This post is also available in Greek
The Netherlands is a very interesting country. It has many beauties, good transportation, provisions, cleanliness, good organization, freedoms and also a lot of jobs. If you manage to get yourself into the system and the rhythm of life here, then in short time you will also be enjoying the gifts of this country.
When I came here, I was told that finding work would not be hard at all even though I didn’t speak a word of Dutch. That was the first and biggest lie that made me waste valuable time sending CV’s everywhere, thinking that I would have been hired in a big multinational firm with a satisfying paycheck in no time.
Too many Greeks that dream of living in the Netherlands are chasing one of the most wanted Greek speaking positions of Booking.com. Unfortunately though, what they don’t know is that these openings are very few and the demand is so high that if you manage to get the position you think you won the lottery! From time to time there are also new positions which you can find in their website booking.com/jobs
Unfortunately again, Greek, as a native language, gives the opportunity to get hired with that qualification alone, only to a few. Things are also getting hard if you only just know English. Your English must be great, unlike the English we usually use back in Greece. Your competition here is young people from America, Britain, Germany but also other European countries with high standards.
Jobs for people that only speak English are way less. There are a lot of multinational companies here but most of them choose people that know the language here but also the market.
Coming from Greece if you haven’t ever really worked in Europe so far, you will realize after a while why you didn’t get hired the first time after the “amazing” interview that you thought you had. Here the market works in other ways and in order to find your dream job you have to adapt to the way of thinking and working in Europe.
What are they looking for in the job markets of the Netherlands
The jobs that have big demand and you could work by knowing English alone are usually IT related, development related (PHP, Perl, Python, etc), Account managing, specialized workers, all sorts of managers, designers (mobile, web) not graphic designers or DTPers, system engineers, engineers, marketing, financial specialists, call center employees, chefs, cooks, maids, cleaning services and hotel employees with previous work experience.
Up to now it has been proven by friends that degrees and MSc’s don’t really matter in the Netherlands except for a few exceptions. If your working experience in combination with a dynamic interview proves that you are capable, even without any kind of a degree, you will still get the job. So start writing a clean, direct and well written resume with proper English and a very strong cover letter, written in the first person, explaining the reasons you have for wanting to work at that specific company and explaining why they should hire you for the available position. Then start sending to all the positions that you feel you have a chance of getting.
How can I find a temporary job
If you decide to stay at one of the bigger cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Hagg, Utrecht and Eindhoven, you could find a temporary job, speaking English only. Off course in Amsterdam it is a bit easier since the city does hosts the most tourists and has greater need of English speaking personnel. There are many jobs in fast food restaurants, supermarkets and malls but if they are not centrally located then they usually also need you to know Dutch or they hire interns, which is really common here.
Greek restaurants are not a suggested solution. Don’t come all the way here just with the idea that you will manage to settle by working in some Greek restaurant because you will most likely be disappointed. Most of the times the pay is low, the work hours are plenty, the work contracts are non-existent or the bare minimum and the lodging provided is without locks on the doors and many times without even the basic necessities. This usually happens with jobs that have to do with food and accommodations like restaurants and hotels, which are usually the first places that Greeks will apply for since hospitality, service and food is embedded in us.
Try to remember that life here is expensive and any work you find should be able to cover your expenses and also be legal with a contract (not a zero hour contract, a normal one), in order for you to rent a house and get a bank account. The alternative is to live “underground” and work in positions that you will be taken advantage off and they pay will be low.
Where can I look for work?
Online, there are many places and ways to search for work. Some of the biggest websites that deal with this are www.monsterboard.nl, www.expatjobs.eu, www.eurojobs.com, www.undutchables.nl, www.crossbordertalent.com, www.randstad.com, www.careersinholland.com, www.unique.nl, www.eenbaan.nl, www.adamsrecruitment.com, for jobs in accomodation hotel.jobs και www.courtesyjobs.com and off course at linkedin.
Another good place to look for work is also www.werk.nl. The requirement here is that you need to get a DigID first. You can get one online at their website www.digid.nl but it also has some requirements of its own.
There are also quite a lot of work agencies but usually if go by their offices they will tell you to submit your CV via email. I only know of 2 people that managed to get hired through a work agency. The emails that these agencies receive daily are so many and their staff is really small. As a result the emails being seen and read are very few and the replies for an interview come in late.
So, if you see that you can’t work online, don’t stay at home. Get dressed pretty, put on your smile and head on door to door wherever you feel like working and start passing out your CV. Public relations in the Netherlands are important and usually the ticket for a great job or cheap housing. Don’t wait over the phone all day long and don’t let the weather bring you down. Take control of your chances and print something nice looking and easy to read, grab a friend and take the city!
What should I look out for?
It is a good move that if you decide to begin your life here to have some money on the side. The usual process to find housing and work is quite painful. For the first period try to find accommodation with a friend or stay in a friend’s house, in order to also learn some tips about renting a place to stay, what to look out for, where to get a job and how people live here. If you don’t have anyone to accommodate you then try to get a cheap deal with a hotel for the first month. NEVER RENT through the Internet and NEVER SEND MONEY to any realtor unless you see the house personally and verify that it is not a scam. If you do go online and think that you have found a cheap big house then it is probably a scam, which will make you lose money, and end up on the street penniless, in a new country. The biggest scams are targeted daily towards expats that have just moved and don’t know how things work here. You can read all about in our article Still looking for a house.
As soon as you decide that you have come to stay go and get a Dutch phone number and head straight for the Tax office (Belastingdienst) to apply for a SOFI number. You can do that with your greek address. The only thing you will need is a friend that knows dutch, to call and book you an appointment. This number will allow you to start a bank account. Most of the employers ask for it to see if you are serious about staying here. After you get the number start looking for work and if you have the stamina see if you can start learning Dutch. That will definitely show commitment towards living here.
If you are one of the lucky ones that managed to get a job from Greece and everything is arranged for you (BSN, company accommodation, work), we wish a great stay. If you aren’t we advise you to check out jobs with relocation help, which usually means a house waiting for you and help with moving to a new country.