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Finding A Job in The Netherlands: How Difficult Can It Be?

Are you ready to pack your bags? We’ve all been to that place when we feel the urge to change something in our professional (and private) lives. The number of people who decide to go to another country looking for a job is constantly growing, and The Netherlands is one of the most popular European destinations for migrants. A high living standard and flexible multicultural working environment are very appealing to many job seekers from all around the globe.

So, what does it take to get a job here?

I tried to summarize the most important facts for those who are considering working and living in The Netherlands in the future:

1. The most important thing – a residence permit

If you are not an EU citizen and you want to stay longer than (usually) 90 days, the Dutch government issues different residence permits depending on the job type. The bad news is that almost always, you need to sign a contract with a Dutch employer (or an international company that is based in The Netherlands) or already have a job here to be able to get or extend your residence permit. In that case, either you or your company applies for you.

The exceptions are people who have graduated, obtained a Ph.D. or performed scientific research and wish to find a job or start their own company, they can apply for residence permit “orientation year highly educated persons”.

2. The industries with a shortage of skilled employees

At the moment, high-tech companies, hospitals, and schools are having a hard time filling their vacancies. Young graduates with the right technical, medical, or ICT skills are also in high demand.

Knowledge of the Dutch language and culture is of great importance for most employees, especially if they work with people, like in primary or secondary education or healthcare. For some other shortage occupations, especially ICT and technical jobs, Dutch language skills are less essential, especially if migrants know the English language.

There is also a shortage of people who work in manufacturing, agriculture and in construction, and for these jobs, the level of education is not crucial. Also, if you are a skilled carpenter, plumber, car mechanic or automotive technician, then there is a big probability you’ll find a job more easily.

3. A job search process

If you are not hired by one of many international organizations, you will, like most people taking up employment in the Netherlands, have to obtain a work permit before you start. Don’t be discouraged, recruitment nowadays uses different contemporary solutions, so you don’t have to be physically present for your job interview or to sign your contract.

However, you will need to maximize your chances of standing out in the sea of other, equally qualified candidates for the job you want. In my experience, your resume, cover letter, professional LinkedIn profile, and overall online presence have to be flawless. Luckily, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to achieve this, but you have to be practical and proactive to accept professional assistance when you realize you need it.


I have worked with many executives, IT engineers, oil and gas technology experts, CBRN specialists, medical professionals, administrative officers, and professors and helped them in different aspects of their careers. I've also provided guidance for professionals seeking employment in international organisations (OPCW, UN, ICC, EPO, IAEA and many others) - for more guidance read this.

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