Seeking employment in a foreign country can appear daunting and even terrifying, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
So you’ve arrived in Belgium?
Welcome! The school, the house, the car, the dog are all sorted, and now it’s time for you. Maybe you have taken a career / family break and would like to return to work. Many international companies have their headquarters in Brussels, which means that there is no lack of employment opportunities on the Belgian international labor market.
Where do I start?
The question is, how do you secure one of these opportunities? The first thing you must ask is: “Am I eligible to work in Belgium?” Non-Europeans may have work restrictions due to their partner’s contract terms, which means they may not be able to work. You will have to ensure that all the relevant documentation is in order as you will have to produce it in an interview.
How do I find out about vacancies and how do I apply?
Most vacancies are now posted on a variety of sites on-line, either through a recruitment agency or on a company’s career website. For expats, there are many other on-line sources, and most will ask you to send in your CV electronically.
Your CV: Short and sweet
Your CV should be no more than two pages long. It is a resumé, so keep it concise and to the point. Visit the career section for some pointers.
List your work and educational experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. State your achievements and leave out irrelevant details – you can always expand on these during your interview. There is no need for elaborate lay-outs, coloured fonts or photographs, unless asked for. Most importantly, do not lie to impress. A short, tailor-made letter of motivation, spelling the contact person’s name correctly, and stating the position you are applying for is preferred.
The most important element to mention is your level of language and IT skills, i.e. mother tongue, fluent, intermediate or basic. Do not exaggerate as they will be tested either via a telephone interview and/or face-to-face interview.
At the same time, do not be dissuaded if an advert asks for English and French or Dutch. Determine the working language, which will be English in most international companies, then enquire politely why the job requires a local language. You may not have to be fluent, but it could be useful for conversing with colleagues or suppliers.
The recruitment process in Belgium can be lengthy. Patience is key! You can wait up to several weeks for a reply, but do not lose faith. Keep a record of the positions you have applied for and their job descriptions so you can easily locate the one that you are being interviewed for.
Good luck and happy job hunting!
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