I'm an American living in the U.S. and searching for a job in the Netherlands (with the intention of moving there permanently). My chances for success are slim, I know. What can I do to improve them?
There are basically two ways for a non-EU citizen to legally work in the Netherlands: an employer can sponsor you (after proving that no EU citizen can do the job), or your Dutch partner can sponsor you.*
I have the best Dutch boyfriend in the history of Dutch boyfriends, but he doesn't qualify to sponsor me. So I'm searching for a job the work-permit-less way: wading through listings at NL job search Web sites and applying directly to companies with specific openings (with my fingers crossed).**
However, as the rejection e-mails are flooding my inbox, I'm wondering if there's something I can do differently with my resume to convince potential employers that I'm worth the time, effort, and money involved in hiring a non-EU citizen. I feel like I've done the basics -- my resume is typo-free, every bullet point starts with a verb, and I tweak the keywords to match the job posting when I can -- but I have no idea if it's ever going to help me make the international leap.
Some background on me, if it helps: I have a bachelor degree in Management Information Systems and a bachelor degree in English. I started my career in 2003 as a programmer using proprietary tools. In 2004, I transferred into corporate communications, so I have about four years' experience doing a combination of technical writing, editing, and marketing copywriting. I'd prefer to stay in the world of corporate communications (although at this point I'd be thrilled to land an IT job; I just don't think I could compete with someone with more experience). I'm totally open to companies outside the software industry. Oh, and I don't speak Dutch. I'm studying, but the reality is that it'll be a few years before I'm fluent, and I don't think it'll ever happen without more immersion.
International recruiters/hiring managers: What makes you choose one candidate over another? Extra skills beyond what was listed in the job posting? Professional organization memberships? Certifications?
Folks who have successfully landed jobs in countries other than your native land: What was the key to your success? Was there a point in your job search where you changed tactics?
Dutch employers: Want to hire me? I'm really great!
Bonus question: How does one stay positive during a difficult job search? I'm starting to lose hope and it's really affecting my emotional and physical health.
* There's also the highly skilled migrants program, which enables registered employers to bring in employees without work permits; but the job seeker has to find a job with a registered employer first, so I don't see how it affects one's job search.
** Most employment agencies (including Undutchables and Dambusters) can't help, because they won't consider applicants who don't already have work permits.