How do I enter the Dutch UX job market

Hey! This is one of my mentoring guides; short reflections on my experience in the UX industry. I'm unable to take on all mentoring requests I receive, but I hope this guide may help you take a next step.

I’m a Dutch native and have held employment with Dutch companies from the moment I was allowed to work. While I do I have 17 years of experience in the Dutch UX market, there may be mentors better suited to help you navigate your leap to the Netherlands.

When speaking about this with mentees, I always find myself coming back to the following:

  • The process of finding a job is always related to where you are in your career journey. This is true regardless of whether you’re applying in your current country or in the Netherlands. Many of the mentees I speak with want to make a career transition and an environment change at the same time. While it’s certainly possible, it’s a big challenge that may make you feel more stressed and insecure than you need to be.
  • If you’re into research, beware of your language capabilities. Most people moving to the Netherlands, naturally, don’t speak Dutch. The Netherlands is really quite accommodating for non-Dutch speakers. Though, if you’re applying to a company with a Dutch-speaking target audience, chances are you won’t be considered for a position involving research. Even if the audience speaks English well enough to hold a conversation, doing research in users' mother tongue is much more effective, and companies know this.
  • The IT industry is not having the best moment. You’ve likely heard of the many lay-offs, and the Netherlands is sadly no exception. That being said, the country is rich with companies and agencies of all shapes and sizes that (know they) need UX practitioners to facilitate better business. Whether you want to work in downtown Amsterdam at Miro, or at a small boutique working on quirky projects, there’s something there for most preferences.
  • Find a local crowd. To get familiar with what’s happening in the Netherlands in the UX landscape, find a few Dutch UX meetups with events that you can attend remotely. There’s lunch gatherings, panel discussions, and other types of events. Make a few connections there, ask those people how their UX journeys have unfolded in the country. Many of these people will be expats themselves, and they’ll be able to tell you more about their adventures.
  • Speak with recruiters. Where there’s tech, there’s recruiters. Browse LinkedIn for Amsterdam-based recruiters and have coffee chats with them. That way, you can see what kind of jobs are out there, and what rhetoric various companies use to describe their UX jobs.

Thank you for reading! I'm curious to hear your thoughts, so feel free to say hello.