Wittenborg Webinar Outlines Career Opportunities after Graduation to Prospective Students
A post-graduation webinar hosted by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has revealed that many prospective students are already thinking in-depth about their future careers before even starting their studies. Where do I start looking for a job? Is the labour market in the Netherlands any good? How will Wittenborg assist my job-search? These were some of the questions posed by prospective students during the webinar expertly facilitated by Yanti Setiawan, Wittenborg's Manager of Admissions & External Relations.
Setiawan was assisted by Wittenborg alumni Katya Sivkova and Witney Laizer. Sivkova is a marketing specialist at Jamf, who graduated in 2017 with a MSc in International Management, a programme jointly offered by Wittenborg and the University of Brighton in the UK. Laizer is an accounting officer at Alter Domus who graduated with a bachelor's degree in Financial Service Management and Economics Management earlier in 2020. Both managed to find employment in the Netherlands soon after graduation.
Setiawan explained that after graduation international students in the Netherlands are granted 12 months by the Dutch government to look for a job without being subject to minimum salary requirements, etc. "This is basically a gift from the government, called a 'zoekjaar' or orientation year. Graduates are also permitted to defer the orientation year for up to three years and go back to their own countries in the meantime."
Sivkova, who is Russian, said the fact that the Netherlands is an egalitarian country helped her job search. "In Russia it is unthinkable to just approach senior people, for instance, while in the Netherlands you are free to approach anybody and I find people here are quite willing to help. For me, sharing your knowledge or experience is the mark of a true leader."
She advised prospective students to be pro-active and network as much as possible, fine-tuning their profiles and CVs to the needs of the positions they apply for. "You can apply for 50 jobs a day and still not find one, because it's the quality of your application which counts, not the quantity you send out.
"When I arrived in the Netherlands, I already had two years of experience in the events industry. That was an advantage for me in terms of finding good internships, which eventually led to great job opportunities." Sivkova urged students not to be afraid of applying for positions they might be slightly under-experienced for. "One of the jobs I applied for required 5 years of experience in marketing and I had none, but I did have lots of events experience and in the end I got the job."
She also switched from events to marketing and said the key to that was focusing on marketing events. "The Dutch market is not so big, so all the people you meet might lead you to a good job opportunity."
Laizer got her current position by approaching a recruitment agency and said this is a career avenue which is very popular in the Netherlands. "You feel more protected as a first-time job applicant. They speak on your behalf and have lots of experience in negotiating salaries and choosing a company which suits your profile best."
According to her, the fact that she studied at an international institution like Wittenborg has really helped her career. "Companies want to know that you can get along with different colleagues for teamwork and often you will have people from different nationalities in the office." She also advised prospective students to use the opportunity in the Netherlands to learn the Dutch language. "Even basic Dutch will take you a long way and show that you are interested in interacting with your environment."
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press