Fang Yin shares her useful tips on finding your dream job in Belgium
Fang Yin is a Taiwanese designer and communication professional, who just signed her first Belgian full-time contract. She told us about how hard it can be to find a permanent job here, even for digital natives, and how she managed to get one.
Hi Fang Yin, we are glad you wanted to speak to us about your work experience in Belgium. You’re from Taiwan, but when did you come to Belgium?
I came to Belgium one and a half years ago. I married a Belgian, so actually it’s love that made me move here.
That sounds lovely. What did you study, and did you already have work experience when you came here?
In 2006 I completed my studies in visual communication and design in Taiwan. I worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for about 3 years, then I went to Australia to work and travel, mostly in the service industry. In 2010 I came back to Taiwan and resumed my work as graphic design freelancer. Until very recently I still worked for one of the design agencies, where we made designs for bike bags.
Did you actively look for jobs in Belgium, if you were still working as a freelancer for a Taiwanese company?
Yes of course, I was looking for a permanent job here for about a year. I continued working in half-time for the bag-designs, and the rest of the time I followed language courses and lessons at VDAB to refine my cv and motivation letters. I sent over 1000 job applications, because we had to do that in our cv training. But still, only a few opportunities came up.
What did you experience as most difficult during your job search in Belgium?
If you don’t speak Dutch fluently, it is definitely a disadvantage when looking for jobs in Flanders. Companies here do request a proficient level of Dutch, even for designers. That’s difficult. I was twice invited to a job interview, and they seemed to really like my work, but then they said that they rather look for someone with better language skills. Luckily I found a job in a company where the work language is English.
What kind of company you are working for now, and what do you do there?
Now I work as a quality assurance engineer in full time at software company. It’s a medium sized firm, and my working area is the development department, where I solve problems in the software interface and design icons. The company had a new client in China, so they looked for someone who speaks Mandarin. Then language was no longer an obstacle, but an advantage for getting the job.
Could you give 3 tips about applying for jobs in Belgium to other internationals?
Firstly, international job seekers should try to adapt, get advice from locals and to write as many applications as possible.
Then they should network and actively look for job opportunities. Only by looking and applying for jobs, they will get an opportunity to find work.
And I recommend taking classes in whatever people need to improve – language, writing, etc. Thereby they multiply your chances, and if they get many chances, they should grab them and make the best out of it.
Thank you Fang Yin! I think you gave us a lot of useful input. We keep our fingers crossed that you stay successful and keep enjoying your new work.
It’s my pleasure. Hopefully this helped some people. I wish them also lots of luck.
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