Job applications during Corona

Are you looking for a (side)job, but are you discouraged by all the vacancies that are now disappearing into thin air? It is very understandable that you might be stressed out just thinking about applying for a job. You are not alone in this. We at Career Service speak to many students who are looking for help to get started in this changing job market. We will give you some tips on how to prepare yourself to make the transfer to the job market in these uncertain times. Underneath you'll find a hand-out with general advice, and you we also listed the frequently asked questions including answers in the Q&A.

Q&A: find an answer to your question

Q: will the job market be better or worse because of COVID for new graduates? 
Q: what are the chances to do an internship in time of corona?
Q: will it become harder to find a PhD-position?
Q: I don't have any work experience yet. How can gain this during Corona?
Q: how do I prepare for an online job interview? 
Q: how do I negotiate the terms of employment?
Q: any advice for finding a job or internship as an international student?
Q: my question is not (yet) in this list...

Q: will the job market be better or worse because of COVID for new graduates?

A: In the corona crisis a number of things have become more clear:
- the importance of working online and digital offerings
- being able to collaborate remotely
- ability to switch and adapt quickly and easily to new situation
Often graduates quickly master this, which thus increases their chances on the job market. Show you own these qualities through good online conversational skills and strong personal branding online (social media). 

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Q: what are the chances to do an internship in times of corona?

A: There are 4 patterns to distinguish according to internship- and jobmarket chances in corona times, which depend on your branche:

1. a decrease of vacancies when corona started, an increase in vacancies from April onwards in certain branches and positions, but not so many as before corona (this might be related to a possible economic crisis ahead) 
2. decrease of vacancies when corona started, big increase right now because more people are needed (healthcare, digital world, social distancing tools, online education)
3. no effect of corona, same amount of vacancies (some IT positions)
4. decrease which is still further decreasing in branches where social contact or traveling is important (network fairs, event industry, horeca, sport, music industry, cultural and entertainment sector)

To find an internship right now: 
- be flexible and look for opportunities
- adjust to fields where chances are higher
- explore what is possible online or remotely
- explore how the support of the organisation would look like
- check if the requirements of your study programme have changed
- talk to the internship coordinator of your study programme or faculty

Good to know: there are signals that the job market will pick up again. At Career Service too, we have recently seen slightly more vacancies in all sectors, so do not lose heart!

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Q: will it become harder to find a PhD-position?

A: PhD positions often arise after a scientist obtains a scholarship / grant (eg VENI, VIDI, VICI grant). If a scientist has money for a new research project, (s)he can hire new staff, including PhDs. On the websites of grant providers such as NOW, you can see that the grants have been delayed a bit because of the selection interviews took place later due to Corona. The PhD poistions will therefore be created, but perhaps a little later. Get in touch with researchers whose research interests you and ask about their options or tips for doing a PhD. And do they know other colleagues in the field who will offer a PhD position (at other universities perhaps)?

Furthermore it’s good to know that universities are not yet faced with cutbacks and there are ‘normal’ PhD-positions available. Now that the government is investing so much money into society to overcome the Corona virus, it may be that in time the government will have to tighten its belt and there will be shortenings in all areas (including universities and grants).

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Q: I don't have any work experience yet. How can I gain this, during Corona?

A: often students aren’t aware of their valuable experiences and underestimate them, such as experiences in internships, voluntary work, informal care you gave (for instance to family/friends), activities you've organized in your study association, helping at your sportsclub, supporting elderly or children, teaching…

Of course, you can still gain experience:

  • Voluntary work during Corona crisis: supporting elderly, helping children learning English/your native language or music lessons etc.
  • Some organisations facilitate online courses or events, like webinars, hackathons, virtual inhouse days or virtual coffee.
  • Attend people around you (family, friends, roommates, study mates, acquaintances, teachers, LinkedIn-connections) know what you would like to do: what are your interests, what would you like to learn? That way, everyone will be alert and helping you in finding opportunities.
  • And maybe you can just start doing what you love doing! For example by write a blog, make a YouTube-video, infographic, podcast, (online) training, webinar... Show what you've learned in a way that suits you. This way you can enthuse and inspire like-minded people, and who knows, something beautiful could come out of that in the future! Just do it :-)

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Q: how do I prepare an online job interview?

A: we've made a handy hand-out for this! Check it out. (pdf, 606 kB)

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Q: do you have any salary-related tips? What can you expect and ask when having negotiations?

A: terms of employment include more than just salary. I.e.: what are your preferences regarding travel expenses, holidays, retirement scheme, training, etc.? To prepare the negotiations: explore what is normal in a particular sector, country, position, and/or career level. Check websites such as and talk to people you know with a similar job. Compare yourself and their knowledge, skills and experience, to get to a good job offer. Lees ook de handout hierover. (pdf, 1,4 MB)

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Q: any advice for finding a job or internship as an international student?

Find out which company's/organizations use English as main language. You could check the website I am Expat, or Careers in Holland, Together Abroad, Undutchables, HoiTalent, Unique, Xpat jobs, Expatica, Adams Recruitment, Blue Lynx, College life.

Also, you’ll have increased chances of finding something in the Netherlands if you show employers you want to learn Dutch – although the main languages of your internship may be English. Think of online Language Exchange Meetings (AvaLingua Exchange), Duolingo, course at Radboud In’to languages.

Do you have another question? Contact us!

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