Alex came to Belgium as an Erasmus student, was a part of our Talentree talent pool and although he encountered some difficulties, he succeeded in finding a job! He was so kind to share his experiences with us and give some tips & tricks for other job hunters.
What brought you to Belgium and when did you come?
I came to Belgium in 2014 for 5 months as an Erasmus student. I chose KU Leuven as a destination due to the high reputation of the university. I also believe that adapting to completely new environment is the best way to discover yourself. Therefore rich culture, language variety and chance to meet many interesting people made Belgium a perfect destination for me. So far I had no regrets about that choice I made.
Did you already have work experience when you came here?
I had some experience from my internship in the exports department of a big cosmetics company based in Kiev. However, I did not have any full-time job prior to coming to Belgium.
How did your job search in Belgium go? How did you handle it?
Job search was complicated. I tried to get the most out of all the possibilities: recruitment events organised by the faculty of economics and business, LinkedIn network, job web-sites such as Stepstone and Indeed, recruitment agencies. Additionally I was constantly improving my CV and writing many different motivational letters both in Dutch and English. I think that the key to success is setting priorities, analysing the past experiences and remain positive.
A part of your job search was joining our Talentree talent pool, how did that go? Did it help you? If yes, in what way? If no, why not?
Joining the Talentree was a useful experience for me. Apart from analysing my CV and helping me to improve my interview strategy, I was also provided with very helpful insights about the Belgian job market. Additionally, I learned that a match with corporate culture is of the same importance as the match with actual job. Finally, thanks to Talentree, I was brought up in contact with Accenture and went through the whole recruitment procedure there. In my opinion it is crucial for young graduates to learn how to look for a job in a smart way and people at Talentree are perfectly capable to set you on a right track.
What did you experience as most difficult during your job search in Belgium?
For the foreign candidates on a Belgian job market there are complicated work permit procedures. Therefore, it is an extra effort for the company to take the candidate on board. In my experience, at least half of the companies refused me right away due to this factor. However, I am convinced that this is fair and a good way to protect the country’s own work force. With this thought in mind it was easier for me to cope with this extra difficulty.
What kind of company you are working for now, and what do you do there?
I will soon start working in a telecom company in a department of residential marketing. I will work with data in order to make marketing campaigns more efficient.
Could you give 3 tips about applying for jobs in Belgium to other internationals?
1. Learn Dutch or French to at least the level of being able to talk about why do you want to work in particular company. If you can, learn both.
2. Do not apply ‘just everywhere’. Concentrate on the options you really like and try to prepare everything as good as you can.
3. Do not lose motivation but also do not expect everything at once. Applying to jobs is some kind of art, it requires patience.
We hope that you learned something from Alex’ story and his tips and tricks. If you wish to know even more tips and tricks, we got you covered. Read about what Pau has to say about finding a job in Belgium.