When I started this challenge, on a monday really late in the evening, exactly on the 12th March, I didn’t have in mind what was I going to achieve by sharing my experience and asking for help on social media. I had, yes, the idea that social media could actually work for almost everything. I’m always using Facebook for the creation of events, and sharing information with a great network. That’s something that gives me lots of feedback.
But looking for a job, and being helped with that, it’s just something totally different.
So, that monday late in the evening I created this challenge as an event and placed it on my profile on Facebook, on a public mode. I must say that I’m really picky when it comes to letting people see stuff I write or post on my profile. This way it was a double challenge to expose myself, using myself as a sort of Guinea pig. What I’ve done is a real example of personal branding.
Immediately after I’ve got many messages and people commenting on the event (challenge). I was really amazed! Most of them were people I didn’t even know or met before. Some friends and contacts replied really fast, also giving me advice or tips. All ideas were welcome and I felt a bit overwhelmed. Social media really works!
I was happy with the result and really enthousiastic knowing that what I’ve had in my head was taken seriously and people do really wanted to help me.
However this great idea was, many things weren’t really clear for me, how was I going to use them all?. After a couple of days of getting messages from acquaintances and strangers I felt a bit under pressure.
Everybody was giving me their opinion and telling me what should I do. I must say I always been a really self-sufficient person, and asking for help is not something I do quite often. Although at this moment I can REALLY use all help possible!
The days passed by and I was still feeling under much stress due to personal reasons. I was also sick during that whole week. Even got somebody who wanted to interview me for a radio programme for work searchers, Werken.fm. That week I was having a bad coughing and a strong cold, it wasn’t the best moment to show myself!
My thoughts went on how was I going to deal with so much information and to keep track of everything what at the same time was happening in my life. Also really important for me was to keep all these helping people informed about what I was actually doing with their information. Just by throwing a challenge it was not enough. At the same time, much of this information I’ve received wasn’t always suitable for my situation. I’ve got lots of encouraging messages, even from people who were in a similar situation as me. That made me think this information was really valuable.
This is the main reason why I created this blog. The only way to show all you helping souls that I’m doing my best to follow your advice. That I do care for your support and that I feel really grateful!
Going back to my challenge. So, I’ve got all this information, but not every single tip I’ve got was applying to my situation. As I explained before, I’m having this unemployment insurance up to 13 May. I did try to write a business plan to start for myself, but the main problem was the fact that I can’t start with something until I know for sure I will have enough money every month to pay all my bills (like my health insurance, for example). And, also important, taking the big step of starting for myself means I’m not allowed to receive this unemployment insurance anymore. So, as a matter of fact, it’s not really smart to give up something I won’t have sooner or later. This means I just can’t start for myself, not even as a freelancer. In the Netherlands you need to first write yourself by the Chamber of Commerce in order to get this registration number that enables you to work as a freelancer or zzper.
I do see myself in the future doing this, once I have an amount of money that allows me to pay all my bills. This is first and most important at this very moment.
You see, a challenge is not a challenge just because I thought I was giving it a nice name. It is indeed a challenge for me to expose myself on social media, to ask for help from strangers and friends, to write in English for more people to understand what all this is about in order for people to get to know me better. And then easier to think about a possible job suitable for me.
So, after explaining all this, I want to give feedback to you, sharing all your tips and ideas. Not only to show you I’m currently doing something about it, also because I know that all this valuable information can be of great help to other people who are also looking for a job or a good opportunity. You can also make profit of this challenge.
Some good advice and links I want to share with all of you
The first messages I’ve got after placing my challenge were mainly tips or ideas about how could I search for further information. Since I’m unemployed, already for almost a year, I did everything I thought it was possible to find me a new job. It’s not that I was sitting cozy in my chair andto myself: ‘ Hey you, find me a job! No, nothing like that at all.
I’ve also participated to many career fairs (Expatica Fair ‘I’m not a tourist’, Bilingual Fair, Career events in other cities, etc.). Wrote myself in every single work agency I can think it exists, from Undutchables to Adam’s recruitment. I think I know them almost all of them, Culturele Vacatures, Blue Lynx, etc. And of course Monsterboard, Nationale Vacaturebank, Jobbird, Jobrapido, Jobthis and jobthat. I’ve created an account in each of them, and still receive daily job offers alerts from Indeed, Trovit and other job search engines.
I can even name a lot more that not everybody think about, since I’m really good in searching for information and we will always have Google to look for word terms if we happen to run out of ideas. If you happen to know other ones that these I named, don’t hesitate to share them with me on my event link on Facebook, I will be collecting all them in a different post soon.
My main goal was to reach all the information people can know from their own network. Maybe you know of a company looking for a new employee, or a particular person in your network who can really use some extra help with his/her business. That’s the sort information I’m longing for. Almost all this information isn’t published on job search engines. And it’s a fact that in the Netherlands more than 80% of this valuable information stays within people’s network circles.
So long so good, I’ve got some nice tips to share with you all. Many said to check by Booking.com, a world based online company that books online different sort accomodations. I’ve already heard about them, and even visited them in one of this Bilingual Fairs. Problem was that they were looking for bilingual or trilingual people with more languages that what I actually speak and write. As I said before, I speak and write Spanish, English and Dutch. No French, no Italian, no German. I understand Catalan but I don’t speak it or write it. Pity indeed, after living and working in Barcelona for almost 3 years. And I’ve had four high school years of French but never really spoke it. Although I do understand it when reading it, since it’s quite similar to Spanish in some way.
Since I live in Holland I’ve only focused myseld into learning Dutch. I hear often that I speak it really good, but I’m aware that I have an accent. For many companies that’s not quite enough when they need people talking on the phone. It always depends on the company of course. I worked during 8 months in an American company based here in Lelystad (Prometric), which works worldwide with Microsoft and Toefl exams bookings and schedules and I never had any issue about my mastery of the Dutch and English languages. That’s way back in time, around 2008, I speak ten times better now after all these years.
Following this advice I’ve checked recently all the job vacancies on Booking.com. They’re based in Amsterdam. They have plenty of job offers. But none of them is for part-time work.
I’ve checked them one by one. And here is the link where you can check them yourself.
Then somebody also mentioned TomTom, one of the world’s leading provider of in-car location and navigation products and services focused on providing all drivers with the world’s best navigation experience. Headquartered in Amsterdam. They have lots of job offers, mainly in English and Dutch languages. But, again, none of them are for parttimers. And some job offers are internships, great for students but not for working mothers.
For freelancers I also got a lot of tips. Here are some:
Elance is the largest and most popular freelance platform for businesses looking to hire and work with top freelancers.
Proz offers the largest directory of professional translation services.With over 300,000 professional translators and translation companies — and no fees or commissions for clients.
JO Cadeau is the most personal gift website in the Netherlands. JO Cadeau (Gift) gives you the service of a freelancer gift. JO Cadeau finds and selects various freelancers: music teachers, handymen and interior designers to beauticians, masseurs and personal trainers. You give no trifle, but one person present.
Offerti links supply and demand of work in the business market. Companies that want to outsource work, have quick access to a large group of business professionals. The professionals in turn will create new customers and therefore sales.
I also got people giving me the tip to look for a job as a mailman(woman) by Werkenbijpost. I did take a look there, and found a job vacancy only for 3 hs per week on saturdays in my city. My bike needs some extra adjustments and it’s a physically demanding job, not for me.
Got some people offering me to start my own business, with a small money investment. It was not really clear for me what was this investment for. And since I don’t have any money to save at all, this is nothing for me. I did say to this particular person I could share his business details in my blog but I didn’t get any answer back. I was also offered by a kind lady to sell cosmetics from a beauty line. But, nope, this is also not for me. Since I’m not a beauty shopper myself, I barely use creams and no make up at all. I’m also really picky about the brands I prefer.
Also got a good tip from an events company located in Amsterdam, Mokum events, looking for spontaneous and representative people who want to accompany their guiding tours and parties. But once on the website what they really were looking for was trainees. This traineeships are sometimes a great opportunity for young people and students. Or if you are having an unemployment insurance for many months to go you can also make profit of this possibility. I’ve done this some years ago, when I was pregnant and also unemployed. I worked for almost 4 months (Augustus to November 2010) as a trainee by Aviation Theme Park Aviodrome here in Lelystad. I was employed to work in the Collection and Exposition department,which originally was the Press and Information department, but while being there it suddenly changed due to reorganization. Aviodrome was a foundation receiving a little fund from the municipality of Lelystad. When I was going to start working in the NGO, some months later, it went bankrupt and later last year was sold to another company. Today is a great park and museum with many options for kids and adults to enjoy a great day learning the history of aviation.
While working there I did all the research around the 100 years anniversary of Anthony Fokker. Then later all that research was converted into an audio tour. Among other tasks I worked writing articles for the magazine Verenigde Vleugels (United Wings), did some light secretary work (in en outcoming post, emails, telephone answering) and updating all the information related to Aviodrome appearing in the press. And last but not least, Aviodrome has a replica of Schiphol Airport from 1928. There they run a little café set as originally was in the 30’s. Many visitors came to the café for a cup of coffee, a piece of cake or a drink. Together with another trainees I was working there, serving coffee, cookies, ice creams in the summer, and attending people. It was a great experience! Plenty of retired volunteers are still currently working by Aviodrome. They used to work in aviation and love their work. All the people working there were really kind and open, always willingly to tell stories about their times as airline pilots.
Volunteer work has also been offered to me. I must say I worked for almost 4 years and a half in a volunteer organization for refugee and immigrant women, Participatieteam Lelystad, also known as P-team Lelystad. I absolutely loved to do that work, it’s such a satisfaction when you know the time and energy you are giving in for a good cause actually helps. I had many other jobs as a volunteer and I always enjoyed them; learned lots of things, had the opportunity to follow different courses, practice Dutch language, enlarge and expand my network, participate to conventions and seminars and most of all, feel useful.
During the time I was working at the NGO in Amsterdam and almost the time to give birth I decided to quit all these voluntering duties. With a little girl at home, time was scarce and didn’t have much free time to pursuit everything I wanted to do. Now, two years later, my daughter will turn 2 next month and almost all my little free time goes in writing. Not as much as I would like.
So this is for now. I’m still looking for more ideas! Do you have any other tips? Don’t hesitate to share them with me!
I hope all this information can be of use for you too.