Learn tips and tricks on how to write a CV to enter the Dutch job market

European CVs/resumes are often written in a similar style, but the trick is to fine-tune it to  your desired market. Many Dutch people speak English, but we recommend that you write your application in Dutch unless it is mandatory to do this in English.  

Dutch employers favor a concise, direct and professional style. As to the layout, begin your letter by stating your reasons for applying for the position. The bulk of the content should state what attracts you to the company, how your work experience fits the job description, and what your added value could mean to the company. On a final note, it is always good to mention that you would like to present yourself at an interview at their convenience.  

Advice  

  • Length: 1-2 pages maximum;  

  • Format: A4 European standard;  

  • Layout: Contact information, including name, address, phone, email, fax;  

  • Personal details: date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality;  

  • Education: names of schools/colleges/universities/work placements, awards and honours (do not mention grades or results);    

  • Work experience in reverse chronological order: start with the most recent work experience first (dates, companies, titles, duties);   

  • Languages: level of fluency (spoken/written);   

  • Computer skills: proficiency in software packages, Internet, etc.;   

  • Hobbies: highly valued in the Dutch marketplace, so list relevant activities, team sports (important subject!), participation in social networks, etc. but do not overdo it!   

Letter of Motivation

It is not common to write an application letter by hand, by e-mail is most used. When you would like to work for a specific company but they do not have a vacancy that suits your expertise, you can send them an open application in which you introduce yourself and ask for an interview.   

Employers appreciate the attention they receive, and they might reciprocate with an invitation for a meeting. It is wise to address the letter to a specific person instead of a department. It is not necessary to include copies of diplomas, references or other official documents. They will be required and verified at a later stage of the application process.  

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Job Interview

When you are invited for a job interview, make sure you are well prepared for the organization and specific vacancy you have applied for. In the Netherlands the candidate's motivation is one of the main selection criteria during these interviews, and it is very important to distinguish yourself from the other candidates. Make sure to show your enthusiasm and self-confidence. Bring copies of your cv, diplomas, references and any other documents you consider useful. It is normal to ask some questions yourself at the end of the interview. Give thought to what you would like to ask in advance.  

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Do Not Do the Following:  

  • Put lies in your CV.   

  • Send in a CV without further clarification as to why you are interested in a particular job (see below 'letter of motivation').  

  • Kill off the vital 'human element' by an over-scientific approach in your application.   

  • Rely only on your skills and knowledge but show your personality and character as well.  

  • Make it clear right from the start that you are only interested in working part-time. This might be regarded as a lack of commitment.  

  • Give your whole life story when asked 'Tell us something about yourself'.  

  • Be unprepared for a particular job with a particular company at your interview.  

  • Assume that people should accept you for who you are, even if you're wearing scruffy clothes.  
       

Cultural development programmes

Cultural development programmes for expats are designed to train expats and their family to quickly settle in and develop a new life in the Netherlands. Finding a job is not always that difficult but making a life in a new country is often the hardest thing to do. There are several companies offering cultural awareness and cultural development trainings and programmes. The Expat Center also organizes events that address this issue. Visit our event calender for a list of upcoming events!  

Event Calendar
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