Research your career options
What kind of career will you pursue?

Research your career options

What kind of career will you pursue? Will it be in business? In non-profit? Do you want to start your own business? A career in research? Once you have found out what you want, go out and check your assumptions.

  • With a Bachelor or Master degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam, you will have many options when you start your career. Below you will find a selection of these options. Keep in mind that the options we discuss are relatively general, because there are big differences between countries and company cultures. Based on the option you choose, there will be different do's and don’ts for your CV and how you define your application strategy.

    • During your study, you may come into contact with many multinationals at various campus events. Think about recruitment days, the in-house days organised by many study associations and the network events at the companies.

      More information on how to find a job in a multinational can be found on the following websites:

    • Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs; MKB in Dutch) make up 99% of all enterprises in the Netherlands (source). It is therefore fairly likely that you will start your career at an SME. 

      More information on how to find a job in an SME can be found on the following websites:

    • Working for an NGO provides an opportunity to make a difference, support others and create positive change in communities all over the world. The NGO sector has grown significantly over the past two decades as organisations have become larger, more sophisticated and increasingly professionalised. More information on how to find a job in an NGO can be found on the following websites:

    • If you would like to serve the community or contribute to society, then you might consider working for the government: municipalities, ministries, semi-governmental organisations like universities and hospitals and many other institutions. When you want to work for the government in the Netherlands you often need to speak and write Dutch, although it is changing!

      More information on how to find a job at the government can be found on the following website:

    • You may want to continue your career in research after graduating from university. Applying for a PhD position is an excellent way to achieve that goal and also pushes your career and experience to a higher level. A PhD programme usually means submitting a research proposal which has to be accepted and which will then be the foundation of your PhD research. In the Netherlands, a PhD student is employed by the university and therefore receives a salary. In other countries, you might still be registered as a student and receive an allowance from a study fund or scholarship. You should note that PhD positions are scarce and the competition is high.

      If you would like to take on a PhD, make sure you discuss this with your professors and get their support. This could help you get a place at Erasmus University Rotterdam or another university around the world.

      To find out whether doing a PhD is a good career choice you could opt to do a Research Master programme rather than a regular Master. You can check the possibilities for doing a research master at Erasmus University Rotterdam. We also advise you to get in touch with PhD students and ask them about their experiences and tips for you. You can find an overview of PhD students on the website of each academic department or you can search for them via LinkedIn.

      More information on how to find a PhD position or a job after finishing the PhD programme can be found on the following websites:

    • Being self-employed involves working for one or more clients on a contract basis. Being self-employed has important benefits, such as being your own boss, and having more independence, but there are also risks.

      There are organisations which can help you in the preparatory stage (when you are still considering your options) and which can advise you on how to set up a business. One of them is the Chamber of Commerce, where you can also find a network of other self-employed people.

      More information on how to become self-employed can be found on the following websites:

    • Self-employment and entrepreneurship may sound the same, but there is a difference. Someone who is self-employed is a person who works as a freelancer and is usually hired by other companies/people to deliver work. The person himself is contracted whereas an entrepreneur is contracted for the product or idea.

      Erasmus University Rotterdam provides numerous opportunities to expand your knowledge about entrepreneurship, as well as to widen your network. For more information, contact Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE), Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Research (ERIM) and Dutch Academy for Research in Entrepreneurship.

      More information on how to become an entrepreneur can be found on the following websites:

  • As you prepare to apply for your job, here are six things your should learn about the company:

      • Spend some time looking at various companies. This will give you an idea of companies are in your industries and fields of choice.
      • See what has been written about the company (e.g. in financial newspapers).
      • Your research will help you gain knowledge about the specifics of the company; products, policies, culture, vision, mission statement etc.
      • See how the company presents itself, how it wants to be seen.
      • Check their Twitter and Facebook to see what information is communicated.
      • Follow the company (LinkedIn). This could be beneficial to see if you have any shared contacts who may be able to give you some insider knowledge.
      • Join groups in your field of interest and participate actively in it (contribute to initiate a discussion within this group).
      • Be creative in how you contact a company or gather information about the position you are applying for .
      • Looking for a job or orientating yourself is like having a radar continuously going around, looking for signals that might be of interest to you. 
      • You can get lots of interesting information about the company at such events. However, don’t visit these events unprepared. Read the company’s website first and formulate some good questions for the companies in which you are interested. Also practise your elevator/personal pitch several times before you leave for the event.
      • Attending an event or fair is one of the easiest ways to get face to face in contact with companies.
      • Ask around! Ask fellow students/alumni/teachers/professors tutors/mentors who may know the company/organisation of your interest.
      • Try to get in touch with someone who knows someone, who…..knows someone in that company.
      • You might find an alumnus who works or used to work at the company you are interested in or want to apply to. You can use EURconnect to search for relevant alumni. You can contact this person and ask questions about the company/department (never ask for a job!!).