Resume advice for people who have worked with the Dutch
October 10, 2017 6:31 PM   Subscribe

American applying for a job with a Dutch company (and a Dutch hiring manager). For people who have worked with Dutch companies - anyone have resumes or cover letter advice in order to be successful in the Netherlands? Examples would be amazing.

Bonus question: the plurality of Company's customers are from the U.S. or the U.K. Should that color the resume or cover letter?
posted by arnicae to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I'm American and have worked in the Netherlands for almost 10 years, at four different companies (all of them Dutch-owned). Honestly, I've never done anything special with my resume when applying for jobs here. Dutch people (and other Europeans) tend to include more personal information than Americans would; I've seen lots of resumes with a date of birth (including the year), and I've even seen people list their kids' names and ages. But I've never done that type of thing and I've never met anyone who considers it mandatory. Anyway, knowing that you're American will color their expectations somewhat.

I used to use UK spelling in my resume and cover letter, and then a hiring manager told me it made her cringe, so I stopped, haha. One thing is, if you're not applying through a recruiter, you might want to clarify your living/working situation in your cover letter; that is, are you living in the US and looking to move here, are you already living here, do you have a work permit (like through a spouse), do you need kennismigrant status, etc.

I've been pretty involved in hiring at my current company and one concern that people usually have about white-collar Americans is that they'll use the job as a way to get into Europe and then disappear after a year -- either off to another EU country with better salaries/weather/whatever, or back to the US because they don't feel integrated here. So, if you're not already living here, that can be a prejudice working against you. I guess the best way to combat this is to avoid giving the impression that you're moving on a whim (or that you picked the NL because it's the "easiest" EU country for English speakers), and to emphasize that you're interested in and excited about the job itself.
posted by neushoorn at 10:36 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]

General Dutch advice for job applications is to call the company before you write a letter to ask a few questions about the job. I don't know how standard that is in the US, but here, that's almost always recommended. You ask to speak to the hiring manager or someone else who can answer some questions about the job, you prepare some interesting questions about the job or company (this is not the time to ask about salary/benefits etc). You then have something you can use in your letter (the letter is really important! Not just an accompaniment to your resume), you have a name you can mention, and a specific thing that you're really interested in after speaking on the phone, something like that. And hopefully they'll remember you as a friendly interesting person who they'd like to talk more to.

In general, in the Netherlands there's a tendency to dislike people who "stand out from the crowd". This article explains a bit about that: Don’t brag, don’t show off, don’t display too much personality, don’t publicly show emotions, follow all the rules and regulations, don’t act like you’re better or better off than anyone else. This is of course tough because your goal with your job application is to stand out from the crowd, and you should, but it's maybe good to keep this in the back of your head.

If you are a woman I would definitely not put anything about children if you have them in a cover letter or resume. I know that some people do it, and there are probably specific situations where it is useful, but in general I would not risk it.
posted by blub at 12:35 AM on October 13

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