Dozens of letters of application

Laurin Ivetić studied Media and Business at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC). He completed his master degree in June and now works as Front-end and Content Specialist at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR). His tip to international students looking for a job: do prepare properly, but don’t be worried, because fate has a way of presenting you with opportunities when the time is right.

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“Towards the end of my degree, I realised I wanted to work in Rotterdam. I’ve moved house so many times in the last few years that I want to get settled for a little while. I graduated from my master degree in Media and Business last June. A former colleague at the International Office, where I worked as a student assistant during my degree, told me that a job was available at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. The position of Front-end and Content Specialist struck me as being very interesting, so I applied for the job and was hired.

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“I absolutely love my job. I have great colleagues, I work on fun projects, and the workplace atmosphere is wonderful. My contract was supposed to expire in late February, but they’ve decided to extend it. That makes me really happy, because it means I can start preparing for next year’s film festival. If my contract hadn’t been extended, I would have tried to find another job in Rotterdam. I won’t be leaving this city any time soon. I like it too much here. I’m from Germany, so I don’t need a work permit, which makes things easier.

“It might look like it didn’t take me much time to find a job, but that’s not true. You see, I started my job hunt early. I’d sent dozens of letters of application before I’d even submitted my master thesis. If you’ll allow me to give the job hunters of the future a tip, I’d like to tell them the following: take your time, and take it easy. I hardly had any time between the day I graduated from uni and my first day at work – so little time that I didn’t really have the opportunity to properly say goodbye to my student life. I sometimes secretly envy my fellow students who just got back from a long holiday or gap year.”

No dream job just yet

Grace Emely completed her master degree in Urban Management and Development at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS). At present she works at a media company in Amsterdam and is working hard to try to land her dream job. “If you wish to find a job in the Netherlands, make sure you do an internship during your degree, even if it’s not a mandatory component of your degree programme,” she says. “Not only will you gain experience, but it will help you find your way in the Dutch job market.”

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Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

“To be quite honest, I think it’s hard to find a good job in the Netherlands. In Malaysia I got a bachelor degree in Architecture Science, and two years ago I completed my master degree in Urban Management and Development. My dream is to work in the field of urban heritage, but at present I work as a video editor and translator for a media company in Amsterdam.

“Once I’d completed my master degree, I sought to find a job as quickly as possible. Making ends meet was my priority, so I accepted the offer I got from my present employer, even though the world of media is not what I’m passionate about. We all have to start somewhere, right? In addition to my job, I’m taking Dutch language classes, and I’m building a network so as to improve my chances on the Dutch labour market. But for now, eighteen months and dozens of letters of application later, I have yet to land my dream job.

“I’m not sure why I haven’t been able yet to find a job in my own field. A few times, the companies I applied to told me they preferred to hire a native Dutch speaker, but nine times out of ten, I’ll get a standard letter of rejection, with no further explanation. It sometimes frustrates me that my career isn’t developing according to plan, but I’ll keep sending letters of application and developing my skills by taking all sorts of courses and training sessions. Thankfully, my current employer is prepared to stand surety for me while I stay in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, thus giving me time to continue my job hunt.”

Right opportunity at the right time

Clement Taffin is an alumna of the International Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (IBCom). She completed her bachelor degree last July. She currently works as a Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Connected Circles in Amsterdam. Her main recommendation: make sure you have a good online presence if you’re looking for a job in today’s digital era.

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Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

“As soon as I’d received my degree certificate in July, I applied for the orientation-year visa. 1 I sent about a dozen letters of application during the first two months after getting my degree, but without any luck. The number of available jobs was very low and the competition for those jobs was stiff. I wasn’t invited for a single job interview.

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“Last August, a lady on LinkedIn sent me a connection request. She is a Community Manager at an Amsterdam-based start-up active in management consultancy. We exchanged a few messages and she told me her company was looking to hire someone. Long story short: a few weeks later, I embarked on a job as Stakeholder Engagement Manager at that company. The way in which I landed this job was very unexpected, but I think that’s how life works – sometimes you have to be fortunate enough to be offered the right opportunity at the right time.

“My contract will expire in October, and since I’ve been granted the orientation-year visa, I don’t need a work permit just yet. I’ve explained to my employer that, since I’m from Venezuela, I’ll need a sponsor if I’m to work in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant. They’ve told me they’ll be happy to stand surety, if I perform well. Just in case they change their minds, though, I’ve come up with a Plan B for this September: back to EUR for a master degree.”

  1. After obtaining their degrees, students from non-EU/EEA countries may apply for a permit that will allow them to stay in the Netherlands for one year while searching for a job. During this one year, the graduates do not need a work permit to be allowed to work in the Netherlands. ↩︎