Working in NL

Apply for a job

How do you apply for a job?

Information about the whole job application procedure in the Netherlands


Like all countries, the Netherlands has its own written and unwritten rules for a successful job application. The information in this section will help you to understand the Dutch way of dealing with items such as the application letter, the CV and the job interview.


Job application

There are many job opportunities for both Dutch people and foreigners. The following information is intended to give you an idea of where to start looking for the information you need in your jobsearch. As a foreigner you should realise that a job search in Holland might be different from what you`re accustomed to in your country. There are many things to consider before applying for a position. You have to find your way around. In other words, where to seek for job offers in our country?


Job application tools and selection procedures need specific attention. Information and tips on matters like: How to write an application letter, How to make a CV, and what to expect in a job interview are relevant for a successful job search.


Depending on the kind of work you are searching for, the ways of application can vary. For an unskilled job as factory worker or agricultural help, many employers like a personal visit or a telephone call. Of course this may be a problem if you are still in your own country, then a written application is better. All skilled jobs require an application in writing, a short letter of motivation always accompanied by a C.V.


Qualifications and diploma validation

If you apply for a job you may have to proof your qualifications and work experience and an assessment of your diplomas.

Application letter


Your application can be sent in English. Application letters should be typed. Handwritten letters are no longer very common. Preferably you write a one page letter; A4 format. The style is short, direct and professional. Commonly a letter begins with your reason for applying. The middle part explains why you are the right candidate for the job and what attracts you in the company. In ending the letter, it is common to say that you would like to be invited for an interview. Research from the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs has shown that a candidate's motivation is one of the main selection criteria for offering a job. Keep this in mind when writing your application letter.


In general Dutch companies respond quickly. If you have to wait for more than 14 days, phone them to make sure your letter has not been misplaced.


Curriculum vitae


A Dutch Curriculum Vitae (CV) is made in a direct factual style. The order is chronological. Use one or two pages (A4 format). Remember that a Dutch CV only states facts and figures. Your motivation and qualities for the job have to be mentioned in your application letter.


In your CV, you should mention the following points (in this order): 

  • Personal details.
  • Education (including courses, no results are given).
  • Work experiences (including exact dates).
  • Leisure activities.


Points 2 and 3 are often given in chronological order, starting with your last job. Dutch recruitment officers value leisure activities and civic responsibilities very much. These should therefore be mentioned in your CV. Make them look as relevant as possible for the job (e.g. team sports indicates team spirit). It is advisable to adapt your CV to different job applications.


Instead of a CV, writing a resume is becoming increasingly more popular in The Netherlands. Commonly used by people with substantial working experience and in case of speculative applications with recruitment agencies. It is less structured and briefer than a CV. It is also more subjective. The presentation of your achievements, goals in life and career plans are optional . You can choose a historical, analytical, chronological, functional or creative form. A job description is an important feature. Many resumes start of with explaining the type of job desired. Followed by a chronological resume, describing the most recent job activities first. Dates are only mentioned if appropriate. Emphasis particularly put on qualities and experience.


In the Netherlands it is not necessary to include copies of diplomas, employer testimonials or other official documents. They may be required and verified at a later stage of the application process.