Diva Estanto VLK

You might be wondering: How can I land a job in finance as a non-native speaker in the Netherlands? Where are there the most opportunities and how do I increase my chances of landing a job? Diva Estanto is here to help, with her top tips on how to land your job in finance as an international living in the Netherlands! 

Meet Diva Estanto, Campus Recruiter at Van Lanschot Kempen

Diva is originally from Indonesia. She came to the Netherlands four years ago for her studies in International Law. After she graduated, she started a job in Communications. But she eventually decided that recruitment is the job for her, especially after gaining some recruitment skills in her board year while she was still a student. She is now working at Van Lanschot Kempen as a Campus Recruiter for the Investment Banking department, a very dynamic role that she really enjoys! 

Diva focuses on recruiting students for starter roles and internships in investment banking. However, “at Van Lanschot Kempen, we prefer hiring our starters from our intern pool. We aim to retain our talents so there’s no loss of knowledge.

“Women tend to apply less to positions compared to men; if we feel that we are not a perfect fit for the job, we don’t apply – especially in the financial sector. It’s such a male-dominated industry, that women think they should not even bother applying because they are not going to get it anyway”.

Why Corporate Finance is your best shot.

As you are exploring opportunities, it’s good to be aware of the job market and its requirements. The reality is this: certain opportunities in the financial sector require proficiency in the local language. For example, most of the Private Equity firms in the Netherlands work with local entrepreneurs that prefer to conduct their business in Dutch. For this reason, working in Private Equity in the Netherlands without being fluent in Dutch is very difficult. 

In the Corporate Finance sector, however, the opportunities are plenty! From banks to boutiques, plenty of companies in Corporate Finance hire non-Dutch people, since there is no necessity for Dutch language proficiency.

Just apply, apply, apply…

The one advice that Diva gives is this: never give up. Easier said than done. But “it’s worth it! I know it’s hard – my job search was difficult, because a lot of companies instantly reject you if you are not European or if you don’t speak Dutch. But at some point, there will be one company that will notice you are hard-working and will believe in the value of your strengths. It happened to me.”

At the same time, Diva emphasised that change needs to come from the companies as well. Oftentimes, the quality of international and Dutch applicants is exactly the same. However, there are still a lot of companies out there that prefer hiring someone from the Netherlands instead of an international with the same qualifications. 

As international students, we are hard working because we have to go through a lot more hurdles than Dutch students to land our job. And at some point, a company will notice that about you as well. When I was interviewing with Van Lanschot Kempen, they did not even bring up the fact that I am international and that I don’t speak Dutch.“.

Look for the right company for you:

A recruiter’s top tips:

Here are Diva’s most valuable tips that can help you land your job in finance.

  • Have clear motivation and drive

    Show your motivation and interest for the job throughout the entire application process. Be proactive, show how your skills are a good fit, as this is especially important as an international in the Netherlands. 

    “I am looking for motivation and skills. Certain technical skills you can train. But a person needs to have motivation and drive even before they apply – and we can clearly see that.”

  • Stand out through your cover letter. 

    As an international (student) especially, your cover letter is the perfect tool to showcase your unique skills and traits, sparking the interest of the recruiter.

    “It’s very important to know the company and to know why you want to apply. In your cover letter, show us something we can’t see in your CV – knowledge of the company and knowledge of the role.”

  • Express your wish to stay in the Netherlands. 

    In your interview, make sure you mention your long-term plan to stay in the Netherlands.

    “A lot of companies value employee retention so they want to see why you are here and why you want to stay. That’s also part of the reason why some companies are reluctant to hire internationals. If you are clear about why you want to stay, it’s a very good point to mention.”

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