How do I get a job in the Netherlands?

Updated on : December 3, 2021 by Shannon Jordan



How do I get a job in the Netherlands?

Well it really depends on what you are looking for.

The old method is that you watch for an ad. You receive a letter, include your resume, and then wait to be invited for an interview. Most businesses still work that way.

The way jobs are advertised and the means of accessing them have diversified decades ago (with the rise of the internet) and are now changing again considering the possibilities that broadcast media offers us. Responding by email is common. Sending a multimedia file introducing yourself is the latest and I've heard that it's becoming quite popular.

Works that

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Well it really depends on what you are looking for.

The old method is that you watch for an ad. You receive a letter, include your resume, and then wait to be invited for an interview. Most businesses still work that way.

The way jobs are advertised and the means of accessing them have diversified decades ago (with the rise of the internet) and are now changing again considering the possibilities that broadcast media offers us. Responding by email is common. Sending a multimedia file introducing yourself is the latest and I've heard that it's becoming quite popular.

Jobs you can find in the newspaper, job magazines, job sites, and on the vacancies tab of many companies and institutions.

Examples: For people with higher education, see: Intermediair.nl maakt gebruik van cookies (Intermediate site) for a common workplace. For one of the most important temporary agencies, see: Randstad: het uitzendbureau met banen & vacatures voor iedereen site of Randstad). You can find my old university and employer at: Vacatures - Werken bij (Universiteit Leiden).

The easiest way for entrepreneurs is to place a notice in their store so that most of them already get enough attention from passersby. As you may have guessed, employers have many possibilities. So it really has become a question of how to get where you want to be.

Example: It may be a challenge at least (still an understatement) to get a job at Shell, and yet another oil company without the credentials. A client of mine worked in the oil industry in Azerbaijan as an engineer, but never received his papers. He is not going to enter any company here and now he lives on social assistance and does some work.

With the advent of temporary work agencies (more than 35 years ago), a lot has changed in the workplace in the Netherlands. My old law books differentiated into full-time and part-time jobs, definite or indefinite-time contracts, private or government sector. Full-time employment contracts for long periods of time really were the norm. With the stress on the economy, the job market, and the changing interests of the public, not only have short-term contracts become mainstream, but job stress has also focused on the contracts themselves and has yielded reasons for a development that I will explain now.

Temporary work agencies were the key to exploring other means of engaging people with employment. Because if you can hire employees for a short period of time, that was the original purpose of these agencies, why not for a longer period (and let's call it a franchise)? And why not exclude the agency to save even more costs (and call it freelance work)? These new ways of employing people have become really popular because for an employer they not only save costs; The old labor laws do not apply (or not directly)!

To keep things short: you can ask a temp agency to help you and mediate between you and a prospective company, but you can also offer yourself directly as a freelance to companies in certain types of industries. Now it is quite common, for example, in transportation and construction.

Can I give you more examples? Sure:

  1. My friend Erik runs an international bar and employs about 30 people. But he doesn't actually employ them himself, instead he hires them from a franchise company. Apply to your general manager (who is your employee) for a job and he will connect you with the guys in the franchise who are getting married.
  2. A friend of mine is under construction. His employer couldn't afford to keep him, so he offered all employees to fight as individual subcontractors. Apparently he's doing very well now, but ... he's responsible for saving himself for his pension and has no safety net at discharge. Many people apply to construction sites and some are hired on site. It's somewhat confusing at least, it's definitely not smart from a tax point of view, and it's practically not talked about.
  3. Another friend had his employer work with him to get a new job. The employer paid a mediator to teach my friend how to write letters and represent himself, and within 18 months he found a new job. These mediators generally work with employment / temp agencies and request a fee for acceptance by a new employer. In that employer you can work as temporary but also be fully hired after a specific time. Obviously, it is good to have financial support from your employer, but keep in mind that you can also go to a mediator. You will not be paid during training, but you will be accompanied to some professions, sometimes even with a job guarantee. The fee is later and often paid by the employer.
  4. Last but not least, a client of mine was thrown out on the streets by his girlfriend. Being a foreign national without a job and a place to stay was a great thing, but within six months he found a job as a taxi driver. He is now an Uber taxi driver, not connected to another company, and can apparently pack a package.

Well that sums it up. Good luck finding a job and as a tip: try to aspire to a conventional job within the above system. It still works better in the long run!

HavePersonal experience: it's not as easy as what people have been telling me. Unless you have an educational background or work experience in business, sales, HR or IT, and you already have a work permit, AND you know someone who already works at the company you are applying to.

I have a master's degree in landscape planning, but only a 5-year level of Dutch. Bad combo. Most of the spatial / landscape planning is done in Dutch because the result is a policy at the twin (city / town) level.

In my previous spatial planning office, I was an expert in everything, dealing with budgets, event planning, human resources, travel.

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HavePersonal experience: it's not as easy as what people have been telling me. Unless you have an educational background or work experience in business, sales, HR or IT, and you already have a work permit, AND you know someone who already works at the company you are applying to.

I have a master's degree in landscape planning, but only a 5-year level of Dutch. Bad combo. Most of the spatial / landscape planning is done in Dutch because the result is a policy at the twin (city / town) level.

In my previous spatial planning office, I was an expert in everything, taking care of budgeting, event planning, human resources, travel planning, translation, graphic design; Whatever, I've done it. So office manager or event coordination sounds good, right? Possibly. I still don't have a job right now.

First of all, even in international cities like Amsterdam, most companies still want you to be fluent in Dutch, as most of the time you would deal with other Dutch companies to supply almost anything, or with Dutch customers. Second, most companies trust people that their own employees already know and trust beforehand.

I have been submitting applications since last month, only 10% responded with “sorry, we have found someone else” or “the candidate we contacted has already responded, so you are not considered”. Ay, but they are being honest. It's great. I have another friend who submitted 571 applications before finally landing a job with a long hour and a good pay. Yes, it counted. And yes, we have a residence and work permit in NL.

On another note, if you are skilled, you can be a skilled worker. The labor business (electricians, gardeners, plumbers, that sort of thing) lacks manpower.


Sorry for the salty tone. It's frustrating. Especially when you live with Dutch in-laws who worry about your life and ask you about your possible future every time they remember. It's sad to keep saying "not yet" every other day.

A good way to work exactly where you want is this. It is divided into two, for someone with experience and for beginners.

Newbie (someone looking for their first job. Some assumptions are implied).

Research the chosen company. There are tons of information online. Especially with publicly traded companies.

Prepare a small document that explains why you want to be part of that company.

A SWOT analysis would be helpful. It is the point of view of an outsider.

Knock on the door (literally) of where you want to work.

Tell the HR person you want to work for free. Yes, it works for free. Explain what you have

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A good way to work exactly where you want is this. It is divided into two, for someone with experience and for beginners.

Newbie (someone looking for their first job. Some assumptions are implied).

Research the chosen company. There are tons of information online. Especially with publicly traded companies.

Prepare a small document that explains why you want to be part of that company.

A SWOT analysis would be helpful. It is the point of view of an outsider.

Knock on the door (literally) of where you want to work.

Tell the HR person you want to work for free. Yes, it works for free. Explain that you are inexperienced and that you think it is not fair for them to start paying you right away until you learn and prove yourself.

Present your document and talk about it.

If they hire you and you really work hard, they will start paying you very soon.

Experienced:

Research the place online or through someone you know who works there or has done so before.

Prepare a short PowerPoint presentation that explains your vision for the company, including:

A SWOT analysis. Companies love this and more things that come from an outsider.

Match some identified needs with your experience or what you can contribute.

Find a way to get that document to the head of a department, or to several people, trying to get an interview.

During the interview, talk about precisely why you chose them. It's not because you're very good at what you do.

I've done both and recommended this approach to multiple people in both categories and it must have worked 99% of the time.

This is very different from planting your resume everywhere. That's like hitting with a blindfold.

This approach is like archery.

Good luck!

Only possible answer: it depends. Some factors:

  • Place
  • Moment
  • Your experience (study, language, etc.)

Location: I spent a month looking for a summer job in Flevoland, but after that it only took me a day to get a job at the Zeeland tourist branch (those are provinces). These are uneducated jobs, of course. If you are highly educated and a foreigner, which is probably the case on quora, you should search 'Randstad'. Amsterdam, for example, is a very international city. If you have some kind of scientific / mathematical background, look for cities with a technical university.

Time: tourist br

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Only possible answer: it depends. Some factors:

  • Place
  • Moment
  • Your experience (study, language, etc.)

Location: I spent a month looking for a summer job in Flevoland, but after that it only took me a day to get a job at the Zeeland tourist branch (those are provinces). These are uneducated jobs, of course. If you are highly educated and a foreigner, which is probably the case on quora, you should search 'Randstad'. Amsterdam, for example, is a very international city. If you have some kind of scientific / mathematical background, look for cities with a technical university.

Hours: tourist branch? Summer. Season work? Choose the right season. It doesn't get more difficult. There are many jobs in those branches.

Background: First of all: your chances of finding a job are greatly increased if you speak Dutch. If you don't and want a serious job: at least you NEED to speak adequate English. Knowledge of German is also good to increase your opportunities, because we trade a lot with Germany. Here's a website on job opportunities, salary, etc .: Baankansen at salaris na je studie

It is a Dutch website, but you will probably be able to find out a lot if you know English, which is quite similar (or just use Google translate).

If you have additional or more specific questions / think I missed something important, please comment :) The same goes for my Dutch colleagues. By the way, I wrote this on my phone, so there are probably some bugs. Excuse me .

Groeten uit Nederland!

I assume you are a foreigner who has recently immigrated to the Netherlands. If so, it should:

  • Make sure you have all the necessary documentation to be able to get a job in the Netherlands (residence / work permits, etc.), assuming you are not an EU citizen.
  • Learn Dutch!
  • Identify your areas of expertise and where they could add value (for example, do you speak a foreign language that is in high demand in certain sales or customer service roles? Do you have an academic background in highly sought after areas such as electrical engineering or Computing?)
  • Register with head hunters and / or
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I assume you are a foreigner who has recently immigrated to the Netherlands. If so, it should:

  • Make sure you have all the necessary documentation to be able to get a job in the Netherlands (residence / work permits, etc.), assuming you are not an EU citizen.
  • Learn Dutch!
  • Identify your areas of expertise and where they could add value (for example, do you speak a foreign language that is in high demand in certain sales or customer service roles? Do you have an academic background in highly sought after areas such as electrical engineering or Computing?)
  • Register with head hunters and / or human resource agencies
  • Open a LinkedIn account; make sure the address is set for the Netherlands; network with relevant people (e.g. hiring and human resource managers who you think could benefit from your education or skills)
  • If you get a job offer, don't be too demanding. Your position in the negotiations will improve significantly after you have gained professional experience working in / for a Dutch company.

Currently the labor market is doing very well. There are tons and tons of jobs currently available. Use major websites like: actually Vacatures zoeken | Indeed, or LinkedIn Login or Register or Monsterboard Monster Jobs: Job Search, Career Advice and Recruitment Resources

If you are coming from a job looking for another job, you should be able to get a new one in a few weeks.

Good luck!

Nothing bad. But it also depends on your work history and education. The skilled are preferred over the unskilled. In addition, some sectors are more in demand than others. For example, there are many opportunities in the health and information technology sector. More than advertising, for example. But if you only do web design you will have a hard time. If you are a Java expert, name your price.

Request it.

Your field of study or experience should be less available on the job market here. Do some research on that and then apply.

The language itself does not offer a great advantage as (almost) all Dutch can speak English very well.

However, search Linkedin and apply for the positions you want.

Exactly the same as in other countries where I experimented, although it is not necessary to show reviews from former employers, as in Germany, highly educated people have the opportunity to get a job directly at the employer after applying. The 'low level' jobs practically always go through 'uitzendbureaus' (like Randstad, Adecco and others), it is very difficult to get a job with certainty in the long term.

It varies enormously! There are a number of factors to consider, including where you come from, where you are going, what you are looking for, your education, skills and experience, etc.

  • Do you come from within the EU? This will make moving and getting a job much easier. If you come from outside the EU you will have to deal with visas, permits, etc.
  • Where will you live? If you live in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht or another big city, you will find many more jobs aimed at foreigners compared to outside the cities.
  • Have you worked abroad before? Have you worked in internati?
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It varies enormously! There are a number of factors to consider, including where you come from, where you are going, what you are looking for, your education, skills and experience, etc.

  • Do you come from within the EU? This will make moving and getting a job much easier. If you come from outside the EU you will have to deal with visas, permits, etc.
  • Where will you live? If you live in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht or another big city, you will find many more jobs aimed at foreigners compared to outside the cities.
  • Have you worked abroad before? Have you worked in international companies? Can you find a job similar to what you have done before?
  • What languages ​​do you speak? You are expected to speak English, and each additional language you speak will work to your advantage. Speaking Dutch will obviously give you the most bonus points, but really any language will help you differentiate yourself from other foreigners.
  • Do you have any skill or experience that sets you apart from any other foreigner in the Netherlands? Use it! Always try to stand out.
  • Do a lot of googling, consider signing up with an agency or using social media, especially if you are friends with some Dutch people or people who work on the international circuit. If you are looking for something specific, it is always good to email them, call or visit them, ask if they have vacancies and if you could leave a CV and maybe an open application.
  • If you don't have a higher education or don't have some skills or experiences that really set you apart, be prepared to watch out for a while and consider settling for a job that may not be what you wanted, or may not pay much for advertising as expected. It is a small country and there are a lot of people, so you may need to take the first thing you can find and keep working at that job until you find something else to your liking.

Persevere! You can do it! If you are willing to work, there will always be someone willing to hire you, you just need to find them.

As others have said, it depends.

If you are an EU citizen and speak Dutch and / or any other European language, your chances of success are already over 50%. The rest depends on your field.

A friend of a friend of mine managed to get a job in the fourth month of his zoekjaar period. He studied electrical engineering and landed a position in the Eindhoven area.

Another hot field is data science. You can find tons of vacancies in the Randstad area.

The rest...? Well ... again, if you speak Dutch, it would be a lot easier.

But if you are not an EU citizen and you don't speak Dutch, well ...

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As others have said, it depends.

If you are an EU citizen and speak Dutch and / or any other European language, your chances of success are already over 50%. The rest depends on your field.

A friend of a friend of mine managed to get a job in the fourth month of his zoekjaar period. He studied electrical engineering and landed a position in the Eindhoven area.

Another hot field is data science. You can find tons of vacancies in the Randstad area.

The rest...? Well ... again, if you speak Dutch, it would be a lot easier.

But if you are not a citizen of the EU and you do not speak Dutch, well ... I tell you, there are only a few (very few) success stories of this.

A friend of mine got a job in her 10th month as a marketing director at a start-up company that favors international candidates. Your previous study? Cultural studies Totally oblivious to what he is doing right now. He had to change fields to get a job. Fortunately, you already have some marketing experience before coming to the Netherlands.

My friend's friend received his job offer on his last day. Literally the 365th day of your zoekjaar period. You were lucky that your employer was willing to take you to the immigration office that day to apply for a new visa. One more day and he's an illegal immigrant.

Others? Failed.

The job requirements are very strict. If you say a minimum of 2 years of experience and only have 1 or 1.5 year (s), it will not be considered. If it requires you to know the software A, B and C, and you only know A and C, it will not be considered. "Transferable skills"? They do not work. I had tried, others had tried, it didn't work.

Some companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, do not know what "zoekjaar" is and cannot sponsor visas for people from outside the EU. That reduces your opportunity to only large companies with a strong international environment.

If you are a super excellent international candidate (with super brilliant academic achievements and years of work experience), go for it. If not, I suggest you save your money and time and try somewhere else. Other options? Just go for a Ph.D. or Post-doctorate. Trust me, you will get more financial security from it.

But again, it all depends on too many factors. Privilege and luck are strong.

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