While the numbers of unemployment in the Netherlands currently break the records due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for refugees and immigrants it might be even harder to find work at the moment. However, that we are in the midst of a health and economic crisis does not mean that it is hopeless to even try finding work. Even now, there are steps you can undertake to find a job.
First of all, get oriented in which field you would like to work. What working experience do you have? In which field can you make the most contribution to a potential employer? Due to Covid-19 many companies went bankrupt, but especially working fields, which do not require physical social contact and which are necessary for our survival were not that much affected by the crisis. For example, everything related to health care, supermarkets, shops, logistics, food, and work you can do online could be fields you can try finding work.
Besides the working fields, language is an important factor in finding work. Learning Dutch will increase your chances to get hired significantly. Although many language courses will not take place at the moment, there are still ways to learn this language. Duolingo is a helpful application you can use to get started. Additionally, Ava Lingua Language Exchange offers language exchanges via Zoom. To learn a new language, it is important that you surround yourself as much as possible with this language. Try to watch Dutch tv, movies, series, listen to the radio, and to Dutch music. Try to speak Dutch, when you do your groceries, in a café or restaurant. Even if people answer in English, keep trying. Ask in Facebook groups, such as Yalla in Netherlands Nijmegen or International Students in Nijmegen for a ‘taalmaatje’, a Dutch person you can meet to practice your Dutch and maybe teach him or her your own language and or culture in exchange.
Here you can find the AvaLingua Facebook group with updates of upcoming language exchanges: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvaLinguaExchange.LanguageExchange.NL/
Yalla in Netherlands Nijmegen: https://www.facebook.com/groups/refugeesinnetherlandsnijmegen/
And the Nijmegen International Students Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1739059796339534/
Once you figured out in which hiring sector you best can use your skills and have the greatest chance of getting hired and you have figured out ways to improve your Dutch, you can start preparing your application process. First, write a good CV and motivation letter. When writing a motivation letter, it is important that you focus this letter on the specific job you are applying for. Why are you the best candidate for this specific job? What makes you enthusiastic about this job? What can you contribute? A CV should be to the point and contain the most relevant working experience in chronological order. Ask a Dutch native speaker to check the grammar and spelling before you submit your documents.
If finding a job does not work or is not what you want, you can consider founding your own company. Some of the most successful companies, such as General Motors, Microsoft, and CNN were actually founded during a financial crisis. Thus, have you dreamt of having your own business in a working sector you have experience in for a long time? What are you waiting for? Do everything you can to achieve your dream. This might require hard work and dedication, but if you take a small step every day, your endurance certainly will pay off on the long term.
To facilitate the process of finding a job or founding your own business, a good professional network might be helpful. Join Facebook groups with like-minded people from your working sector. In my experience, there is a Facebook group for almost everything. Ask your questions there or connect with people, who are struggling with the same issues, help each other or maybe even find business partners there. You could, for example, ask in the Facebook group Yalla in the Netherlands Nijmegen for advice on how other refugees and immigrants found work and get support and inspiration there. It might look like an unsolvable problem right now, but it is not. Keep going and take small steps every day to get where you want to be. Giving up is not an option!
By: Linda Blaesing