The Realities Of Moving Abroad For Your Dream Job. Part Two.

Last time we met I was on day ten of living in the Netherlands. I had just moved here, looking for a job after making the most impulsive and life changing decision of my life to-date, all while on a ticking time bomb of a visa expiration date. If you didn’t catch it, you can check it out here. (The sparknotes version is that I moved to Amsterdam from Austin, Texas to find a job I’d be excited about, to learn how to make the best work possible from the best in the bizz, and grow as a creative and as a person. I gave up finishing my last semester of school in person, opting for online classes instead. I moved here on a tourist visa, which gave me a measly 74 days to find a job or an internship to sponsor me so I could stay in the Netherlands. I had no connections, no money, little to no real world work experience, just a dream and the determination to not accept “no” for an answer.

I mentioned in my previous article how important it is to believe in yourself, how you can’t achieve your goals if you don’t believe you can. I can say now, after going through my adventures in Amsterdam, that this is absolutely true. Finding a job out of college is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what internships you had, or what awards you’ve won, the job market is incredibly finicky and alters drastically frequently. Now take the uncertainty of an already temperamental job market, add on top the need for a sponsored visa, and a lack of connections, and you’ll understand why it’s imperative to believe in yourself. Sometimes you’re the only one who can or will.

In addition to believing in your own capabilities, you then need to hustle. Run towards the things you want. Don’t take no for an answer. And build your own self confidence to where rejection doesn’t feel like failure, it feels like an opportunity. Full disclosure, it took me a long time to get to this point. When I first moved here, and for the first few months of living here I seriously struggled with confidence and directness. I was a young creative nobody in a giant pond of super talented somebodies. But, I was determined to reach my goals, which meant pushing through the anxieties and fears and putting myself out there everyday.

When you only have 74 days to get a job, you pull out all the stops to get the right people’s attention. Being unknown in a completely new city meant making all new connections, hustling everyday, and working towards, what some have called, a fool’s errand. It’s incredibly difficult to break into the creative advertising industry, let alone do it in a foreign country where visas are an issue. But as I said before, you make the move, you hustle. It’s as easy as that.

In my time in the Netherlands I’ve met with at least 75 different creatives from all kinds of different agencies. I’ve met people from agencies like 72&Sunny to Anomaly to Wieden + Kennedy to Woedend! Agencies big and small, Dutch and international. Each time I met with someone I was able to make a new creative connection, which lead to another connection. Expanding a network and creating a web of people who believed in me and wanted to help find the right agency to take me in was pivotal to my success here. If you’re curious as to how I managed to do this, I did what every creative would do. I did everything from making stickers on my laptop that read “starving art director” to sending photos of myself pretending to be dead to a creative director. I was creative. I found ways to talk to people that were different from you stereotypical emails.

The stickers I made ended up making me LinkedIn famous (sort of), which turned into meetings and interviews with people all over Amsterdam. Those meetings led to more, and eventually, bada-bing bada-boom I got a job. With nearly two days left on my visa, I accepted a position at Studio Lore and Brand Articulations, and had a sponsored visa application sent in to the immigration office here in the Netherlands. So, you’re reading the words of the newest addition to the BA/SL fam, who has now spent the past two weeks working her ass off. Just goes to show, getting the job is only half the battle, once you’re in it is where the real fun starts.

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Ami is a hair-twirling, pumpkin-wearing, polyglot, and creative who traded hot, humid Texas summers for frigid, wet Holland winters. Check out her most recent work at www.amiartiz.com and drop her a line if you know where she can get the best stroopwafels in Amsterdam.