Finding a job in the Netherlands after graduation

Finding a job in the Netherlands after graduation

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Finding a job in the Netherlands after graduation isn't easy, but with the right approach it's possible to find work with a Dutch company.

After studying in the Netherlands, graduates can get a Dutch permit to look for work for one year. To ensure you get a job in the year after graduation, there are certain tips to maximise your job search efforts and increase your chance of finding a job in the Netherlands.

First step: self-analysis

When deciding what kind of job to look for after graduation, it may help you to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What are my skills?
  • What do I want?

Who am I?
What do you like doing, and what general qualities do you possess? If you are unsure, ways of figuring this out include the following:

  • Make a list of ten of your ‘good’ qualities and three of your weaknesses or qualities you do not like. If you find this difficult, you can ask family or friends to help you by giving feedback.
  • Think about three situations in which you where successful and consider which qualities you made use of then.
  • List your hobbies and think about which qualities you use in these hobbies.
  • Answer the question ‘what excites me, when do I become enthusiastic?

What are my skills?
The question ‘What are my skills?’ can be answered by looking at the activities you have undertaken throughout your life. For example, you might have some experience working as an editor, meaning that you have skills in writing, communication and working in a team. Or you can think of your language skills as another ability. Write your skills down in order to get an overview. If you can speak several languages it can help your recruitment.

What do I want?
In order to answer the question ‘What do I want?’, reflect on questions such as:

  • Which sector would I like to work (academic research, IT, government, industry, education, health care, business, ...)?
  • In which country would I like to work?
  • What kind of business culture suits me (informal or formal, ambitious, social, etc.)?

Keep in mind that the answer to ‘What do I want’ should not be contradictory to your answers to who you are and what your skills are; the three go together and should complement each other. Your recruitment will be based on the logical link between your personality and what you are looking for.
Step two: finding information

After the self-analysis, you will need several different types of information. Besides information on companies and vacancies in your chosen field, you will need to find out things such as:

  • How are the labour conditions in the country in which I want to work?
  • How do I apply for a job in that country?
  • Do I need a work permit?
  • What is that country's tax system like?


The information about work permits and tax issues that is relevant to students applies to graduates as well. Follow the link below for more information. Without these documents, the recruitment is complex to operate.

Work permit
You can find more detailed information on working in the Netherlands in the following resources:

  • Read Expatica's guide to Dutch immigration and residency regulations.
  • The Holland Handbook, Xpatmedia, ISBN 90 5594 3010.
  • Looking for work in The Netherlands, Nannette Ripmeester – Labour in Mobility, ISBN 90 5896 0145.
  • You can have a look at these books at the documentation centre of the Service and Information Centre, Binnengasthuisstraat 9.

Jobs for graduates in the Netherlands

Step three: applying for a job

Please note that for most jobs in the Netherlands, Dutch is a requirement. If you do not speak Dutch, using your network will probably be the most efficient way of finding a job. You can enlarge your network by contacting alumni of the University of Amsterdam who take part in the Arbeidsmarkt Alumni Netwerk (AAN). A description of their current jobs and professional backgrounds can be found at the documentation centre of the UvA, Service and Information Centre, Binnengasthuisstraat 9.

Other ways of finding a job are:

  • Searching the internet
  • Checking local newspapers for vacancies. You can often find newspapers in the library.
  • Sending a letter in which you present yourself to the company you are interested in. It is important to explain what attracts you in the company and what you can offer them.


It is important to be aware of any cultural differences when applying for a job. For example, the requirements of a CV in the Netherlands are not the same as those of a CV in England or the United States. It is always useful to ask people to read your motivation letter and CV before sending it. This checking will help your recruitment and put you in a good situation.

Feedback and career counselling
The career counsellors of the UvA can give you feedback on your application letter and curriculum vitae. You can also contact them with other questions concerning career planning and finding a job.

Employment and recruitment agencies
There are several employment and recruitment agencies for non-Dutch nationals:

  • Abroad Experience
  • Adam’s Multilingual recruitment
  • Adecco, call centre solutions
  • Blue Lynx Employment
  • English Language Jobs
  • Kelly Services
  • Projob International
  • Undutchables Recruitment Agency
  • Unique Multilingual Services
  • Job search websites


You can search for a job in the Netherlands using Expatica's job search. The follow job search websites might also be useful:

Service & Information Centre, / Expatica

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2 Comments To This Article

  • Emil posted:

    on 5th November 2015, 12:27:06 - Reply

    If I might suggest - is a great website for finding a job.

  • Julia Susuni posted:

    on 4th June 2012, 22:36:00 - Reply

    I love the idea of doing a self-evaluation of your own skills and what you are looking for out of a job. I have found the resource really useful for recent grads looking for a job!