Jobless in Brussels? A quick guide to first steps
There are three ways to find out you’ve lost your job in Brussels: verbally, by registered letter or by huissier, an official bailiff who serves official documents.
However it happens, losing your job is never pleasant, but it can be the start of better things. Belgium’s unemployment figures are below the EU average, and the country has the second-highest vacancy rate in the EU. You can increase your chances of landing one by being on top of what to do next.
Actiris is the front end of the Brussels employment office and the first thing to do is register with your local branch to safeguard your social security status and get help and advice. You don’t have to be entitled to unemployment benefits to take advantage of Actiris’s offer. Let’s repeat that for those at the back: you don’t have to be entitled to unemployment benefits to take advantage of Actiris. What’s more, you can choose to register with as many other communes or regions as you wish to access their job offers too.
You can register online or make an appointment to do it in person with an advisor. A visit to Actiris can be daunting, and my own experience of the front desk was not great. They deal with all sorts of people, some of whom are vulnerable and know little about the system. They can seem a bit brusque. Note that although you might have an appointment, people who arrive after you may be seen first. Remember, you don’t know what others’ circumstances are. Keep your cool and make sure you have your identity documents with you.
Define, refine and prepare
Beyond the front desk, things start looking up. Actiris agents can help define your job search, refine your CV and prepare the dreaded ‘letter of motivation’. You can sign up for a wide range of subsidised or free training. Belgian employers say that candidates lack hard skills, such as one of the official languages or technical expertise, so why not seize the opportunity to update or enhance your skillset?
The Actiris website provides a one-stop-shop for young people, professionals, employers and anyone interested in the Brussels job market. You can access your own space, save job searches, and delve into interactive marketplace information and monthly statistics. Networking and training events are listed. Heck, you don’t even have to lose your job to take a look; why not check it out today?