Preparation for the search


Before you start looking for a job, it would be good to find out what you actually like, but also to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. This part of knowing yourself will help you understand the value you can bring to a future workplace, which suitable position or job you want to consider. Understanding your strong and weak points will definitely be helpful for the future job interviews, when you are expected to “sell yourself”. How can you do that? You could take a tests via Career Services of Utrecht University here (free, but you need to be working or studying at the UU). Another way is by contacting Natália Leal. Drawing on circa 20 years of experience across different countries and sectors, Natália Leal offers tailor-made coaching paths for open-minded internationals. She combines tools from career design, positive pshychology, CBT and neurosciences to design coaching journeys that fit YOU. Holders of an ESNcard can get a Free Discovery Call here!

Improving your CV

Fact: recruiters spend on average 5-7 seconds to look at a CV (more facts). Within such a short time, how can you make yourself stand out? First of all, it is important that your CV itself looks the best it possibly can. This will catch a recruiter’s eye, and will draw their attention to the content of your CV. Detailed steps on how to write a CV can be found here. There are also many websites that provide ready-to-use CV templates, for instance Enhancv. You can use this for free for 14 days and after the free trial period, you can upgrade to a paid account with more advanced features

Your previous experience is an essential part of your CV. To expand your list of experience, you can think of doing the following which companies find important:


  • Going abroad: well done, you did this already!
  • Committee work: get some experience with working in a team. You can do this for instance within the many study associations in Utrecht and of course within ESN.
  • Volunteering: a website that lists volunteering options in Utrecht is Nederland cares. Another website with volunteering options in the Netherlands is Access-nl. In the meantime, you can also take initiative and create your own volunteer network.

Finding a job

LinkedIn is one of the most common and favourite websites for job searching. Did you know that in 2015 half of Dutch internet users had a LinkedIn profile? For that reason, LinkedIn is sometimes referred to as a professional Facebook. It is easy to set up a free profile, with which you can find a lot of useful information on the website. If you do not have one yet, follow these instructions and join the LinkedIn network. And if you already have a profile, it is time to optimize it to help you land your future job. Find tips on this here.

Do you know that ESN also has its own LinkedIn page? Feel free to connect with us on our LinkedIn. On this page we will post information about upcoming events and tips & tricks on a career in the Netherlands.

Another simple way to find a job is to go directly to the website of the company you are interested in. Most companies have their own “Career” page where you can find out about available vacancies and even tips and tricks about the application process.

Another option, which might cost you money, is to go to recruitment agencies. Some of the most popular ones are HoiTalentUndutchables and Randstad. Some recruitment websites are specifically designed for international students so you do not have to worry about your Dutch level 🙂 Similar websites can be found here.

Last but not least, use your own network. People working within a company can help you during your job orientation and application. You can ask them for tips and tricks how to apply for a job and whether there are available vacancies at that moment. Besides, they can connect you with employees which are relevant for the specific position you are interested in. Even if the company does not have a vacancy at this moment, they might want some extra personnel in the near future. Letting them know that you are available also increases your chance of getting hired.

So how can you expand your network? Connecting with alumni is one common way of doing so. Here you can find international alumni in the Netherlands. Next to that, you can also find alumni via your own university website. The alumni network for students from Utrecht University can be found on this page.

Working in the Netherlands

Rules and regulations

Orientation year highly educated persons


To allow non-Dutch graduates to find a job in the Netherlands, the Dutch government grants a residence permit for one year to look for a job or to start an own company. This possibility exists for both graduates of a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme and people who have done scientific research for a certain amount of time. The full list of requirements can be found on the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the Netherlands.


After you have found a job in the Netherlands, you need a new residence permit: a single permit (GVVA), or a separate residence permit and work permit (TWV). It depends on the kind of work you are going to do. To find out which permit you need, you can visit the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) of the Netherlands here.


Although the website of the IND is quite complete regarding the information you will need, it might be useful to use the pathfinder tool of the Holland Alumni Network to assess what applies for your specific situation. There is a tool for internships in the Netherlands (link) and a tool for a career in the Netherlands (link). Their general page on rules and regulations might be useful as well (link).


Remember to get this done as soon as possible! You do not want to miss the career chance of a lifetime because you did not apply for a residence permit soon enough.