Getting a job in the Netherlands

How do you apply for a job in the Netherlands? Is it any different from other countries?
Below you will some things you need to be aware of.

The application letter

The Dutch generally speak several foreign languages, but it still is a good idea to write your application letter in Dutch. In some cases, you may need to write it in English. The accompanying application letter should be typed. The preferred size is a single A-4 format. The writing style should be brief, to the point and professional.

In general, the letter should start with why you are applying for the job. The body of the letter should explain why you are the right person for the job. At the end of the letter, it is standard to ask for an interview so you can explain your application in detail.

Dutch companies often reply promptly, usually right away with a confirmation that they have received your letter. After the closing date for applications, the applicants will be notified by letter whether they will be invited for a job interview. If you have not received a confirmation of receipt within 21 days, you may contact the employer to ensure that your letter was received.

Curriculum Vitae

A Dutch Curriculum Vitae is based on facts and is well organised. The sequence is chronological, starting with your current job. The CV should not be longer than one or two sheets (A4). Bear in mind that Dutch CVs only consist of facts and figures. You should save the reasons for wanting the job, along with your personal qualities (such as accurate and perfectionist) for your letter of application. Your CV should contain the following subjects (in the order shown):

  1. Personal particulars (names, date and place of birth, address, e-mail, driving license)
  2. Education (including courses but no list of marks)
  3. Work experience (with dates)
  4. Leisure activities

The details of your education and work experience are often placed in anti-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job and ending with your first job. In the details of your work experience you should mention the name and sector of your employers and the duties you performed. As Dutch human resource managers appreciate leisure activities and volunteer work, they should be listed in your CV. Make sure that they are as relevant as possible for the desired position (for example, team sport demonstrate team spirit). It would be advisable to adapt your CV to suit the job for which you are applying.

Do not include copies of diplomas, references, certificates or other official documents. These will be requested and verified at a later stage of the application procedure.

The job interview

The job interview is the next step. During the job interview, you will be asked about your education, work experience, hobbies and personal interests. Additionally, there could be questions about your personality, strengths and weaknesses, activities not shown on your CV and memberships of clubs and organisations. Dutch human resource managers view leisure time and social activities as important factors.

There will also be questions about why you want this job and your interest in the company’s field of activity.


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