Tag Archives: Job

Guest Blog by Morgane A. Ghilardi

So, I was an 18-year-old BA student, had just gotten both my first apartment – a tiny studio in a slightly scary neighborhood –, and my first real, paid job – with a slightly scarier boss. Life had suddenly gotten very serious; being fiscally responsible and self-sufficient was no longer reserved to adults.

It took me a while to adjust to the situation, as the reality of being in charge of prp_working-mom-300x300.jpgutting food on the table, paying rent, and what seemed like an unreasonable amount of bills – don’t even get me started on Billag – was completely overwhelming. Nonetheless, I remember thinking to myself that I was the third generation in a family of strong women who have always been in charge of providing not only for themselves, but also for their families.

Although that thought is a comforting reminder of the determination and strong desire for independence that runs in the family, it has also been a source of anxiety. My great-grandmother and grandmother left France to live and work in Switzerland, while my mother was born in Zurich in the 1960s. In spite of speaking two of the national languages, all of them faced adversity for being foreigners.

And of course, they all experienced a Switzerland in which women were still expected to adhere to traditional gender roles, even after being granted the right to vote and access to the political sphere on a federal level in 1971. All of them had to work hard with less (if any) chances of promotion and lower wages than their male equals, while also providing for the family.

Husbands and fathers were not a constant in that equation – though not always by choice –, which is why I always saw these women’s autonomy as an extraordinary achievement considering the context of Swiss culture. However, I am also very aware that life has been neither easy nor fair to them. How does my life compare to that?

Now 24 years old and nearing an MA degree in English and Gender Studies, I recognize both my privileged position and the challenges ahead. While I am grateful for the education and professional opportunities I’ve had so far, I still see that these are strange times for working men and women in Switzerland.

Gender roles, which are deeply connected to economic and social structures, are still being negotiated and tested; we experience that in everyday life. Stay-at-home and part-time working dads and husbands are not an accepted norm yet. In the media, we witness a discomfort towards women’s claim for equal opportunities, as it is spun into some kind of epic battle of the sexes or an attempt to drown out the voices of men who also are struggling in this fast-changing society.

Looking at both women’s past and future as providers, it is obvious that we have been navigating uncharted waters, and that won’t change for some time. But if we just keep in mind that we have the right to ask for support and acceptance, that this is a path that we tread as a collective but also as individuals, we never need to feel like we have to apologize for being overwhelmed and apprehensive at times.

3b77984

Morgane A. Ghilardi, MA students at the University of Zurich & editor at Adwired AG 

Twitter: @MorganeGh

LinkedIn: Morgane A. Ghilardi

 

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?

Global Mai 13 _074

Bangalore Traffic
Bangalore Traffic – Different vehicles with different speed

Once you understand how to adapt your  application strategy to Switzerland you might feel frustrated by the amount of rejections you have received to date. Many of my clients are very eager in the beginning of their job search and after about four months reality of the Swiss job market hits them.
Additionally we are currently facing a lot of redundancies* which is knew for most Swiss employees.

This month I advise many clients to focus on one or applications per week but make them perfect. I think you can only stand out if you follow these four principles. I am sharing these with you today because I want to make you feel more motivated in your job search.

1) Stand out of the crowd by using your network

Use your network to follow up on your application or to support your application. Many HR processes in Switzerland are very standardized. It is usually necessary that you apply through a website first. However, you can ask your contacts in the company to follow up and support your application. This way the recruiter will be more inclined to take a closer look.

2) Have a perfectly branded motivation letter and résumé

I have previously written about how to write a good motivation letter. With résumé I advise you to seek a coach or consultant if you are not sure how to brand yourself. Most of my clients cannot tell me who they are professionally. We usually work that out within the first month of our cooperation. Once you know what you are good at you need to brand it in a way that is easily understood. This is not so easy but it can be done.

3) Less is more

Only apply to roles where you fulfill the criteria. Be honest to yourself. Then write on a piece of paper what you like about the company. On a second piece of paper note why you would like to work in this role. Based on these notes write a new motivation letter from scratch. This way you will avoid the copy and paste taste many motivation letters have.

4) Patience is beautiful

The recruiters are under a lot of pressure to make the right choice so be patient and nice with them. If you follow up wait for three weeks before doing so. If you follow up over the phone ensure they have time to understand who you are. Try to connect with the person by being friendly and professional.

What is your experience of the current job market? 

****

End of Series: 

With this article I am ending my series on “How to find a job in Switzerland“.

Here you find the other articles:

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2012/08/11/ten-tips-for-applying-for-a-job-in-switzerland/

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2013/01/08/how-to-apply-for-a-job-in-switzerland-2-testimonials/

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2013/01/23/how-to-find-a-job-in-switzerland-3-surviving-the-interview/

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2013/02/08/ch_4-how-to-write-a-good-referral/

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2013/02/14/how-to-find-a-job-in-switzerland-5-getting-professional-support/

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/2013/03/14/how-to-find-a-job-in-switzerland-6-top-10-tips-for-tempting-recruiters-so-they-want-to-meet-you/

Tips GPT_5

***

*If you are an international assignee or expat who moved here on a local contract and are concerned about redundancy you might want to participate in one of our workshops “Tough Times in the Land of Cheese and Chocolate“: http://globalpeopletransitions.com/executive_coaching/ttlcc/