How to get that call!


Top tips ...

straight from the recruiter’s mouth

We’ve all been there: you spend hours in front of your laptop browsing at jobs and sending through applications and more often than not, you get absolutely no reaction or reply from the other end.

This might sound awful but I’ve actually read somewhere that in today’s market, each job post receives on average 118 applications (which in my experience, it sounds about right!).

So whether you like it or not, nowadays it’s more about getting the right attention rather than having the right skills.

You might have heard the term “ build your personal brand” before - it refers to marketing your profile and skills in the job market and building a brand around yourself - which is exactly what thousands of people who are looking for a job, are doing right now in this vast global market.

But to save you from a moment of panic, there is also an upside to this: the demand is so big that, thankfully, there are tons of ways and tools you can use to help you get noticed!

And to be more specific, here are some tips to get a call from at least one recruiter (me!)

  1. Resumes that stand out: who said that a CV should just be a word document filled with information about your past jobs?! In fact, there are tons of hiring managers out there who claim that the traditional CV is dead! So how about a video resume? Or a box of donuts sent to the hiring manager with a note “do-nut forget about my application” and your CV pasted on the inside of the box? Trust me, in the recruitment industry, we’ve seen it all! Now, this tip might not be applicable in certain job fields such as banking but if you have a chance to be creative, go for it!
  2. Templates that are easy on the eye: even if you can’t opt for a video resume, I guarantee that you can find a CV template out there that is different, interesting, well-structured and easy on the eye. This is really about doing the recruiter a favour and allowing their strained eyeballs to take a break from screening resumes all day long.
  3. Keep it short & to the point: a recent research revealed that the average adult’s attention span is around 8 seconds. So read your own resume after you’re done editing it - does it take you longer than 8 seconds to scan through the entire thing? If the answer is yes, you need to do more editing! The perfect size for a CV is a 2-pager with short description and 2-3 achievements listed in bullet points  for each role. Resist the temptation of being too analytical, you are writing a resume and not an autobiography!
  4. Devil in the details: I can’t stress this enough but it’s really extremely important that you don’t have any spelling mistakes on your resume. It makes the worst possible impression! Additionally, if you are applying for a job within the EU, make sure to avoid including personal information such as marital status, religion, gender etc. - it is frowned upon due to discrimination. Your employer should be interested in your skills, experience, match to the company and nothing else. And remember, your CV is screened by people who have been trained to do that job and can spot things like that in a split second so don’t let your application end up in the Rejected pile over the little details!
  5. Custom-build your cover letter: I can guarantee that nobody will spend time reading a cover letter that was copy-pasted from a template you found online. Hiring teams will be looking for that something special that explains why you’re a good fit for the role, what you find interesting about the company and just a few things about you in a tiny nutshell. This is an amazing opportunity to add a personal flavour to your application and show who you are so use it wisely!
  6. Networking is key: this is undeniably the era of social media so it makes sense that you build a large part of your personal brand online. Especially important to use LinkedIn for all that it has to offer - you can add more details about your experience, samples of your work, articles, interests, volunteering experience and more. LinkedIn is also a fantastic tool for getting to know people, directly reaching out to the hiring team and finding out about opportunities that aren’t always listed on job posts.
  7. Always be professional: and speaking about social media and personal profiles, online savoir-faire dictates a professional profile photo, posts that are focused on your job/ industry, commenting on posts in a non-offensive/ positive manner and in general, try to think about your personal brand before posting anything online. Needless to say that you it’s important to sustain a respectful and consistent online activity at all times while applying for a job as your profile views will definitely be increasing at the time.
  8. Be kind: this should go without saying but unfortunately it doesn’t! Being polite and respectful truly goes a long way - after all, we’re all just trying to do our jobs the best way possible. Even when you are not happy with the way your application has been handled by an employer, make sure that your complaint is made in a professional and inoffensive manner - you never know where you might come across these people again in the future!

So good luck, stay positive, have faith in yourself and stay near your phone because you will sure be getting that call!


Article by Cristina Ioannidou







Who am I and what do I bring to the world?

What if I’m not sure anymore? What if—after multiple job applications, numerous interviews, several rejection letters and many months of searching for a job—I feel lost?

Let us help you get a little less lost.

First welcome a new person into your life: your authentic self. Your authentic self is strong and unique (yes, really!). Learn to listen to its advice and let yourself be guided by your intuition. Maybe it’s asking for a little self-care after so many job applications. Then allow yourself that tub of ice-cream, dancing on the table or dinner with your best friend. Listen carefully and do the things that make you feel good, confident and worthy. Because you really are worth it.

Once you’ve found your Authentic Self, it’s time to start sharing that passion, drive and value with the world. Can you summarize in one (short) sentence what makes YOU so special, different to anyone else on this planet? Think about what you believe in, what you can offer the world (or maybe just specific customers/clients) and why your experience/background is particularly valuable. This is your professional pitch.

Then spread that message far and wide: like dandelion parachutes floating on a soft summer breeze. Be everywhere and talk to everyone, online and in person. Tell them what makes you the authority on the topic. Establish your credibility until they believe you really are the go-to person on the camouflage patterns of the African giant toad (or whatever else it might be).

And, because actions speak louder than words, remember to show them how good you are at what you do. Gather your evidence and keep it safe. It’ll be there waiting for you on those days you feel like you are losing faith. And it’ll be there ready to impress potential new customers/clients/employers.

So that’s how you build your personal brand. This personal brand is unique to you: your beliefs, strengths, authenticity and value. It will help you come across strong and confident during job interviews. And might help you land that job.

Article by Niina Nuottamo

Write your own story

 Photo by  Thought Catalog  on  Unsplash

Unemployment throws a curve ball at even the most organised people. It makes them doubt their skills, their value and their direction. There’s lads of information to be found on the topic – lots of statistics and reports tell a cold, hard story. But those stories are about trends, numbers and averages. Every one of us has an individual story – if you can craft and tell that, it’ will be a warm, compelling story really worth hearing.

Cold reporting

Finding yourself out of a job is hard for most people. Punt. Now we have stated the obvious, let’s dig a little deeper into some of the reasons for this that you might not have thought about.

First, it can be damaging to your physical health. Studies have found that people are more likely to have poor health habits – including smoking or drinking more, eating badly, sleeping more erratically and so on. The fact that you are psychologically ‘down’ makes you give up on lots of regular habits. And that’s even before you start to consider the ultimately unthinkable outcome – suicide rates also go up.

There’s also research saying that unemployment can be detrimental to a person socially, with unemployed people often retreating into themselves and starting to feel more and more alone. Other reports talk about how unemployment can affect families, with divorce rates rising as couples struggle to deal with financial and personal impacts of either, or both, being out of a job. And then there are the stories about how unemployment is bad for business, for the economy, etc, etc. 

But, at this point you could be forgiven for thinking “OK, I don’t care about the economy, I am more worried about myself right now!” Actually, all of this information, all the statistics and reports, the pundits and the political rhetoric becomes just so much more blah! Although some of this is interesting, and could be relevant, the more important facts are the ones that you get from yourself. How do YOU feel? What is YOUR plan?

Warmth from personal storytelling

You are not a number, or an average, you are a story. Your story has ups and downs – characters and scenarios. What you need to think about is what that story is right now – and how to write the next chapters to get to the ending you want. While all those statistics and reports can give you ideas, you need to make sure you are using them to craft your own chapters, not allow yourself to become a statistic yourself. Your story will be much more warm and compelling – because it’s about you. These other reports and graphs are, by definition, cold – they are about an average, distant, ‘person’.

Once you have reflected on your story up to now, with its introduction and its early chapters, you can step back and take stock. Then you can decide how you want the next chapters to unfold. Most writers will tell you that even the best plans often change. But those plans give structure to move forward, even if the ending is quite different. You never know what twist in the tale could crop up. A perfect role in shining armour could appear on a remuneration horse of gold, or maybe the wicked witch of rejection gets dissolved in a bucket of the water of confidence….

Ok, now I am being silly, but the point is simply this. You own your story, and the best stories have interesting twists and turns. There are multiple paths to a happy ending -  you just need to find the one that works best for you.


Empower can help

It’s all very well for me to say that you can write your own story, but what happens when you get writer’s block? It happens to everyone at some point, and that’s when you can turn to others for help. But choose the ones that are neutral – sometimes those closest to you have already figured out chapters or pages of your story in their mind. You need someone who can listen to your story and your options and help you to move them forward. They are editors of your story – and a good editor works with the author to smooth the edges, rather than rewriting it in their own style….

We at Empower Amsterdam provide free coaching sessions for those out of work to help them to do precisely that. Our coaches can provide a listening ear (in several languages), and have a lot of experience in helping people to figure out there way forward. We can help you regain your self-worth and empower you get control over your career. 

Contributor writer: Waynne Meek

How to reject rejection

“I will not become my own worst enemy”. There, I have said it. 

But why is this important? In the modern world, rejection has become a very real evil, especially in the world of recruitment. The amount of applications for each job seems to have exploded, partly, I suspect, due to the growing influence of LinkedIn in our working lives. This makes getting a job seem a dauntless task, and makes rejection seem inevitable. In turn, rejection becomes a very harsh part of a job search.

Why it’s so hard

There are several reasons why rejection for a job application is so hard. There’s the fact that you have thrown all you have into the application and probably exposed your character to the core. It’s also a lonely thing – you are an individual in a seemingly never-ending process.

But the question of rejection goes deeper than that. Scientists have found that there’s also a physical reason too. Apparently, areas of our brain that are active when we experience rejection are the same ones that activate when we experience physical pain. Who knew! No wonder rejection seems to hurt more than we (and others) expect. The psychologists then got in on the act to suppose that this could be a throwback to Neanderthal times, when rejection from the safety of a tribe meant certain death – our ancestors were simply not able to survive on their own.

As rejection is a very personal thing, even the well-intentioned remarks of others can make it worse. No matter how many times you hear “Their loss”, “It’s not you its them” or “Better luck next time”, it never seems to really sooth the pain within.

So, what do you do?

Since the pain is very personal, the antidote is also best self-made. You might need to take a bit of indulgent ‘misery’ time – licking wounds for a short time is inevitable. You have a right to feel fed up – so do the couch, ice cream, wine thing. But, make sure you don’t wallow too long – a day or two should be enough!

Then, pick yourself up, take a deep breath and really force yourself to look at the facts. Look at your positive points – and write them down. There’s something about physically putting pen to paper to really get something into your head. This is where others can help too – call a friend or a relative and remind yourself that others see value in you.

Then, once you have cleared the toxic negative cloud that rejection forms, take stock of what you think actually happened. Once you can look at the situation with more neutral eyes, you can see if there are any learning to take. Is there anything you could have done differently? Were there any particular areas (or questions) you felt ill equipped to deal with? Then you can think about how you could improve on that.

It’s important here to understand where to stop though. A few ‘learnings’ from each rejection is enough. If you overanalyse, you risk slipping back into the negative cloud you were in before. Each situation can add to your experience and develop your technique, for example, but once this is done, it should be placed firmly back into the memory archives!

For example, I once went to an interview that I knew would be partly in French. I was confident in my ability to have a basic chat in the language, which was all that was needed. I brushed up a bit on my skills and went to the interview. What I hadn’t accounted for was the sheer mind-blanking terror that would hit when suddenly the interview switched to French. Needless to say, a promising interview crashed and burned, with me looking like a fish out of water – opening and closing my mouth with no sensible sounds coming out! The moral? Prepare, prepare, prepare – but also understand that sometimes it just won’t happen and you should account for these types of speed bumps on the recruitment road!

Empower can help

I have said that rejection is a personal thing, and that sometimes friends and family don’t seem to be able to help. However, someone who can look at the situation objectively and help you to see from their eyes is a great help. Career coaching provides an environment for you to figure out your next moves with the help of an experienced and empathetic ear.

We at Empower Amsterdam provide free coaching sessions for those out of work to help them to do precisely that. Our coaches can provide a listening ear (in several languages), and have a lot of experience in helping people to figure out there way forward. We can help you regain your self-worth and empower you get control over your career.

Rejection hurts – but don’t let it make you your own worst enemy. The antidote is Empowering yourself …


Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

Contributor Author Waynne Meek


Tell your "redundancy brain" to shut up!

The facts around redundancy, and what they tell you when they make you redundant, are cold, precise and disheartening. They can strike fear into the heart of even the most robust character. According to the Dutch statistics agency CBS, currently one in four workers are currently worried about losing their jobs. This is an indication of the world we now live in – the concept of ‘a job for life’ has gone the way of the dodo.

In the Netherlands legislation was passed in 2015 which makes the whole thing a little more complicated. Now employers can only give temporary contracts for two years, so after that, if they’re not willing to give a permanent contract, they often turn to redundancy. While this is very annoying, upsetting and frankly, sometimes unprofessional, it should, at least help you to realise that it’s really not your fault! Which leads me to the core of the redundancy issue. Everyone and his dog will tell you “It’s not you, it’s them”. “This is no reflection on your abilities” and so on. Now, to “redundancy brain” this seems impossible to process. That brain concludes that it must be me – it’s my fault. Maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person. Did I take five minutes too long on a lunch break? Maybe my choice of eau de toilette is not good....

But redundancy brain DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY. Redundancy brain taps into all your fears, insecurities and paranoia. Redundancy brain makes you panic and scattergun CVs to every possible job on Indeed! It can make you crazy and react in ways that are not reflective of you. So, hard as it can be, you need to turn down redundancy brain and focus on other things. Or, you can also use redundancy brain to your advantage – redirecting the ‘paranoid’ energy it creates can fuel you to start your new path. In a way, it could Empower you. Whichever way works for you, you need to take control of redundancy brain and not let it take over!

But what’s next? This is the scariest question, but remember that this can also be an exciting time if you allow yourself to think of all the possibilities. You may have a redundancy package, and it’s time to figure out how best to use that. You should also be aware of your rights and check with experts if think you have been fairly treated. Some redundancy packages allow for legal fees – take advantage of that. It’s tempting to just move away from the previous situation but, believe me, many companies do not act in the proper way, and some blatantly ignore the rules. Here’s where you may need to stick up for yourself!

Then once the “drama” of the redundancy has passed, you should take stock of your situation, your skills, your desires and ambitions – in fact, it’s a chance to look at your whole self. Revaluate yourself, your skills and what you can offer. If you can think about this laterally, you might find your skills can be applied in a very different way in the future.

The personally exposing nature of this exercise can be tricky, which is why Empower Amsterdam offers free career coaching to unemployed people to help them to move on, especially in highly emotional post- redundancy times. It’s very helpful to have an independent ear to listen, and a sounding board to bounce ideas off. Our coaches will be able to give you options you may not have thought about and give guidance on your plans.
Why not contact Empower today – and give us the chance to help you take control of ‘redundancy brain’ – after all, this can really be your Time to Thrive.

Great success at the Pop Up Coaching Sessions

Last Friday, we held our first coaching Pop-up Session, to introduce those unfamiliar to coaching what it was all about.

The event, which was held at Post Oost, near Oosterpark in Amsterdam, had people queuing before the doors opened at 9:30, each curious to learn more about Empower Amsterdam and to see how we could help them.  Five coaches were on hand to provide insight, and gave impromptu short sessions to help people on to take the first step on their next career path.

The room was buzzing with activity - with people wandering in with an air of confusion or uncertainty, and leaving with a feeling of hope.

One of the Empower coaches - Villia de Koningh, noticed a trend of hope in the room: "As each session came to an end I saw each coachee walk out lighter and clearer than when they entered. It seemed that each person was seen by with the right coach for them and they also received exactly what they needed in that moment. All in all a very positive outcome.”

One example of the people we helped was a lady who came in not really knowing why she was there. Once we explained what Empower Amsterdam did, she replied that she was not looking for career or CV advice, but for help with self-development. The coach she was talking with was able to give a short sessions there and then, providing some on-the-spot guidance.  That lady booked follow-up session straight away. In fact, all of the coachees who attended the event did the same thing - making the first Pop-Up Coaching Session a resounding success.

We'd like to thank everyone that attended - it was great to see you and to give you a flavour of what we can build together. We are also grateful to the coaches (as ever) for their time and dedication.  We are doing this together. This is our Time to Thrive!

Unleash your inner strength with ‘Pop Up Coaching’

When it comes to tackling your fears, and getting focus back into your life, there’s no time like the present. We at Empower Amsterdam understand this – and we also know ow difficult it can be to take the first step. So we are holding Pop Up Coaching Sessions later in July to help those out of work back onto the right path for success. Just come along to the sessions and a coach will be on hand to help you – right there and then.

Date: 21st July

Time: 9.30 – 12.30

Place: Post Oost, Wijttenbachstraat, 36iii, 1093 JC Amsterdam

Whether it’s giving you tips on your CV, or offering an unbiased listening ear, it’ll give you a chance to see what coaching is all about. Then, if you want to have further sessions, you can.

Find out more about Empower Amsterdam here on our website. We are all about helping people to find their voice in their own future - to find the strength to thrive.

Click here to find out more and to register.

Your opinions count!

We are on a mission to help those trying to find work, before they reach the point of no return.  We are already on the right track – earlier this year we became an official charity and we have succeeded in giving free coaching to many jobseekers. 

Now we need your help. We need your opinions and, if you’ll share them with us, your stories. We need to find out more about what people are going through in today’s job search, what goes through their minds, what puts them off (or indeed, inspires them), and most importantly, how we can help them.

We are holding a focus group – to get a number of people who are looking for a job together to really find out what’s going on out there….. Then we can use that information to help us to help you…

Date: 18th July

Time: 9:30 – 11:00

Place: Post Oost, Wijttenbachstraat,  36iii, 1093 JC Amsterdam

If you are willing to share your experiences with us, please RSVP via Facebook, or email

Giving People a Mirror to See Themselves and Their Potential

Giving People a Mirror to See Themselves and Their Potential
“A coach will support you on this journey, challenge you where appropriate, and help you reach your destination faster, and more efficiently than you would alone.”