NL 101: How to get a job after graduation

It's been a while since the last time I updated this blog. I got caught up with life in general (excuses for my laziness). Just a little update, I managed to graduate from VU Amsterdam (whoop whoop!!) and had the graduation ceremony in October. 

Asri Zefanya, S.E., M.Sc.
and another important thing that happened last year is, I got enganged! Yup, my boyfriend (now fiance) proposed to me in front of my family when we went to Indonesia for vacation last summer. The wedding date is TBD 😉

Ok back to the topic on how to get a job in the Netherlands. Like finding a job in every country, finding a job here is not an easy matter. I had several breakdowns (a lot to be honest), rejection, and I went through numbers of interviews. I just want to share tips and tricks based on my experience, so you probably have a better way to find a job, but this is the way I did it. 

Finding Jobs Tips and Tricks:

1. Make sure you are eligible to work in the Netherlands
First thing first, to be able to work in the Netherlands, you will need a valid visa or a working permit (this is not applicable for EU Citizen).
  • Student Visa: If you are still a student or have a student visa, you can only work 10 hours a week (or full time during summer holiday) and your employer will need to apply for a working permit.
  • Zoekjaar (Orientation Visa): Upon graduation from a Dutch university, you are entitled to apply for an orientation visa, this visa allows you to work without working permit. The validity of this visa is 1 year, for more detailed instruction on how to apply this visa you can visit IND's website. This visa will cost you €641 (as of January 2018).
  • Others: There are other kinds of visas (residence permit) which you can apply, but this only applies if your spouse or partner is Dutch or having a valid Dutch residence permit and willing to sponsor your stay here. The detailed regulation can be found here.
2. Master the language
Well, I'm in the war whether this should be first or second. In my opinion, if you are planning to stay in the Netherlands after graduation, then I think you should learn the language even before you came to the Netherlands for study. Why Dutch (language) is so important even though most people in the Netherlands speak English:
  • You will have more job opportunities, you won't be stuck applying in an international company which English is the main language, but you can also expand your job application to Dutch companies.
  • It doesn't have to be Dutch, some companies are looking for someone who is fluent in German, French, Spanish, and Chinese. So if you want to increase your chance to get a job, I suggest you master one of the languages mentioned above.
  • Last but not least, the company who interviewed you are usually impressed if you managed to learn the language in a short period.
3. LinkedIn is the way
LinkedIn is one of the most popular ways to find a job in the Netherlands, and where recruiters are looking for a good candidate. If you want to increase your chance to score a job here are a few tips:
  • Ensure that your LinkedIn is up to date
  • Use keywords when you fill in the details
  • Professional profile picture. LinkedIn is your online CV, so don't put a picture of your vacation on the beach in bikini 😉
  • Expand your network add your classmates on LinkedIn, join a LinkedIn forum, make yourself known on LinkedIn, my trick is to view people's profile, that way they will look at my profile and increase my "view". The more popular you are on LinkedIn the higher the chance you will get noticed by recruiter
4. Tailor-made your CV and Motivation (Application) Letter
Trust me, recruiter knows when you use one-fits-all CV. While you may have a one extended and detailed CV, just try your best to adjust your CV to fit the job requirement for the position you applied. I hate this part, but it does help you to find a job.

5. Apply to a lot of companies
Yes, this probably contradicts some career site advice on how to find a job. But I am a believer of if you sent 100 applications, you will at least get 1 interview. It doesn't have to be that extreme, but that's how I did it. In the past few months I sent 125 job applications (through LinkedIn only), and probably more applications via other websites. I got myself around 8 interviews.

6. Do not give up and keep on praying
Finding a job is like finding your one true love, sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try, the right job still seems so far away. My "abang" always said, it is not your fault, sometimes you just have to wait, and the right job will come to you. Yes, I sent more than 150 applications (mostly through LinkedIn easy apply), went to numbers of interviews and several phone interviews. Had numbers of rejection emails. Some of them said that I have too much experience, while the other said that I don't have enough experience. But after 6 months of keep trying and looking, I finally score a great job with a great company.


  • I'm working part-time in a restaurant while I'm looking for the right job, it helps to pay the bills.
  • I speak Dutch (B2 level).
  • I didn't apply for the job that I got now, the recruiter contacted me via LinkedIn.
  • I gained interview experience after several rejection.
  • I have around 5 years of working experience, so I don't fall into the fresh graduate categories
  • After I signed the contract, 5 other companies want to hire me, so I had to write around 5 rejection emails, and some of them are still calling.
Well that's it for now, hit me up if you have questions. Probably, I'll give some interview tricks for the next post. 😉


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