Want a successful job search in NL? Here are 3 proven strategies

Let me tell you about 3 proven strategies to handle your job search in NL. During the Career Connection KickStarter Bootcamp last month I scared the hell out of most of the participants by telling them that landing in a great job is going to take about 6 – 9 months. With the shortage of talent on the job market in the Netherlands, participants thought it was going to be easy to ace the job they desire in a short period of time (2-3 months). It scared some people because they are “on a deadline”, some others thought it was going to be “easier” as they address it.

Every day I hear stories from people who are eager to start in a new job and are not yet able to land in the job they desire. For number of reasons 6 – 9 months is a valid period for your job search to be successful. In some cases it can even take one year or more, especially when you are changing careers, have a GAP or are in an area of expertise where it is always crowded.

The Netherlands seems to be a pretty tough country for internationals if you want to land in a great job you really desire. Which can make the job search a frustrating and demotivating project. Next to the fact that recruitment can be a bureaucratic process, we seem to have specific ways of handling the hiring process and there are no strict answer to the question “how to companies decide who they hire”.  Recently I read the phrase: “They will not even hire me as an delivery guy, I am overqualified. For for jobs that align with my CV, the feedback is I don’t have enough experience”, there is “always something” as some internationals experience in being on the job market in NL. Even my Dutch clients experience this kind of feedback, this is not exclusive feedback for internationals.

Next to this a lot of internationals I talk to are thunderstuck by the questions they get during a job interview. “I never had these kind of questions before, so I was flabbergasted”, is what I often hear. And wait: After your onboarding there will be even more and bigger surprises waiting for you; I will talk about that in a another blog.

There’s good news as well: It is really possible to land in a job within 6 months and even sooner. It takes planning, commitment and hard work. Here a 3 proven methods on how to handle your job search to ace the job you desire.

Preparation is the KEY in your job search

It is proven: a good preparation is as important as having a plan. With a solid preparation you know what to expect and there will be less unexpected surprises along the way. Handle your job search like you would handle a project while working for an employer. If you are working on a new project one of the first things you do is search for information on the subject. Inform yourself about the most successful methods of finding a job, the most used methods in recruitment, the best recruitment agencies to work with in your area of expertise, the best job boards available, the best networking opportunities for you, discover how you can stand out of the crowd over here, inform yourself about the way the Dutchies handle job interviews and know about how we handle compensations and benefits. Or hire an expert to inform you about all this stuff and who will help you out. The Career connection KickStarter Bootcamp is one of my workshops which teaches you about the things you can do to make a super splendid start on the Dutch job market.

Let me shout out one last tip:
Prepare every networking conversation, job interview, workshop or event you will join. It shows great motivation and interest when you come well prepared.

Build your own personal ME Campaign

Your ME Campaign is your own project plan, with real goals and deadlines. If you really want going to work each day of a few days a week, you can use the free work places in the area available or find a nice coffee bar to work for a few hours. Your ME campaign tells you which steps you want to take the coming period, what you want show the people surrounding you. It involves working on your on- and offline presence and of course: there’s room for sending in applications.

Your ME Campaign is about shaping your own personal brand and show other’s what you are looking for. How often did you post a message on your LinkedIn timeline which tells me you are available? I hear great success stories of people who did this. If this does not deliver a job right away, it at least brings you great attention and an opportunity to grow your network. And these opportunities will lead to a job, I am a firm believer of this.

Start Networking to find the hidden vacancies

80% of the vacancies is filled through the network of employees. This means the networking part has to be build into your project plan. Who would you like to meet the coming period? Which companies would you like to get in touch with? Fruitful networking takes about 4 hours a week. Having coffee and a chat is much more fun as sending yet another application, isn’t it?

Networking is a great way to practice for a real job interview. Why? People will ask you similar  questions in a networking conversation. There are lots of great opportunities for networking and you don’t have to focus on business networking. Social events are great for networking and a great way to meet new people. And events where you share knowledge with people of a similar background are great for networking as well. It is always exciting to reach out to people you don’t know, read this blog on how you can reach out in a great way.

I always like to tell people about great examples about networking, here’s 2:

  • A Spanish woman hosted a dinner for other Spanish women living in the area. Work experience and ambitions came up. Later on, one of the women was in need for a replacement during a pregnancy leave and guess who they called; exactly; the woman who hosted the dinner.
  • A Greek woman was on Facebook on a Sunday morning and saw a shout out of a recruiter for a vacancy she liked. She replied immediately and got the opportunity to send in her CV. After doing this, she found out she knew people who worked at this company, reached out to them to inform about company culture and the women she knew threw in a good word for her. The next thing she knew, she was hired.

If you insecure on how to handle questions during a networking chat or your job interview, the second part of the Career Connection Kick Starter Boot Camp is coming up: GET READY! Ace your job interview. A practical workshop in which you will practice with the most common asked questions and the questions you find most difficult to answer. Next to this we will prepare and practice with questions you want to ask during a networking talk or a job interview. We will practice with first impressions and how you can influence them. Remember, it is not all about what the recruiter or employer wants to hear: it is about what you want to hear as well. Please join in on May 15th – 19:00 – 21:30 hrs. – you can register here.

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