If you’re looking for a job in the Netherlands, be focussed, persistent and don’t lose hope, says Martina Mc Auley who offers job-finding tips on what can seem like a “never-ending job search.”
Well I’ve been looking for a fulltime job for a good while. As part of the compensation package from my last employer, I followed a career management course with an outplacement agency for nine months. One thing that I did learn from the course was the sort of job I’m looking for. And that’s half the battle.
Working in a tourist office
I think the perfect job for me, would be working in a tourist office because I can make use of my 14 years of travel experience, 20 years hospitality experience and several years of customer service experience and make use of my good Dutch and French, great organisational skills and love/passion for travelling.
I did apply for a job working in the VVV (tourist office) in Amsterdam but they need fluency in four languages! Which I don’t have, and one of them must be Dutch. So I thought about other options and came up with Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales.
Now Ireland is one of the worst hit countries in Europe in the economic crisis, so I don’t think my chances of finding work there are very high and the tourism industry there has taken a nosedive recently. So what about Scotland, England or Wales? I would really like to work for Visit Scotland but I’m wondering if I’d be of any help as I just melt when I hear the Scottish accent, and I’d be mesmerised listening to any Scottish guys speaking… The Kiwi accent has the same effect, but I’m sure I’d get over it! I would definitely consider England or Wales, but my all-time ideal location to work in would be in the Wellington i-site office in New Zealand (I am dying to get back there, but getting the visa for anyone over 30 is nigh on impossible.
Job application struggles
I also have to consider if it’s worth moving away, building up a different way of life, but if I wanted the job enough I’d go for it! Life is too short not to follow your passions, and I have at least another 25 years of a working life ahead of me and I’d rather not spend it doing jobs just to pay the bills.
As well as applying for tourism jobs, I’m open to other opportunities such as administrative jobs, and in the last 10 months have sent off God knows how many application letters.
Most of them have come back with rejections and a variety of reasons of why I’m not suitable for the job. Happily, I’ve also had quite a few interviews, and one is particularly memorable.
Falling off the chair
I was invited for a second interview with a company based in Amsterdam. Part of the interview was a video conference with the manager and other team members. At the end of the hour-long conference, the woman who had invited me for the interview came into the room. She went to turn off the connection on the video behind me, indicating that we should leave the room.
I was on the point of standing up when I heard a clatter and bang followed by a muffled cry. My swivel chair span round as the woman, who had slipped in her high heels, grasped the arm of the chair to support herself on the way down, an action which sent me spinning, threw me off balance and dumped me on the floor beside her! We picked ourselves up with as much dignity and grace as we could muster. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
So what tips would I give after my many months of experience, of looking for a job?
- Knowing what you want is half the battle. Even though it might be difficult to achieve, keep going. You’ll get there in the end. There’s a saying by Theo Paphitis, one of the dragons on Dragon’s Den on the BBC which I like to follow: “If you haven’t got a passion for what you’re doing, go do something else.
- Combine networking and applying for advertised positions. Networking especially, can be very valuable. It’s not always who you know; you never know who others might know. Evidently, 70 percent of your chances of finding a job are through networking.
- Follow up is very important -before you apply for a job and after].
- After you send in your job application, if you can, call the contact person/hiring manager and ask questions about the job. It will help them remember you.
- Retrain yourself or do extra courses that will help you get that job.
- Lastly, don’t underestimate support from family and friends. Over the last few months it’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions and at times I’ve been very down, constantly trying to deal with the vast number of rejections coming in and trying to keep myself motivated to keep applying for jobs. I would have been lost without the support of family and friends. They have been absolutely great and I’m so glad they have been there for me through the whole thing, with all the ups and downs. But persistence and patience will get you a lot of places. Stick to your guns. You’ll get there.
I started a full time job a week ago, nearly a year and a half after I finished my last full time job. The job is only temporary at the moment but at least it gets me out of the house and back into the routine of working again, learning new things and meeting new people. But I will still follow my dreams of trying to find work in a tourist office and/ or becoming a travel writer. I’m open to all sorts of opportunities.
Martina Mc Auley has a passion for travelling and writing about her travels. She describes herself as “determined, adventurous and creative,” with an “ambition is to become a full time travel writer and photographer.” Visit her blog at www.travelpod.com/members/flyingbat