Strategies for making your LinkedIn profile stand out in the Dutch job market

Strategies for making your LinkedIn profile stand out in the Dutch job market

According to Statistics Netherlands, the percentage of employed Ukrainian newcomers in the Netherlands has increased by 11% from July 1 to November 1, with 45% of them being employed as of November 1. These people fled Ukraine due to the Russian invasion and the total number of Ukrainian newcomers in the Netherlands is estimated to be around 65,000.

At the same time, doing the action research Open Embassy notes another common request: when experience or education in Ukraine does not apply to the local job market.

For example, in Ukraine, one of the regular participants in the Ukrainian community KOLO, which builds and develops Open Embassy, was a successful sports journalist, working with the Ukrainian language and on the local market. After moving to the Netherlands, the woman took a job as a sales consultant in a local clothing store to support herself financially and build social connections, although this did not solve the issue with her profession.

Another example from another participant in the KOLO community is a young woman who worked as a doctor in Ukraine for ten years, providing a wide range of services from client registration to consultations and treatment. Such an approach in the medical field is not typical in the Netherlands, and given that the woman does not yet speak Dutch, she cannot find work, which negatively affects her mental health and quality of life.

We talked to our permanent  Linkedin and professional identity expert, Petra ter Doest, asking for advice on what can be done to apply broad work experience to the Dutch job market or modify and make experience more relevant. Here are some tips that will be useful for everyone who is just entering and getting to know the Dutch job market:

The importance of a sharp professional identity on LinkedIn
As professionals with diverse experiences and interests, it may seem beneficial to showcase all of them on LinkedIn to increase opportunities. However, taking a broad approach can actually weaken your professional identity, making it difficult for others to quickly understand your capabilities and interests.

In today’s fast-paced internet communication, grabbing and maintaining attention is crucial. In the Netherlands, where the job market is highly specialized, a sharp definition of yourself is even more critical. Employers want to know precisely what tasks you can perform before investing their time in reading your profile. Therefore, a clear and focused professional identity is essential for success on LinkedIn.

Strategies for focusing professional identity on LinkedIn
Deciding on a focus for a LinkedIn profile can be challenging. To get clarity, ask yourself two essential questions:
— What professional experiences will add value to my current phase in life? This could include language skills, corporate experience, specific skills, and more.
— What are the demands of the Dutch labor market for the skills and experiences I possess?

Focusing on professional identity does not mean that you have to neglect other important aspects of your life. It is a matter of how you organize your information on a LinkedIn profile and CV. You can authentically reflect your personality by adding images and text that showcase your interests and experiences outside of work.

It is crucial to distinguish between information that is directly relevant to your focus and information that is less relevant. This can be achieved by zooming in and out. When information is relevant to your main title, provide details on where, when, and how you gained your knowledge and expertise. When information is not directly relevant, tell less and provide a bigger picture.

For example, if your expertise is in HR and you volunteered with handicapped children on the side, list it as a volunteer experience rather than a work experience. You can still mention it in your summary to show your community involvement. By using these strategies, you can create a LinkedIn profile that effectively showcases your professional identity while remaining authentic to your broader interests and experiences.

Crafting an effective main title for LinkedIn profile
Your main title on LinkedIn should consist of a role and domain that reflect your current career goals. For instance, “English Teacher” or “Recruiter in IT.” Including keywords that highlight your level and expertise can help to distinguish your profile from others in the same field.

For example, a main title like “Marketing Manager” could be enhanced with specific keywords such as “Brand Development” and “Data Analysis” to showcase your specializations. It is crucial to ensure that your main title is future-oriented and reflects what you want to do now, rather than what you have done in the past.

*To change your job title, click on “Me” in the top bar, select “View Profile,” and click on the edit pencil. Then scroll down to the “header” box and update your title accordingly. By following these guidelines, you can create a compelling main title that accurately represents your professional goals and highlights your unique skill set.

Profile image
Ensure that you possess a high-quality photograph, preferably with sufficient pixels, that projects an amiable and relaxed demeanor while gazing directly at the camera. Maintaining eye contact with potential contacts in an open and congenial manner is crucial. Avoid accessorizing with sunglasses or having hair obscure your face. Furthermore, dress appropriately for the position you aspire to attain. Pay attention to lighting and select a neutral background, such as a white wall, for optimum effect.

Request the aid of an individual to take multiple photographs so that you can select the most appealing one. In conjunction with your name and job title, your photo is among the most significant components of your page.

Header image
Images can significantly enhance the value of a Linkedin profile by conveying important information about yourself to others. The header, which occupies the space at the top of the profile, can be augmented with a background image that measures 1584 by 396 pixels. It is essential to select images that are relevant to the professional identity.
For inspiration, you may search for relevant keywords and images online.
Alternatively, you could incorporate multiple visual elements into a single image by creating a collage.

The “Featured” section of your profile allows you to upload links to external websites, posts on LinkedIn, photos, and PDFs, adding a dynamic and personalized touch to your profile. The rectangular format of the featured section is fixed.

To adjust your background image or header, locate the edit pencil on the right side of the blue area at the top of your profile page. To activate the “Featured” section, click on the blue “Add profile item” button, select “Recommended,” and then choose “Featured.”

Summary / About
Compose a comprehensive and well-organized summary of your professional identity in three paragraphs.
The first paragraph should serve as an elaboration of your main title and highlight the roles you are capable of fulfilling. Articulate why you consider this work important and what unique contributions you can bring to the table, as well as outlining your core competencies and skill sets.

The second paragraph should delve into the specific reasons why you excel in your field, detailing the sources of your expertise and the methods by which you have gained it. Consider where you have honed your skills, and describe how you have acquired them over time. This will provide potential employers with a comprehensive understanding of your background and qualifications.

In the third paragraph, it is important to showcase your range of skills and personal qualities. Consider including examples of your involvement in volunteering or other civic engagements, highlighting the ways in which you have demonstrated a commitment to community engagement and social responsibility. Be sure to maintain a clear focus and avoid lengthy or overly complex sentences. Compose your summary in a word processing program for optimal clarity and ease of reading, and ensure that each paragraph focuses on a single topic to maximize readability. Finally, format your summary with ample white space to enhance legibility.

* How do I change “About” section? Scroll to the ‘Info’ block and then click on the edit pencil on the right.
* How to activate About for the first time? Go to the big blue button ‘Add profile item’ at the top of your profile. Choose ‘The Core’ and then ‘Add Info’.

Lessons from the Dutch and Ukrainian communities: the importance of prioritizing career fulfillment
We hope that this information was useful in adapting your LinkedIn profile to the local job market. It is important to remember that each job market is unique, and it is essential to understand the rules to stand out.

One more thing, on a personal note, look for a job that will truly make you fulfilled in the long term. This is what matters and is also taken into account during interviews. This is something that we, Ukrainians, do not always easily understand, but it is a good opportunity to learn from Dutch society.

If you have any questions or proposals regarding collaborations for the Ukrainian community Kolo in the Netherlands, please contact

Petra ter Doest — Linkedin and professional identity expert.
Anna Bilenka — action researcher and community builder at OpenEmbassy.
Photos: by S O C I A L . C U T, Jurica Koletić, LinkedIn Sales Solutions, Christina

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