Getting started

When looking for a starting point for your career, a lot of questions may arise. Where should you start? What should you search for? In which kind of organisation or institution will you fit in? What kind of job suits you best? What capabilities do you have? What distinguishes you as an international student from other graduates? And what does the labour market have to offer you?

Not knowing where to start in answering all these questions may feel overwhelming and also confusing. Let this website be a starting point in helping you take control of your job search and let the Career Advisers of the Student Careers Centre help you in reaching your goals.

As you consider life after graduation, it is important to understand yourself, to explore career options, to get valuable information and to gain experience so that you will be able to make informed, appropriate choices. This is an ongoing process and the Student Careers Centre is there to provide assistance.

1. Learn about yourself

The starting point of any career-related search is you. What are your interests, your skills, your values and your personality traits? Finding out what you want and what kind of position suits you best is essential in two ways: it helps you find direction in the labour market and it helps you market yourself effectively. Only if you know what you are looking for and what your strengths are, can you convince others that your are qualified for the position.

2. Research and explore the labour market

You can only determine your goals if you know what possibilities are out there. By researching labour market, you will gain a better understanding of your options. You should also take a look at the situation concerning working in the Netherlands or abroad. After examining several options, it will be easier to make a well-considered choice concerning where to apply and at which organisation to start your career.

3. Prepare an effective application

Once you have determined in what area, job or company you would like to work, it is time to convince the organisation that you are a good match for their needs. This step is about marketing and presenting yourself, personally as well as on paper and digitally. See ‘Career Tools' below for preparing an effective application.

These three stages are interdependent: you cannot find what is most suitable if the available options haven't been explored and examined. And during the applications process, you'll learn more about specific industries, jobs and organisations. All these experiences will help you find out what kind of job suits you best.

Job application tips

UvA Job board displays the current range of internships and graduate jobs offered by employers who are actively searching for talented students. In addition to the vacancies in UvA Job board, there are more jobs available, which can often be found in other ways. We will give you several tips. 

  1. The job market is like an iceberg: only 20% of the vacancies are published and visible on the internet, in newspapers and journals, and in a job database like this. The remaining 80% of all available jobs is invisible in the first instance and the positions are filled in a different way. A job vacancy is often only placed when all other ways of finding new employees have already been tried. The importance of networking - in addition to reacting to vacancies - is therefore great.
  2. Prior to responding to a vacancy, it is effective to familiarise yourself with regard to what you’re looking for in work, what you have to offer and the possibilities.  
  3. The job vacancies in the job database are also a useful aid for familiarising yourself with the job market and mapping out which positions would suit you.
  4. Prior to writing a cover letter and CV, we recommend conducting a job vacancy analysis.
  5. Are you enthusiastic about a job vacancy, but discouraged by the requirements expected of candidates? You should realise that the ideal candidate is described in many job vacancy texts and that there is always room to present your own story in an interview or in a cover letter.

Published by  Studenten Services

14 January 2016