? You can only make yourself attractive and unique by putting in your CV the same language as the company. Research the company’s website, read their latest newsletter, internal communication report and reflect the industrial key words in your CV.
Speaking from experience, Anastasiia revealed that the first 20-30% of the CV are crucial for recruiters to determine whether they should continue reading. The most important sections are skills and experience so make sure that you put them on top, then go down to education and achievements. For accomplishments, adding numbers and percentages is a great way to prove to employers that you have legitimate results in your work history.
Your LinkedIn profile is as important as your CV. If you can only distribute your CV when you’re awake, LinkedIn promotes your branding even when you are asleep. An ideal LinkedIn would contain a harmonious combination of experience and personality. Some companies have a recruitment system that matches candidates with companies’ culture. Therefore, you need to tell your personalities, hobbies, passion, interests, quotes from ex-colleagues, feedback from clients and business partners.
Nowadays, HR officers recruit people on their keyboards, so make sure that they can find your profile on the search by including job titles, location, company’s name. The search engine places profiles with a bigger number of followers and connections on top. For example: a profile with 500+ connections will be placed higher than a profile with 100+ connections. Therefore, increase your popularity by expanding your network, adding new connections, sending out personalized messages to people everyday!
Once you know the company you want to target, start to reach out to people in the company! Connect with them and have a regular chat! You can build this habit by commenting on their posts, sending them congratulation messages on some occasions such as New year, Xmas, birthday, etc. If possible, schedule an informal interview with them to collect information from people working in the company, the projects and activities being implemented, the open role/position that you are interested in. It can be awkward from the beginning, but as the saying goes: ‘Information is power’, and the power is in your hands, so don’t let the fear of the unknown get in your way.
You should research the company’s news, mission, acquisition, products and use these knowledge during the interview. Beside hard skills such as computer skills, soft skills and motivation are crucial. Companies know that they can invest in your hard skills, but preferences, mentality, personalities and attitudes are what are set in stone. Be prepared for behavioral questions (conflict management, strengths, weaknesses, teamwork attitudes) and apply STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) and SAR (Situation-Action-Result) model to structure your answers. One tip is that you can create a sheet where you write down all questions and answers, then conduct mock interviews with friends, peers or experts to get feedback.
Follow up the application
Don’t forget to follow up after each stage, either via email, LinkedIn or phone number. What if you get rejection emails? Never let it end there but take that as an opportunity! You can email for the feedback and ask why you are not selected. Also, get a good time to re approach them, normally around 3 weeks – 1 month after the rejection letter. For example: You got rejected for not having the required skills. You can take a course and send them a message that you have passed, show how motivated and determined you are after you receive their responses.
For the cover letter, don’t repeat what has been said in the CV. Instead, identify the problem or challenge of the company and propose some ideas on how you would help them overcome these challenges.
At the end of the interview, ask open-ended questions and simultaneously, show your interest in the projects of the company, make the questions relevant and link it to your knowledge/expertise.