Working in The Netherlands after graduation

Congratulations! You have just graduated or are about to graduate from a Dutch University. Now the world is at your feet right? Or at least that’s what they tell you at your University. To find out reality hits different! 

I graduated with a Masters in Social Psychology from the VU University in Amsterdam. ‘You can become a Social Psychologist’ is what is being told in the flyers and information brochures from the University. 

Which is of course very true, if only there would be jobs like that out there! A quick search on LinkedIn and Indeed tells me there are exactly 0 jobs as a Social Psychologist! 

Of course a University Degree gives you a broad orientation and a great start in your working life. A University Degree can still be a requirement to apply for certain jobs.

Whether you did a broad study with little matching jobs just like me or you graduated in a more specific field; the world after graduation comes with its challenges! 

how to find work in the netherlands after graduation
Me still excited about graduation 🙂

What is important to you?

Often people randomly apply to a lot of jobs without pausing and reflecting on what it actually is that they’re after.

In your job search: start with you. What do I mean by that? Instead of looking on the usual job search websites ask yourself: what do I want? Where do I want to work? What do I want to contribute? 

Give yourself some time to brainstorm about your ideal company. What does that look like? How many people work there? Are you allowed to work remote? What is the atmosphere like? How do you feel? 

Having this clear will also help you in your job interviews. If a recruiter asks you the unavoidable question ‘Why do you want to work here?’ you can give a genuine answer. 

How to overcome..

- Lack of experience

You have just graduated so you probably have little work experience. Nothing you can do about that! But there are many ways to present yourself in the best way possible to potential employers. Even with little experience. 

What value can you bring to a company? 

The people that will hire you want to know what you bring to the company. This is always more than you think! Look carefully at the job description and the profile of the company. Now ask yourself what experiences you have gained over the course of your life that can contribute to this. This is more than work experience only! Think about relevant course subjects during your studies, volunteer work, personal interests and hobbies, courses you followed etc. 

Transferable skills 

Maybe you had side jobs during your studies. They might not necessary 100% relate to the job you want to apply for, but I’m sure you learned many skills there that are valuable! Let’s say you worked in a restaurant. Here you learn how to deal with stressful situations and to work with customers. 


Don’t underestimate the importance of motivation! You’d be surprised how many people I interviewed that couldn’t answer questions such as ‘What do you know about the company?‘ or ‘Why do you want to work here?‘ Researching the company goes a long way! Again, focus here on the value you can bring to a company and link this to their mission. Having a resume tailored to the position you’re applying for also shows your motivation and interest for the position. 

- The mismatch between degrees and jobs

You loved your studies, but unfortunately there is very little work in your field. Or the field you want to work in can be highly competitive. 

I would always first focus on your ideal company and job. This can also be done through networking and sending open applications. Most jobs are not even advertised online! 

Here are some things you can consider if you’re still experiencing difficulties with finding work after graduation: 

High demand jobs that don’t require a specific background

Every company needs people in sales. Software companies often have vacancies for SDR’s (sales development representatives) or BDR’s (business development representatives). Motivation and a passion for sales and working with customers is important, but no specific studies or background. Bonus: these jobs pay quite well. Often you will receive a base salary and a bonus based on your performance. 


One of the most in demand fields in The Netherlands is IT. There are more job openings in IT than people graduating. Therefore you can often find traineeships and programmes where you learn how to code and work at the same time. In these programmes you find people from many different backgrounds looking for a career change. You can also find these programmes in digital marketing

Work with a career coach 

Sometimes all you need is someone next to you asking the right questions. Pointing you in the right direction. Someone who has been there and has hired for the positions that you are applying for. A little self promotion here 🙂 Wondering what it’s like to work with me? You can book a free career coaching session here

Working in The Netherlands after graduation

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