If you want to work in the Netherlands, the second important step after writing your Dutch CV is writing a substantial cover letter. In the Dutch work environment, a cover letter is very often more significant than the CV, however, bear in mind that it is not advised to use a colorful language as Dutch employers prefer it simple and straightforward.
Style and format
Compared to the enthusiastic American pattern where candidates put emphasis on extravagant descriptions of themselves, the style of a Dutch cover letter is easy and honest, without any abstract details that could confuse the employer. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show your enthusiasm for the position, but you must definitely not overdo it.
In terms of format, a Dutch cover letter follows the layout of a formal business letter, and it is typed on an A4 page format unless you are asked to send in a handwritten version. Regardless of the language you apply in, whether it’s English or Dutch, this is a very good tool for translating and adjusting formal addressing in business letters.
Once you have the basics settled you can start writing the actual content where you will have to link skills and qualifications to specific requirements found in the job description.
Smartly written content
In the first paragraph of your cover letter state the position you apply for and mention where have you found the job ad. Add a sentence showing your interest for the position by giving accurate arguments.
For example, “I am very enthusiastic to work at your company because I think it’s a great place to develop my skills” is a statement that sounds rather elusive than directly to the point. Instead, by writing “I am interested in working at your company because I feel that my skills in this and this are a great asset in reaching [insert the goals here] and fulfilling [insert the responsibilities here] proposed in the job description” will show the employer that you are both prepared and ready to accept the responsibilities/challenges. In addition, it will be easier for you to develop a good structure for the next two paragraphs. If you need a more general intro on how to phrase your cover letter, check out our guide.
Use the second and third paragraph to highlight the skills mentioned in the introductory part. The best way to do it is by giving examples from your education, work experience or extracurricular activities. It should be fairly obvious what makes you the right candidate for the job, if not, you better reconsider the application as in the Dutch work environment a colorful, generic cover letter won’t take you anywhere.
Express your interest for an interview in the closing paragraph by stating that you look forward to meeting them.
Once you finished it’s time to begin your job hunt and impress employers by sending your CV together with the cover letter.