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For most people new to Amsterdam, places and faces will be unfamiliar. Overcoming this, de-stranger your environment and join a few groups to strike up professional networks (and possibly friends). It's always easier to find a job through a close contact or by word-of-mouth. Amsterdam's expat community is surprisingly tight-knit, making for many likely encounters and acquaintances.
Recruitment agencies (uitzendbureaus) are located all over the city, with names such as Kelly Services and Adecco easily identifiable to most English-speakers. Like anywhere, there are agencies that specialise in temp positions, meaning one can find work quite quickly, and those for permanent roles. Also, there are several agencies who recruit for vacancies that do not require Dutch although learning the local lingo is much preferred. Click here for a comprehensive list of such agencies in Amsterdam.
UWV: Public Employment services
The public employment service, UWV WERKbedrijf, plays an important role in the Dutch labour market. There are branches located throughout the city with specialists on hand to offer advice and information to job seekers. Through an extensive network of partner sites and (temporary) employment agencies, most vacancies registered with these partners are also registered in the online job database of the UWV WERKbedrijf. Either drop by in person or search for vacancies online (shown in several languages depending on your keyword search).
A number of Dutch newspapers have English-language advertisements on their vacancy pages, although most are recruiting for senior positions in international companies. The American Book Center stocks a comprehensive range of reading material and the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam offers an equally excellent range free of charge, as does the University of Amsterdam.
The most common avenue for job seekers, not only for searching and registering your details but also to keep up to date with prospective employers. Most job agencies regularly post vacancies on their sites, and if you are registered with them, they will contact you to alert you of new opportunities. If you prefer the direct route, job search engines such as the Nationale Vacature Bank (in Dutch), Intermediair and Monsterboard are user-friendly, invaluable resources. Alternatively, check out bulletins of the major international organisations that have local headquarters in the Netherlands.
To apply for work at a particular company that currently has no vacancies, send an unsolicited application. Employers often appreciate the initiative. First find a contact person at the company of choice (e.g. in the human resources department), so the application is addressed to a particular person. When preparing to meet your new contact, have your CV and cover letter (motivatie) tailored to the local style. An extra pointer: Dutch employers have a certain proclivity for hobbies and additional interests.
There are many companies in the Amsterdam area offering coaching and training services for English-speakers looking to improve their skills or re-evaluate their career goals and aspirations. Enlisting the help of a professional coach may be a good way to set your job related priorities and hear tips from an expert.
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