Expat zone
Posted on: Apr 24, 2013

Getting a job, for starters!

Mike Klianis

This post is also available in Greek

If you are not one of the lucky ones that came to the Netherlands with a job waiting for them, then, your professional career or start of one, might look like a long road filled with hardship. You have to walk, search, get wet and cold, because the competition has gotten dangerously larger and expat jobs for people that still don’t speak Dutch, have gotten way less.

Patience, optimism and realism are the weapons you should arm yourself with.

Question one: Who am I, what have I done up to now professionally and what kind of jobs can I actually do

Before you start sending out CV’s, you should start by interviewing your own self. Get a piece of paper and write down all the jobs that you are willing to do, starting from the ideal one and ending with the one that could give a small “boost” on your financial situation but also on your mood.

There are a lot of jobs that you can start with.

You do have to look hard in order to find them, either from someone you know or from an online advert. A more direct approach is to get dressed up, print out a lot of CV’s and start introducing yourself to those that are actually looking for English speaking personnel.

Some jobs that you might be able to do are:

- Reception work or assistance in a Hotel or Hostel. Main requirements are that you speak English (extra languages can be a bonus for you), some sort of small experience in the leisure industry and a positive attitude.

- Service or bar work, if you are young, presentable and willing to serve people. You will find quite a few announcements for personnel stuck outside of shop windows.

You could also choose which shop is more for you and see if you can go by for a coffee (if they are serving it), pass on your CV and maybe even manage to get a few good words about your self in a small chat. You never know!

-Gift shops and general retail. These shops tend to be in tourist areas and work mainly with tourists so you might overcome the language issue.

-In the summer there are many job openings due to the flower season. You can go and leave your resume on big work agencies that specialize in this kind of work. You just have to be over 1.65!

- Cleaning crews are also another temporary solution for the start. In those you can work either alone in houses, or in groups, cleaning hotels, party venues but also conference rooms.

- Call centers. If you speak extra languages and know great English already, then you might have a chance working in a call center or on some online customer care center.

Booking.com is one of the multicultural companies that offers work to quite many Greeks, giving them the chance to work in various positions, speaking only English and or Greek. These positions are really few scarce and if you wish to join their team, you might have to be patient because the applications usually are way too many for only a few positions.

What you should look out for

Just like in Greece, in the Netherlands there is also “black” or uncontracted labour. Always ask information about the job that they are offering you.

You can see more information about salaries in the Netherlands on iamexpat.nl's post.

The next thing you should be on the lookout is the amount they are offering and if it is in your interest to accept. They will give you a gross salary amount or a net income. The gross amount is your paycheck with taxes not deducted and the net amount is the actual amount you will be receiving each month. Many times within your net amount is not included your health insurance and your pension plan. You should check this out on your contract as well.

Also if you have been hired by a work agency there is a chance that a small percentage will be subtracted from your salary as the agency’s fee. Ask about this fee if you belong in that category.

You can read more information about taxes on iamexpat.nl’s post.

So, arm yourselves with patience and start looking. A job in the beginning will boost your mood, your finances, will help you network, meet people and you never know in what kind of a career it might lead you. Don’t give up!

Keep sending your CV’s for the jobs you are actually aiming for. As the time goes by and you realize more the situation here, the chances of finding a better job are increasing. After all, interviews for a position in a big company sometimes might take a long time (even months) to set up and get through and this idle time might be a chance to network and most importantly, make some income to keep you here in the Netherlands.


Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.