Country of origin: Iraq
Educational background: MSc in Infectious diseases, MSc in Molecular Biology and Bachelor in Veterinary Medicine Years of professional experience: 18
Last job title: Senior Researcher / Assistant of Head of Health Department
Job search length: 13 months
Current job title: Lab Technician – molecular biology tests
Currently: job within molecular diagnostics

Hadeel started her new job as Lab Technician. Filling the gaps on her CV and a profound wish to work were some of the drivers behind her decision to join the team. In addition, the job is much in line with her former experience and field of expertise, allowing her not to lose touch with her capabilities:

“After going from unemployed to employed I feel alive again! Even working for free would be better than staying at home and losing touch with my professional field.” 

She also adds that she feels “very happy” being part of an organisation, in which she works in a team that is diverse in terms of both age and profile. Exactly this openness towards diversity is something that further convinced Hadeel that she wanted to join the team.

Challenges and strengths in the search process

Hadeel has tried multiple times to apply in both Flanders and Wallonia. She was often told that her lack of Dutch or French was the main reason for an employer not to select her. In fact, this comment was also given to her when she initially applied for the organisation where she is currently working. This time, however, her skills, confidence and persuasion made them think twice and see beyond the language issue.

Guide to getting a job interview in Belgium

She experienced it as a clear strength that she obtained experience working for the European Commission being in a high-level lab environment. Moreover, she mentions her ambition as her biggest strength both in and outside the search process.

Cultural differences on the work floor

When asking Hadeel about her experiences of cultural differences on the work floor, she initiated her answer saying:

“Human nature is the same everywhere – there is competition in both Iraq and Belgium.”

With that being said, she mentioned freedom as a cultural difference she truly treasures here in Belgium. She always feels that she is treated with respect. Apart from these personal differences that she points out, she also turned our attention to the more technical implications of having kick-started her career in Belgium:

“In Belgium, I find that there are more rules, more computer systems to navigate and in general much more advanced systems than the ones I am used to from Iraq.”

Diversity as an asset

As previously mentioned, Hadeel enjoys working in a very diverse team. It is safe to say that diversity is viewed as an asset by her. When asking her what a diverse team brings to the table that a homogeneous team does not, she says:

“Every person has his or her own way of thinking especially coming from different places, and it is very valuable that we can learn new perspectives from each other.”

Finally Hadeel shares three tips and tricks with us for getting a job in Belgium:

1.“Learn the language(s)! This was the main feedback why I was not selected. Language is very important here.”

2.“Customize your CV for every job you apply for. This shows interest in the specific company.”

3.“Make sure to adapt your CV to the Belgian market.”

Read stories of international and multicultural talent that found a job in Belgium and learn from their tips and tricks:

How Fang Yin found a job in Belgium after love brought her here

Artyom shares his tips and tricks on finding a job in Belgium

The story of Jerry and Vlerick Business School

The story of Matheus and Accenture

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