Finding employment in Amsterdam
Whether you’ve moved for love or labour, finding a job in foreign lands is a challenge. But not impossible. Unemployment in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the EU. Added to that is Amsterdam’s burgeoning expat community, some 50,000 of which have already set up professional camp in the city. They’ve all done it and with our help, so can you. Here’s a head-start…
Amsterdam Job Search
Browse thousands of non-Dutch speaking positions spanning all the top industries in Amsterdam via Job Search and take your next career step in Amsterdam!
For most people new to Amsterdam, places and faces will be unfamiliar. Overcoming this, de-stranger your environment and join a few groups to strike up professional networks (and possibly friends). It’s always easier to find a job through a close contact or by word-of-mouth. Amsterdam’s expat community is surprisingly tight-knit, making for many likely encounters and acquaintances.
Recruitment agencies in Amsterdam
Recruitment agencies (uitzendbureaus) are located all over the city, with names such as Kelly Services and Adecco easily identifiable to most English-speakers. Like anywhere, there are agencies that specialise in temp positions, meaning one can find work quite quickly, and those for permanent roles. Also, there are several agencies who recruit for vacancies that do not require Dutch although learning the local lingo is much preferred. Click here for a comprehensive list of such agencies in Amsterdam.
UWV: Public Employment services
The public employment service, UWV WERKbedrijf, plays an important role in the Dutch labour market. There are branches located throughout the city with specialists on hand to offer advice and information to job seekers. Through an extensive network of partner sites and (temporary) employment agencies, most vacancies registered with these partners are also registered in the online job database of the UWV WERKbedrijf. Either drop by in person or search for vacancies online (shown in several languages depending on your keyword search). They also also offer lots of English-language information on working in the Netherlands for EU citizens on their website.
A number of Dutch newspapers have English-language job advertisements on their vacancy pages, although most are recruiting for senior positions in international companies. The American Book Centerstocks a comprehensive range of reading material and the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam offers an equally excellent range free of charge, as does the University of Amsterdam.
The most common avenue for job seekers, not only for searching and registering your details but also to keep up to date with prospective employers. Most job agencies regularly post vacancies on their sites, and if you are registered with them, they will contact you to alert you of new opportunities. If you prefer the direct route, job search engines such as the Nationale Vacature Bank (in Dutch), Intermediair and Monsterboard are user-friendly, invaluable resources, and ICTerGezocht has a comprehensive list of tech- and ICT-related job vacancies. Alternatively, check out bulletins of the major international organisations that have local headquarters in the Netherlands.
To apply for work at a particular company that currently has no vacancies,send an unsolicited application. Employers often appreciate the initiative. First find a contact person at the company of choice (e.g. in the human resources department), so the application is addressed to a particular person. When preparing to meet your new contact, have your CV and cover letter (motivatie) tailored to the local style. An extra pointer: Dutch employers have a certain proclivity for hobbies and additional interests.
There are many companies in the Amsterdam area offering coaching and training services for English-speakers looking to improve their skills or re-evaluate their career goals and aspirations. Enlisting the help of a professional life coach may be a good way to set your job related priorities and hear tips from an expert.
Looking for work in the Netherlands
Do you want to work in the Netherlands? Then start looking for work before leaving for the Netherlands. See the list below for suggestions as to how to find a job in the Netherlands.
- Vacancies published by UWV and EURES
- Flexible working
- The internet
- Vacancies in newspapers
- Network sites
- Open applications
- Job fairs
Vacancies published by UWV and EURES
In the Netherlands, UWV plays an important role on the labour market. UWV supports jobseekers online with their website werk.nl. You can find vacancies on werk.nl as follows:
- Go to Find vacancies;
- Enter a search term for the job you are looking for under ‘Trefwoord’.
- Click ‘Zoeken’.
If you are already living in the Netherlands, you can also publish your CV on the website. You can read how to do so under UWV can help you if you want to work in the Netherlands.
You can also find vacancies in the Netherlands through EURES. On the EURES website, you can respond to vacancies with Dutch employers. The website is available in 25 European languages. Go to eures.europa.eu.
The term flexible working, or ‘flexwerk’, is used in the Netherlands to mean work that is carried out under a flexible employment contract. In this type of employment contract, the employee and the employer make agreements about flexible work hours and work location, depending on the employer’s need for employees.
Examples of flexible workers:
- Temporary employees: a temporary or interim employee employed by a temporary employment agency, and is sent to companies by that agency to carry out work.
- Seasonal workers: a seasonal worker is someone who carries out work that is only available in certain seasons, for example in agriculture or the catering industry.
- Employees with a zero-hour contract: an employment contract between an employer and an employee based on which the employee can be called into work on a flexible basis as demand dictates. There is no guarantee of permanent or even a minimum number of hours’ work. Flexible work is very common in the Netherlands.
More than a third of employees work on a flexible basis, a quarter of which work under a temporary contract or a temporary employment contract. Temporary employment agencies play a key role in matching supply and demand. The video ‘Working in the Netherlands’ shows how temporary employment is arranged in the country.
Read more detailed information on temporary employment in the Netherlands.
Many employers look for new candidates on the internet. The internet is, therefore, very useful when you are looking for work in the Netherlands. You will find a list of useful websites below.
General vacancy sites
Specialist vacancy sites
seasonalwork.nl agriculture and horticulture
agrojobs.nl agricultural sector
intermediair.nl specialised in higher education jobs
export.nl import/export, transport and the offshore industry
medweb.nl medical personnel
cadjobs.nl technical artists
Vacancies in newspapers
You can find vacancies in regional and national Dutch newspapers:
Use your own network. Finding a job via personal contacts and social media is perfectly acceptable in the Netherlands. The social media site LinkedIn is often used for making contacts. As a commercial social network, it is very useful for presenting your CV and building up a network of contacts.
Ask your contacts if they want to work on this with you. They can then look for opportunities within their own networks.
It is perfectly acceptable to send open applications in the Netherlands, even to a company that has no current vacancies. If the employer is looking for personnel in the future, this will give you an advantage over other jobseekers.
Use your cover letter to clearly indicate:
- why you want to work for this company;
- your particular talents, skills and work experience;
- how your talents, skills and work experience could be useful to the employer;
- why you are the most suitable candidate for the position;
- why you can offer more than other candidates.
Any language experience or work experience gained in another EU country could be to your advantage.
You can visit international job fairs. EURES advisers may be present with current vacancies from the Netherlands.
You can also apply for jobs via online job fairs, from the comfort of your home. These allow you to see employers’ online presentations and apply to specific jobs in the Netherlands. Go to the Events calender on the EURES website.
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