Working in Belgium

Updated 2021-12-17 14:16

Moving to a new country can be difficult enough. Add the worry of finding a job onto this move, and it can be extremely stressful. But not to worry, as we're here to help you apply for jobs in Belgium. Here's some advice on the process so you're successful.

How can you find work in Belgium?

Belgium is no different from other countries. Chances are, you can find a job in Belgium via employment agencies, job centers, and job offers in newspapers (both online and offline), or even by organizing a transfer to Belgium with your current employer. If you're lucky enough to work for an international company, it might have branches in Belgium. Transfers are relatively easy, so this can be a viable option.

If you dream of working in Belgium but don't have any contacts, the internet is the best way to get started. It might be overwhelming to search for a job online, but there are many helpful websites where you can start your search. Additionally, there are job centers, international organizations, and European institutions that have dedicated websites with tons of information. Newspapers and employment agencies are also very helpful.

If you're familiar with the Dutch language, check the national newspapers every Saturday. Once a week, they publish job offers. Some of them include Gazet Van Antwerpen, De Standaard, Het Laatste Nieuws, Le Soir, and La Dernière Heure.

You can also send spontaneous candidacies; don't hesitate to try, especially if you're interested in a particular company. Some job offers aren't necessarily advertised online, after all.

You can also ask for help within public employment services:

  • The Forem in Wallonia
  • VDAB in Flanders
  • Actiris in Brussels-Capital
  • ADg for the German-speaking community

Belgian resume

No matter what country you're in, every candidate searching for a job needs to have an updated resume. Each country has its own rules. In Belgium, employers prefer resumes to be concise, two pages maximum, easy to read, and with a humble tone. Consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

The language you use when applying will depend on where the job's located. Use Dutch, French, or English for jobs in Brussels, Dutch for Flanders, and usually French for Wallonia (with the exception of the east side, which speaks German).

Inside your resume

The top of your resume is for anything personal: name, personal address, telephone number, email address, nationality, and birthdate. You might also want to mention your marital status if your partner is a Belgian or EU citizen, as that'll make things go smoother.

Next, you need to put down your experience. Start with your most recent position, followed by all the positions held in backward chronological order, with exact start and end dates. Briefly explain your responsibilities and tasks for each one, making sure you don't come across as boastful. You want to remain modest, as this is how things are done in Belgium. You can also give some essential information on the companies you worked for: turnover, number of employees, etc. Don't hesitate to mention all the important projects you worked on. If you just graduated, mention any internship and professional experiences.

After listing your experience, you'll want to list your education. Start with your most recent diploma or training, then anything since secondary school. You can also mention your thesis or doctorate, and your results. If you don't have any work experience, then the education section needs to come first.

Next, you'll want to list any additional training that's relevant to the job you're applying for. You can also put down your knowledge and abilities, such as computer-based knowledge, technical skills, and anything else that's useful for the position.

Considering that Belgium is a multilingual country that's a central hub for many businesses, it's vital that you list your known languages on your resume. Put down how fluent you are for each, as well as and certifies you've obtained for them.

Also, it's important that you list extracurricular activities on your resume. Your hobbies and volunteer work say a lot about your work ethic and interests, which can give your potential employers a better look at what type of worker you are.

Lastly, you'll need to provide the names and contact information for your references. These should be people you've contacted ahead of time and are fine with answering questions your potential employer may have.

Cover letter

Whether it's for a spontaneous candidacy or an advertised job offer, the cover letter is extremely important. It must represent you and your career goals, describe your personality, your professional profile, and it needs to convince the reader that your profile is suitable for the position and make them want to meet you.

An interesting detail to note is that in basically all cases, you'd type your cover letter. However, you should handwrite it if you're applying for a job in a French-speaking region.

Job interviews in Belgium

As in many other countries, employers appreciate it when candidates have prior knowledge of and interest in the company. Don't hesitate to go to a job interview with a list of questions you'd like to ask about the position and the company.

As for the attire, wear something smart-casual so you're not too dressed up but don't look like you've just walked in randomly either. In general, don't wear trainers or jeans.

You need to arrive 15 minutes early in Belgium. Bring something to take notes and another copy of your resume and cover letter. Once you get into the room, shake the interviewer's hand, and don't sit down until you're invited to. And if a woman comes into the room, men usually stand up, so you should do the same if you're a man.

During your interview, be honest and as humble as you can be. You'll want to keep a positive attitude, even when discussing the prior employers that you might've had bad experiences with. Belgian employers won't want to hire someone who's needlessly critical of others and themselves.

You're now ready to apply for any job in Belgium. Good luck!

Useful links:

Expat Jobs

Stepstone Belgium




Go Abroad

Tip Top Job

Jobs in Brussels

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