Applications in the Netherlands

Applications in the Netherlands

Have you found an interesting vacancy? Or a company or organisation you would like to work for? Then it’s time to apply. But how do you apply effectively in the Netherlands? provides a few tips.

What language should you choose for your cover letter and curriculum vitae?

Write your curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter in the language requested in the vacancy. If a preferred language is not indicated, it is your best bet to write it in the same language as the vacancy. In the Netherlands, this is usually Dutch. It is important that you have your letter and CV checked by someone who can write correct Dutch. If there are any (spelling) errors in your application, it may well end up going straight into the bin.

Are you unable to write your CV and letter in Dutch? In the Netherlands, many people speak English reasonably well. Employers will probably understand if you send your CV and letter in English. If the vacancy states that particular language skills are required, you could also respond in these languages.

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Cover letter

Your cover letter should be:

  • typed on a computer;

  • no more than one A4 sheet;

  • short and professional.

In your letter, make sure you address the following questions:

  • Where did you find the vacancy?

  • Why would you like this particular job?

  • Who are you and what makes you suitable for this job?

  • What can you offer the company or organisation?

At the end, you should indicate that you would like to be invited for an interview in order to elaborate on your application in person.

You do not need to send copies of qualifications, references, personal testimonials and scores/marks with your application.

Most Dutch companies will let you know that they have received your letter within a week. After the closing date of the vacancy, a number of candidates will be invited to attend an interview. If you have not heard anything for two weeks, you may want to contact the employer to make sure they received your application.

You can see further examples of Dutch cover letters on

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Curriculum Vitae

Include your personal details, education, work experience and particular skills in your curriculum vitae (CV). Your CV should be:

  • typed on a computer. With a handwritten CV you will make an old fashioned impression;

  • no more than one A4 sheet;

  • short and professional.

Set out the following details in your CV:

Personal details

Provide your personal details at the top of your CV:

  • first name and surname;

  • address; telephone number;

  • e-mail address;

  • date of birth.


Describe in a few sentences who you are, what your competences are and what you are interested in jobwise.

Work experience

List all your jobs and work experience, in reverse chronological order.

  • the name of your job;

  • the company name and location;

  • when you worked there;

  • description of your position.


Set out all your education, training and courses, in reverse chronological order.

  • the name of the course;

  • the name of the school or educational establishment;

  • the location;

  • when you completed the course;

  • your specialisation and/or major;

  • the qualification you obtained.

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities are activities that you take part in alongside work. They enable you to acquire extra experience and knowledge. Is this extra knowledge and experience relevant to the job? Then include these extracurricular activities in your CV. Examples:

  • You are a board member;

  • You do voluntary work;

  • You coach a sports team.

Skills and competences

Do you have any additional skills that could be useful for the job? Then indicate these under the heading 'Skills and competences'. This may include:

  • languages that you speak and/or write and at what level;

  • computer programmes you have used (e.g. Office, Photoshop);

  • machinery that you have worked with (e.g. fork-lift trucks, printing presses).

Interests and hobbies

Listing your interests and hobbies is not absolutely necessary, but it will provide the employer with a more rounded picture of you.

You can find further examples of Dutch CVs on

Europass CV

It is useful to set your CV out as a Europass CV. The Europass CV is understood in every European country. A Europass CV pays particular attention to your skills and competences. You can create a Europass CV on

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Qualifications and international credential evaluation

Have you obtained a qualification in your own or another country? Then it is important to determine the value of this qualification. This means you can easily compare it to Dutch qualifications.

In the Netherlands, there are a couple of organisations that can evaluate your qualification:

  • Qualification evaluation centre IcDW:;   

  • Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for the internationalisation of higher education:;

  • SBB, (Stichting Samenwerking Beroepsonderwijs Beroepsleven):

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During the interview, the employer will try to find out 3 things:

  1. Why do you want to come and work for this company?

  2. Why would you like this particular job?

  3. Why are you the ideal candidate for this job?

Make sure you have done your research about the company. You can find information for example on the company website. During the interview, make sure you are motivated and show enthusiasm and self-confidence. Bring copies of your CV, qualifications, references, personal testimonials and any other important documents.

It is also important that you ask questions during the interview. This way you can show the employer that you have come prepared. It also demonstrates the fact that you are enterprising and are interested in the company to which you have applied. Asking questions turns the interview into a more two-sided discussion.

You can find further information about applications in the brochure ‘ You will hear from us’.

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Types of employment

What will be your employment status when you work in the Netherlands? Will you be self-employed or in paid employment? It is important to know that the Netherlands has various types of employment and employment contracts. Each contract gives parties different rights and obligations, for example with respect to the trial period and the notice period. Even street artists in the Netherlands have certain obligations, for example paying taxes and applying for licences for their performances. Types of employment (pdf, 60 kB).

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Be prepared to say in a few sentences why an employer should contract you. Here are two examples: