How to get a job in the Netherlands during the corona-crisis

It’s happened: you’ve finally arrived in the Netherlands and are looking for an amazing job. But, sometimes life gets in the way. The coronavirus outbreak has severely impacted the availability of jobs in the Netherlands. So how can you make yourself stand out for what’s left? 

First off, don’t panic. While the economy has taken an overall hit, some industries are flourishing with increased demand. The e-commerce, pharmaceutical, logistics, video conferencing, and entertainment sectors are all seeing their business increase, and need people to fill all types of jobs.

Meanwhile, for many companies, life is going on — at home. Hiring hasn’t necessarily been frozen, so finding a job is still very possible.

Even if you’re holding out for your dream career, now is a better time than ever to start working towards improving your resume. With social distancing expected to continue for a long time, even companies that aren’t hiring now could be in the future.

So how can you snag a sweet job and start kissing a regular paycheck? We’ve teamed up with Undutchables, the pros when it comes to employment for expats in the Netherlands. Using their specialist guidance, we’ve got the down and dirty on how to max out your resume and find yourself with a sweet job in the Netherlands during the coronavirus crisis.

How to upskill in a downturn

A full-time job takes up eight hours a day, seven days a week. Imagine if you could put all that time into improving yourself. Well, when you don’t have a job you can — and you should.

Yep, whether you’ve been laid off, had your hours cut, or just graduated, now is the time to turn work-time into you-time. And no, we don’t mean binge-watching How I Met Your Mother all day. Here are some concrete things you can do to upskill and impress a potential employer!

Follow online courses

Welcome to the digital revolution. In the past, if you wanted to upskill you needed to take night classes, correspondence courses, or quit your job and go to university. Now, you can just jump online and find a course for what you’re interested in — and many of them are free.

There are several major websites where you can give your skills a bump. Online MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) providers like Udemy or Coursera are goldmines of short and long courses run by real experts and universities. There’s even one to learn Dutch from the University of Groningen if you want to impress a potential employer with your language skills.

Whether you want to become a spreadsheet-wizard, a Google Ad-sense pro, or learn a touch of programming — think about what skill-set will make your resume stand out to employers and have a look online for a free online course. You’ll be amazed at what’s available!

Review your resume

Take a squiz at that piece of paper you hand out to every potential employer. Unless you’re some kind of resume-writing wizard, we’re sure you can find ways to update it — and we don’t mean just the font 😉. If you’re not sure what to do with it, there are heaps of resources online!

When in doubt, have a friend or family member critique. Tell them not to hold back — a good resume should list your skills and experience, be engaging enough to read, but short enough to get the message across. And remember, research shows your resume only has 6-10 seconds to make an impression on a recruiter, so make those seconds count! Consider nabbing yourself a great resume coach if you need a hand.

Get social

Is your LinkedIn looking a little dusty? Your social media profiles are a window into your life, so reconsider what you want potential employers to see. Now is a great time to brush up on those LinkedIn skills, write a few ultra-impressive notes (we know you can do it!) and even pump up your connections — you never know, it may lead to a job offer!

While you’re at it, make sure your personal social media profiles are set to private, to ensure you work and personal life are kept separate.

READ MORE: Undutchables: Presenting yourself on social media

Create or update your personal brand

Who do you look up to in your field of work? How would you describe them? How do they portray themselves? Now turn those questions back onto yourself. How you present yourself to the world is a form of your own personal branding. Inspect your branding: how does it make you feel?

A break from work can be a great time to take your personal branding for a service. Think about how you want people in your career-path to see you. Make sure everything reflects this. If you have a website, make sure it reflects your brand. If it doesn’t, it’s time to start fresh. Once you have your brand, get it out there by deploying it over your social media channels.

TIP: Undutchables has a number of online meetings and webinars that can enlighten you on the finer parts of landing a Dutch job. Check ’em out!

Finding jobs to apply for

Your resume is maxed out and your cover letter is sparkling. Now all you need is a job to apply for! Of course, in the middle of a pandemic isn’t the most ideal time to be job-hunting. However, as we said, there are some industries exploding and others that are managing to carry on. So how do you find them?

This requires some re-evaluations of your skills. Maybe you’ve previously worked in one industry now experiencing a downturn — but your skills are easily transferrable to an industry experiencing an upturn.

A useful exercise can be taking the time to reflect on what your ideal job would be. Jot this down on one side of a page. On the other side of the page, write your skills. Then, try and make the links!

If you’re finding it hard to identify potential jobs, it may be time to speak with a recruitment consultant. A dedicated expat recruitment centre (like Undutchables) can take the time to identify your skills, and match you up with opportunities in the Netherlands that are ideal for you!

TIP: gather intel on company culture

A dramatic shift in how companies work is the perfect time to see how a business treats its employees. You only deserve the best, so check out social media and news reports to see if your potential employer has been mentioned.

Are they letting their employees work from home? Are they shedding jobs? Allowing extra time off? These are all clues as to how you may be treated in the future.

Sharpen those writing skills

Writing skills are always relevant — and even more so when the working world has gone remote. Whether you want to brush up on your written communication, or just make sure your cover letter shines, there’s always room to improve.

Look to online writing tools like Grammarly to avoid obvious mistakes, practice writing, or join a business writing MOOC. If you’re good, but want to go all the way to greatness and talk about the Netherlands on the way, consider becoming a contributor to DutchReview!

Prepare for a different type of interview

Instead of wiping your sweaty palms on a waiting room chair, you’ll now virtually wipe them while patiently waiting to be accepted for a video interview. But, don’t rest too easy just yet. Even though the interview may be digital, the same rules as a face-to-face interview still apply — with some minor adjustments:

  • Be on time (those digital waiting rooms are a blessing)
  • Make sure to prepare accordingly — research the company, think about what you want to know, plan how your skills will relate to their business.
  • Dress smartly — and please wear pants.
  • Choose a quiet space with no distractions or interruptions
  • Keep eye contact with your interviewer

TIP: eye contact is key

To make efficient eye contact in a virtual job interview, look and speak at your camera, not the person on the screen. A slight lowering of the eyes is easily seen on video calls. If you’re struggling, tape a photo of someone next to your camera!

Get more video interview preparation tips with Undutchables!

Get ready for online work

You never know when you’ll be asked to start, so make sure your home office is ready before you begin. We understand Dutch homes can be tiny, but try to choose a section of your house that is dedicated solely for work — avoid the bed and couch like a plague.

Your workspace should be quiet, and a little secluded. Natural sunlight can go a long way in getting you through a long workday. Choose a comfortable chair that you can sit in for hours on end, and set up a workspace that rivals a company’s office space.

If you’ll be working from your own laptop, consider investing in a second screen. These can run under €100 but make a whole lot of difference. Same goes for a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Know when to ask for help

During tricky times it can be incredibly helpful to turn to the experts when trying to get a job in the Netherlands. Undutchables are the leading recruitment agency for expats in the Netherlands. Whether you’ve just graduated or are an executive, Undutchables has the leads, tips, and information to successfully find a job in the Netherlands.

Do you have a top tip to get a job in the Netherlands during the coronavirus crisis? Let us know it in the comments below!

Feature Image: Julia M Cameron/Pexels
Editor’s Note: this article was originally published in April 2020, but was fully updated in January 2021 for your reading pleasure. 

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


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