Karlijn van Klaveren

Proposition lead B2B Innovation

‘As a volunteer, I coach people who have a distance to the labor market.’   

Karlijn van Klaveren (28) is the Proposition Lead at NN. In addition, she volunteers as a coach for people who are distant from the labor market. She does this through Talentcoach, one of our social partners. Why does Karlijn find this volunteer work particularly appealing? And what does it bring her? "I find it very special that I can help someone light up again."

Steps to the labor market

Karlijn started her traineeship at NN in 2018. During her first week, she immediately came into contact with volunteer work. "I was allowed to help people with debts get their finances back on track," Karlijn says. "Very rewarding work."

The seed for volunteer work is planted. When Karlijn hears that NN is looking for volunteers for the 'LEF on the labor market' project of social partner Talentcoach, she responds immediately. With this project, Talentcoach aims to increase the self-confidence of people who are distant from the labor market so that they can take (new) steps in the labor market.

Karlijn says, "I found my own search for a job sometimes quite difficult. It helped me to think about what I can do for a company. I could now share that experience with others." She can also further develop her coaching skills with this project. "So, I learn something new myself while teaching something to others. That seemed fun and useful."

Learning from each other

Talentcoach matches volunteers like Karlijn with the project participants. "These people are distant from the labor market because they have, for example, become unemployed, have been ill for a long time, or do not have a diploma," explains Karlijn. Each participant follows a program at Talentcoach and also receives one-on-one guidance from a volunteer. Karlijn says, "For example, I conducted coaching conversations and helped with homework assignments for my participant."

Through Talentcoach, participants receive job application training and learn how to create a CV and video pitch of themselves. "I provide additional tips. How do you show your personality in your CV? And how do you tailor your CV to fit the industry you want to apply for?"

Due to the COVID-19 measures, all coaching takes place online. Just like the first meeting. "That was a bit exciting," Karlijn remembers. "My coachee is much older than me. Could I teach her anything? On the other hand, she turned out to look up to me. Fortunately, we were immediately open with each other about this. That strengthened our bond."

"What gives you energy?"

Many participants have a low education level or have not completed their education. Karlijn says, "That is why I emphasized personal competencies rather than diplomas in coaching conversations. What are you good at in daily life? What gives you energy?"

Her coachee tells her that she volunteers to help people with debts. And that she likes to take on projects at her children's school. "That's how we found out that she is very caring and decisive, good at networking, and dares to take the lead. Soon, a light bulb went off for her: maybe I can do something with this!"

Talking, Karlijn also finds out that her coachee wants to do something for others in her work. And that she wants to combine her love for people and numbers. "Together we explored the possibilities. Which functions would suit her? The special thing is: a week after she completed the program, she found her dream job: administrative assistant in the social sector. I am really proud of her."

Life lessons

The most important lesson Karlijn wanted to teach her coachee? "That she knows she can believe in herself. And that she feels strong. Of course, it is wonderful that she found her dream job so quickly. But suppose this hadn't worked out immediately. Then I hope that she still had the confidence in herself that the job would still come."

Karlijn also learned a lot herself. "I found it interesting to get to know someone with a completely different background than me. Earlier, I might have thought: if you want to work, there is always work to be found. Now I see that it really isn't that easy without a diploma."

According to Karlijn, it would be great if we looked more at people's personalities and competencies. "Who are you? What do you stand for? My coachee helps people from a good heart. She can connect people. Those are such valuable competencies. You don't learn those in school."

Meaningful work

From time to time, Karlijn still has contact with her coachee. "On her first day of work, I sent her a message to ask how it went. She also messaged me when I started a new job. I was happy to hear that she is doing so well."

Karlijn would like to coach someone again in the future. "You always have something to offer others: your experience, network, or vision of life. With that, you can help someone who doesn't see any possibilities at the moment. It is very special to me that, partly because of you, a light goes on in someone again, just by listening and asking questions."

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