How to develop a network from scratch in a new country?

A new country, with new customs, a new language, a new culture and new people can be a daunting experience in the best of times.

How do you meet people in a country in lockdown when you have no network?

Maybe, until recently you had a job in The Netherlands, and you are now looking for new employment. Or maybe you moved to The Netherlands for your spouse’s career and you are in search of a position for yourself. A network of helpful people can make a great difference in your quest for suitable employment, for a position in which you can flourish. 

How do you develop a network from scratch? Below you will find a number of steps that you can take towards building your network.

  • First of all relax… get enough sleep, explore your new surroundings and enjoy the process. Be aware of the fact that it takes at least a year to settle into a new environment, so no need to rush. Learning the language usually makes a big difference in how fast you start to feel at home. Regina Coeli, better known as “the nuns in Vught” offer crash language courses, no matter which language you want to learn. There are also a lot of on-line language courses available (explore the internet) and most universities offer language training that are worth looking into.
  • Brush up on your Zoom, Teams and internet skills. Due to corona companies are doing a lot of on-line hiring. Get your LinkedIn profile into shape. The first thing people do when they hear your name is look you up on LinkedIn.
  • Chat with people you meet at your childrens’ school, neighbours and while out shopping.
  • Think of leisure activities that you enjoyed in your home country and find out where you can do these in The Netherlands.
  • Are there any activities that you have always wanted to do? This is the time to try out these new activities and be inspired. Always a great way to meet likeminded people.
  • Explore which professional gatherings and networks are available in The Netherlands. I will list a few that are ideal starting points for your settling in process:
  • The Expat Center is a one stop shop to get all your employment paperwork sorted out.
  • There are now Expat Centers in The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.
  • Access is a great place to meet people as they offer volunteer opportunities and excellent resources, courses and get togethers to meet new people. They also have a big network of therapists ready to support individuals that speak other languages when they are struggling with psychological issues.
  • Internations is a great network organisation that regularly organises get togethers both live and virtually where you can hook up with likeminded individuals around different activities.
  • The International Women’s Network or the Harvard alumni network are just a few professional networks that you can link up with in your search for a network in the Netherlands.
  • If you need help to figure out which direction your career should take, know The Netherlands have the highest density of career coaches in the world. So contact a career coach, who not only will help you think through different options to make the most of your diverse talents once you have identified what they are. Most career coaches can point you in the right direction and probably introduce you to people in the know who can help you along your way. Noloc also has a register of certified coaches that you could look into.

Of course we understand that a sparring partner to point you in the right direction can be helpful in this process. If you would like to find out more about how our career professionals can be of assistance to you, please contact us for an appointment.

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