The job opportunities at the Dutch government are endless. Every year, many vacancies open for starters, and they have multiple interesting government traineeships. The BoFEB, Rijkstraineeship and Financial traineeship are the most fitting for economics students. How do you get an interview and how to prepare for it?
This traineeship does not focus on a specific group of students, everyone with a university education is allowed to apply. The application starts with filling in boxes in a portal. This basically means that you have to fill in your CV in the portal, including a motivation. The motivation part is short, so you have to be concise. What you at least need to mention is why you think the Rijkstraineeship is interesting, what you want to learn from it, and why they should choose you. There also is a section regarding ‘maatschappelijke betrokkenheid’ (social engagement), where you have to indicate how social issues keep your mind occupied and keep you busy in your daily life, for example by volunteering. You should also include how you are interested in political/economic news and how that shows. When you filled in all these boxes, and did the assessment, the selection is made. When you are through to the next round, you have to fill in some more boxes. Here you have to indicate how you are taking initiative, are result-minded, good at teamwork, know how to address the organization, dare to take action, and indicate your persuasiveness all by STARR-method. This leaves the employees of the specific Ministry you are allocated to, to make a decision whether you may come to The Hague for a job interview. Of course, the preparation for this job interview is very Ministry-specific. What helps is knowing the political stance of popular subjects, the news, and thinking about how you would add something. When all your conversations have ended and you really fit their program, you might work there in the future.
The BoFEB is a traineeship specifically for students interested in economics. It is a post-master, indicating that more courses are involved in this program. Here, you have to send a motivation letter, grade list and CV. Since this traineeship is more focussed on schooling and economics, it is good to focus on that in your motivation letter. When you are through to the next round, you have to give a presentation, do a case and have a conversation. Based on these, you enter the BoFEB class.
This traineeship is not from the government as a whole, but only from the Ministry of Finance. This means that the focus automatically is on financial and economical issues. Note that this does not mean you cannot end up at a different Ministry. For example, you can start your traineeship at the financial-economic division of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Again you have to send your grades, CV, and motivation letter. It is better to focus your motivation letter on any financial experience you have, such as being a treasurer of an association or being a member of the audit of accounts. After that you have a general interview at the Ministry of Finance. They say you do not have to prepare anything, only at which Ministry you would like to start. However, it might come in handy to prepare for questions why you would like to do the Financial Traineeship and how it links to your current experiences, what news you always find interesting and linking this to one of the Ministeries, knowing the current government developments, thinking about what the process should look like within the Ministry of Finance. I for example got the question what the new government plans would be regarding defense expenses. Another question you might get is where would you start with saving, when you are in a crisis, and why is saving government money necessary? After answering all these questions, you might be able to go through to the next, and final, round of your application. Here, you will be applying to a specific position in a Ministry. Depending on the specific Ministry and starting job, you can prepare for the same things already mentioned before and look at their budget and the evaluation by the ‘Algemene Rekenkamer’. Be sure to know what this Ministry is all about and what the division actually does. Furthermore, it might be good to call a recruiter you know once in a while, so you can get more specific tips on how to prepare for the interviews.
Good luck with applying!