So here you are. Settled in Switzerland and ready to start looking for a job. Your spouse, whose international assignment led you here in the first place, is enjoying his/her new job. The children are feeling comfortable in their new school and your house finally feels like home. Eager to reestablish your professional self, you prep your résumé, send it out and wait for the interview invitations to roll in. After all, you’ve been working in your field for 15 years in a well-known company. So what’s with all the rejection emails you’re getting?
When a dual-career family accepts an international assignment, it’s likely that the trailing spouse will be left with the challenge of finding a new professional identity. In many cases the visa issued to the non-working partner limits the kind of contracted employment they can accept, the type of work that existed back home doesn’t necessarily exist in Switzerland or requires speaking the local language plus one of the other three official languages, and sometimes it’s a simple matter of adapting your résumé to Swiss standards. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable and expected to include your picture, birthdate, marital status, citizenship and visa type in your résumé.
Expat spouses in search of new employment is a common theme for many coaching sessions. Giving up your career for the sake of your partner’s means you’ve lost an important part of yourself and often feel lost. While the assigned partner starts a new career and receives career coaching from his/her company, the non-working partner is on his/her own, feeling alone and depressed. This inevitably leads to frustrations in the relationship.
What can you do, when you in such a situation?
1) Gather as much information about your host labor market as possible.
2) Find professional advice on how to adapt your résumé to the local market.
3) Define your transferrable and global skills.
4) Discuss freelancing with your former employer before you quit.
5) Get a “return ticket” to your former employer.
6) Discuss with your spouse how your career, not just theirs, will benefit from the move.
7) Agree on a long-term vision of both of your careers and how they will fit in your life plan.
This will not only help during your time in Switzerland, but also prepare you for the next time you move to a new place.
What else have you done to prepare for job searching in Switzerland?