Author Archives: Nabeha

 

I’m sure everyone has noticed the arrival of fall by now – the avalanche of brilliant red-golden leaves falling off trees, the shortening of precious daylight hours and the sudden briskness in the breeze.

While the beauty of a European fall is unparalleled, for some people the shorter days and cold weather heralds a period of demotivation. For me it is the “Zurich fog” and November that gets to me. So I have thought about ways to make November bearable.

Dealing with feelings of loneliness is doubly tough when you are an expat who just arrived here. However, even international people who have lived here for years sometimes miss good friends in this city.

Feeling lonely can affect not just your work performance, but your everyday life too. So today, I’d like to talk about ways in which we can keep ourselves inspired and motivated through November and the impending winter months, especially if we don’t have a family here.

Forestalling November Blues

 

Plan and stick to an exercise routine

Another critical component of improving your health is to fix and improve your sleep regimen. In today’s always-on era, we are all guilty, to a certain extent, or taking actions that poorly affect the quality of our sleep. So here is a short primer on how to get better, more refreshing sleep daily:

Take your mobile devices to bed. Give them a place in your home outside of your bedroom where you place them by 9 pm. After you’ve put your phone to bed, don’t touch it anymore. Use the “sleep” mode to block incoming messages. Turn off the buzzers.

Stop using all electronic devices two hours before you want to sleep. Studies show that the light emitted by screens can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake rhythms. Instead, consider going to bed with a novel or other light reading (again, not on devices).

Practice relaxation techniques such as PMR. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is especially beneficial for reducing muscle tension caused by psychological stress and has a proven rejuvenating effect if practiced regularly.

Get up at the same time every morning. This loops back to the discussion on how routine-building is beneficial to physical and mental health.

Learn a creative skill

An unforeseen consequence of expatriation is just how much every aspect of it takes over your life – from the learning curve of the new job to the subtle details of integrating into a new culture and country.
By the end of the day you may find yourself with no time left for your own growth.

In the scenario described above, it can be tough to carve out regular time for developing creative skills that interest you, especially if you don’t have an accountability buddy or coach to keep you motivated.

How does one find inspiration? I find that duplicating, or being a part of what the creative community does every fall is an excellent way to both build new relationships and spend time on yourself. In particular, I am referring to trends such as Inktober (in October) and National Novel Writing Month (in November) where large swathes of communities online and offline get together to create and explore their artistic sides daily for the duration of that month. We have our very own Zurich writer’s community supporting you with the Woolf.

If such creative endeavours appeal to you, definitely pursue them! Otherwise, you can utilise the same template for whatever skill you are looking to develop. Devote a fixed amount of time daily where, distraction free, you engage in a certain skill-building activity. As with the previous suggestion on exercise, routine and regularity is key! This is the reason why I encourage you to write those 25 minutes practices into your RockMeApp and tick them off at the end of the week. A good practice would be: “On 5 days out of 7, I’m writing my long-hand diary 25 minutes a day to develop a writing routine”.

Understand and explore your host culture through the German language

Though any time of the year is a good time to increase your understanding of the host country’s culture, fall is especially important. The weather is kinder towards cultural events like music festivals, theater and cinema, the perfect opportunity for you to interact with like-minded people at social events and integrate into society!

In fact, while we’re on the subject of exploring culture and language, I’d like to bring your attention towards a play being performed at the Schauspielhaus Zurich, Faust I.

Not only is Goethe’s Faust I considered the pinnacle of German literature, but its theater adaptation is also the most popular German-language play. I highly recommend that you take some time out to attend this play, its impact is felt not just in German culture but in cultures across the world. You can also read up some backstory to the epic tragedy of Faust before attending the performance.

SPOTLIGHT: Goethe’s Faust I at the Schauspielhaus

I would like to highlight just what makes this performance of Faust I so special. The Schauspielhaus Zurich is one of the most prominent theaters in the German-speaking world, with an auspicious history dating back all the way to 1892, when it served as a stage for vaudeville performances and live music. Hosting a play as illustrious as Faust at a location that is essentially hallowed grounds for German arts and heritage essentially makes it the cultural event of the year! To celebrate with the international community in Zürich, the Schauspielhaus invites us to a special event.

All performances at the Schauspielhaus feature English surtitles now.

There will be an English-speaking introduction with welcome drinks starting at 6.15 pm. This is not only a great chance to learn more about the German culture. It’s also a cozy way to meet like-minded professionals. We invite the Global People Club for:

Saturday, 9  November 2019 at 6:15 pm

“Goethe, the Schauspielhaus Zurich and what it means for your integration”
– An English-speaking introduction to the house by one of the Schauspielhaus directors combined with welcome drinks.
7:00 pm – 10:20 pm
Play: Faust I by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Staging: Nicolas Stemann.

As a reader you can get two tickets for the price of one in any category for this special event on Saturday, 9 November 2019. To book your tickets, please email or call the box office by Monday, 4 November 19 with the code “Meet Schauspielhaus” and mention “GlobalPeopleTransitions”. 

Tel: +41 44 258 77 77
E-Mail: theaterkasse@schauspielhaus.ch

If you have any questions about the event you can also contact me. I will be there as well. If you have never read Faust I before I’d advise that you read it before the play. In my opinion this play is the key to understanding the “German soul”. You can see more details about the play on the Schauspielhaus website.

A guest post by Nabeha Latif – Social Media Guru at SparkZing


This week I’ll be talking about one of the most important tools in a professional’s repertoire: the LinkedIn profile. With over 500 million users, a LinkedIn profile isn’t just an afterthought, it is a mainstay of modern recruitment. Something that essential needs to be mastered fully, so let’s get to it. Presenting:

Top 10 Tips for a Killer LinkedIn Profile

1 – Get a personalised URL

In my experience, far too many professionals forget to do this, often because they simply forgot about it. LinkedIn provides you the ability to discard the standard URL (which is a jumble of letters and numbers) and have a vanity URL instead. This personalised URL can be used to promote your profile in email signatures, on business cards, portfolios and resumes. It also gives you the ability to target better organic SEO by putting in your job title or industry. Having your profile appear as a top Google search result against a job title keyword is a pretty useful trick! Check out LinkedIn’s own guide on setting up a personal URL for your profile here.

2 – Nail that headline!

You’ve got only six seconds to catch the attention of a recruiter on LinkedIn, which makes your headline absolutely do-or-die. Do make sure your headline contains the necessary keywords that are SEO friendly (that is, they contain certain words that people generally use when searching for the relevant job title or industry) and allow people to identify your industry with ease. Do make the most of the allotted 120 characters, don’t just write your job description. Try being playful (if appropriate) with word choices – sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. Of course, don’t forget your real purpose: catching a recruiter’s attention. If your profile views drop, a reason could be that your headline needs to be re-worked.

3 – Populate your experience

Just like some people sometimes forget to update our CVs, LinkedIn profiles too can become stagnant. That’s why, every so often, you should sit down and make sure that everything from your summary, work history, projects, trainings and education is up-to-date. It helps to employ the same sort of creativity you used to create your perfect headline to show how you excelled during a particular role. Make sure that you review and plug in any gaps that may have been left in the first time round. The more a hiring manager sees of you, the easier it makes for them to decide if you meet their requirements.

If you have privacy concerns, you can choose not to share details about your career or self that you consider sensitive, as a LinkedIn profile is public and trawled by internet search engines. Concerns about private data stored by LinkedIn can be addressed by going through their GDPR-compliant privacy policy.

4 – Get creative!

This is the third time I am mentioning creativity – that is how important it is. In a sea of automation (LinkedIn now has a feature that autofills your summary), it is very easy to drown in the overwhelming number of similar looking profiles. Learning to showcase your skills and experience in a smart, catchy manner greatly increases your chances of getting noticed by the right people. Put in media from YouTube, your favourite design wireframes or any public mentions or accolades you may have accumulated! You can do that by going to Add Profile Section > Accomplishments and choosing the appropriate section.

5 – Engage, engage, engage

LinkedIn is a social network after all and engagement is key to building a healthy profile. Engaging with peers through endorsements is a positive methodology, not only will you establish a good rapport with your network but will receive endorsements in return. That rapport can help you reach out for recommendations, an important aspect of building your brand and establishing yourself as a significant presence in your industry.
It is also imperative that you join the conversation. On groups, with key influencers, with colleagues and peers. Profiles that engage actively on groups are 5 times more likely to be viewed!

6 – Master the algorithm

A killer LinkedIn profile is one that hits the top of the search results every time someone searches for a certain kind of professional. Want your profile to be the one the LinkedIn search algorithm chooses? Here’s how: Complete your profile, 100%.

LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to give top priority to profiles which are complete (they are referred to as “All Star Profiles” and only 51% of users have those). This means that if you missed out on any aspect of your profile, you will essentially be invisible in the search results. No one wants that.

On the subject of LinkedIn Premium: spending money on a premium account will not affect your profile in any way, there are no new features there. Those accounts are targeted more towards recruiters and job seekers looking to directly connect with people not on their network. That is why purchasing a premium account will not be helpful in improving the quality of your LinkedIn profile

7 – SEO is king

Some digital specialists posit that the modern Internet is driven solely on SEO. That may be debatable but in the case of LinkedIn, that is very much true! Make sure that your profile is the one found by external search engines: optimize job titles, descriptions and as previously mentioned, in the vanity URL. All these fields are text only and thus will be parsed by search engines, you want to maximise your chances of being the top of those result lists. “Digital Guru” may sound like a catchy job title but people searching for “digital marketer” or “digital marketing specialist” will never know of you! The key is to keep it simplistic so that you can be easily found.

8 – Be pixel perfect!

Having a professional profile picture on LinkedIn is critical – first impressions matter! Questions to ask yourself when selecting a profile picture: Does it have a neutral background? Are you appropriately dressed? Did a professional photographer take the picture or is it just a selfie?

I’m also going to direct you towards how you can elevate your profile by making sure you optimize the technical aspects of the images you use. Hootsuite covers it in great detail if you’re interested, but to summarize: Make sure your images are the right aspect ratio, meet the minimum pixel count and are the correct file types. You don’t want your images to be blurry or misshapen due to incorrect dimensions!

9 – It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

You burn through an entire weekend getting your profile into tip-top shape. Great, you now have a killer LinkedIn profile! However, what happens after a week? A month? Six months? Remember this statistic: 40% of LinkedIn’s active user-base logs in daily to the platform. These are the people who take time out every day to post, interact, tweak and improve their profiles, connections and more. Emulate them, make LinkedIn a part of your routine, it will maintain your profile as one of the best and help maximise your chances of catching the eye of recruiters, should you be looking for a new job.

10 – Run a company? Treat the page as you would your profile

If you run your own business and have it listed on your LinkedIn profile, you should make sure that the company page receives the same care and attention as your profile. After all, both must reflect the same values. Rigorously fill in and verify the information pertaining to your company, set up a consistent posting schedule and boost posts from your own employees – all add up to creating an interactive and healthy social space around your company.

***
A reminder: I will be offering this year’s RockMeRetreat from 21 November to 28 November. The RockMeRetreat is a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany, where you will get to network with other Expat Leaders and Professionals and develop your global leader competency.

The RockMeRetreat is designed to amplify your success on your chosen career path and help you move towards the breakthrough you need to become a Rockstar in your chosen field!

Sign up here for entering the conversation with me. If you wish to speak to me directly, please book an appointment by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Angie.

PS: Meet me to discuss your participation in the RockMeRetreat November 2019 by booking your special Rockstar Session with me now.