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How to Write a Dutch Cover Letter Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Dutch Language

In my previous posts I gave you vocabulary for writing a CV, and information on how to write a Dutch CV.  The last step you need to know is how to write a cover letter.  The cover letter is possibly even more important than the CV itself, so take your time and think through what you want to say.  You will generally want to tailor your cover letter to the position you are applying for: this is not a one size fits all situation.

Like I said about the Dutch CV, the cover letter is also rather direct and I try to avoid using a lot of overly-enthusiastic American-style language.  But this does not in any way mean that you shouldn’t express your enthusiasm for the position you are applying for.  What it does mean is that the way you go about doing that will be a little different.  I’ll be the first to admit that my own style does seep in at the corners, with things like “heel enthousiast” but as long as you don’t overdo it, it should be okay.

The format for the cover letter will be very similar to the format for writing a formal letter (in case you missed it, we have a post about formal letter writing).  Remember that this is a formal letter, so you will be using the formal “u” in addressing your potential future employer if you refer to them directly.

You will want to keep your cover letter short and to the point.  Ideally it should be no longer than one page.  It is not necessary to go into detail about all of your work experience and education in the cover letter: this is what your CV is for!  But you should pick out details that are important for the particular position you are applying for.

In the first paragraph, state what position you are applying for, and where you saw the advertisement.  This is a great place to show that you are enthusiastic about the position.

In the second and/or third paragraph, outline the education, work experience and personal qualities you think highlight you as the best candidate for the position.  If the job candidate description focused on someone who takes responsibility and has leadership qualities, you will want to mention that you have those qualities, preferably with examples.

In the closing paragraph, express your interest in an interview and that you look forward to speaking with “them”.  Don’t be shy, don’t be wishy-washy, just write it as though you assume they will want to have a chat with you.

In the example cover letter below, I am applying for a position as an onderzoeker at the Gemeente Amsterdam.  In the first paragraph, I express my interest in the position and state that my education and work experience make me a good candidate for the position.  In the original job description, they were looking for someone with education in either law, policy or something “relevant” (whatever that means, right?).  This office does a lot of mediation, which I found out with just a few minutes of research into what they do, and I happen to have work experience as a mediator and mediation trainer.  Therefore I chose to highlight my education and mediation experience in the second paragraph, as well as a few other things I thought were relevant to the position.  In the last paragraph, I explain that I have always had an interest in working at the Gemeente Amsterdam, something I did to reach that goal (learn Dutch), why I want the position (I want to better my community) and finally that I am very enthusiastic to begin a career with them.

Keep in mind, this is just one of a million ways of writing a cover letter, and this one has been tailored to fit one particular job.  This example follows the standard conventions of writing a cover letter.  If you work in the arts, entertainment or cultural industries, you will be following an entirely different set of rules, and you will want to be far more creative than this type of form letter will allow.

Sarah Transparent Language
My Address
Postal Code Amsterdam
phone number
email address

Gemeentelijke Afdeling
Postbus XXXX
Postal Code Amsterdam

Amsterdam, 24 mei 2010

Betreft: sollicitatie voor onderzoeker bij de Gemeentelijke Afdeling

Geachte meneer/mevrouw,

Graag solliciteer ik naar de baan van onderzoeker bij de Gemeentelijke Afdeling. Toen ik de advertentie op uw website las, was ik onmiddelijk geinteresseerd. Zowel mijn opleiding als mijn interesses maken me een goede kandidaat voor deze functie.

Ik heb een veelzijdige opleiding gevolgd in sociale psychologie en filosofie van het recht. Ik heb ervaring als juridische en beleids medewerker bij de juridische dienst van de XYZ Universiteit. In deze positie beoordeelde ik bezwaarschriften over zaken van de gedragscode commissie van de universiteit en werkte ik als casemanager van studenten in dit systeem. Ook deed ik onderzoek naar jurisprudentie en de wet om de beslissingen hiervan te gebruiken als ondersteuning bij vergelijkbare universitieszaken. Als vertegenwoordiger van deze dienst fungeerde ik als adviseur over de nieuwe richtlijnen voor studenten in het volgende jaar. Tenslotte was ik ook de assistent en adviseur van het hoofd van de afdeling. Vanwege mijn werkervaring als mediator en mediation trainer werk ik goed samen met mensen aan creatieve oplossingen voor problemen.

Sinds ik naar Amsterdam ben verhuisd is het mijn doel om bij de Gemeente Amsterdam te werken. Hiervoor heb ik de cursus Nederlands als tweede taal bij de Universiteit van Amsterdam gevolgd. Ik wil verder werken in een beleidsfunctie waar ik kan bijdragen aan het verbeteren van mijn gemeenschap. Ik ben heel enthousiast om een loopban bij de Gemeentelijke Afdeling te beginnen.

Graag licht ik mijn brief en CV in een persoonlijk gesprek aan u toe.

Met vriendelijke groet,

Sarah Transparent Language

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Comments:

  1. Resume Cover Letter Samples:

    Hey, what a fantastic article. Thank you for the extra knowledge i got in reading your article today. 🙂 🙂

  2. Ian:

    It’s a nice guide. Shame there are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors in the example letter. Although I doubt the people at ‘Gemeente Amsterdam’ will recognize them, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  3. nelson:

    This is very useful. Thanx a lot. Its 2012 and such an article is and will remain helpful to a lot of people.

  4. piet:

    Jammer van de spellingsfouten in de Nederlandse brief..

  5. piet:

    Sorry, valt eigenlijk wel mee. 🙂 Goede uitleg verder.

  6. a:

    Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

  7. Ashley:

    Thank you so much! Your explanations are clear and straightforward. Appreciate it!

  8. Amber hina:

    It’s a nice guide. Shame there are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors in the example letter. Although I doubt the people at ‘Gemeente Amsterdam’ will recognize them, it’s better to be safe than sorry.