My Top Seven Killer Tips for Jobseekers

Digital presence, Sign saying "Kiosk" - the best kiosk in town, best is replaced by "most expensive", many colors.

Here’s the thing with social media. Everyone keeps telling you that you must be on social media to develop your brand, but what nobody is telling you when you are a newbie is how much work it takes to develop a personal brand on social media. I’m not talking about being featured on posts that your employer (and their big marketing team and budget) developed to attract more clients. I’m talking about you and me as human beings. We thought about your struggle and came up with the Social Media Newbie Series for Global Nomads to help you understand LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but we got stuck in the detail ourselves and I realized from the questions you are asking that you might still wonder: 

What for? 

Is it worth my time and money? 

So, I thought that today we should take a step back and revisit why it is worth having a digital media presence and share with you my top seven killer tips for job seekers and solopreneurs (and those of you who share my vision of becoming digital global nomads).

As a Career Coach, I have encountered job seekers and freelancers, who still believe that they can thrive in today’s world without a digital presence. In short, they refuse social and professional networking as they feel they will be stalked or annoyed by others. I started with online networking on XING in 2004. Before that “networking” for me meant only person-to-person (or IRL – in real life if you are my age and don’t know what IRL means). 

I would regularly have lunch with different internal and external colleagues to find out about what is going on in their line of work. In the early millennium, the lunch date roster was your “dance card” and showed how popular you were.

It was almost embarrassing to lunch alone and if you were booked for several weeks this meant you had made it. It was part of the culture of that organization, but networking helped me to understand background stories, build trust, and get support on a variety of topics. I still prefer lunch dates over any type of online interaction, but as a creator, I have more influence and a bigger circle to reach out to if I leverage my online network too.

Remember that in Germany, Switzerland, and other “Coconut” cultures we tend to be very task-focused and have to invest in building relationships. (Yes, it takes us a lot of energy to get out of that Coconut-Face.)

If I look back, I also pulled my team members, trainers, providers, and friends from my network. The network expanded to external contacts and it got harder to maintain when I left Frankfurt for Zurich, but I started to build a new network, which helped me to build and maintain a start-up in a rather difficult economic environment. If I was looking for a full-time role now, I would certainly try and source it through my network. If I am looking to hire an intern, designer, or specialist I am going to rely on my network. We are teaching the idea of leveraging your network to find a job in Switzerland rather than only applying online in our HireMeExpress program.

I know that you might be afraid to put yourself out there and have people laughing at you trolling you or giving you negative feedback and comments. How do you even deal with that when you are already fragile and full of self-doubt daily?

Would it help you if I told you that I still go through the same fear and anxiety? Would it help you if I said: Yes, there are weird people on the Internet and many of them just want your money…but what if 10% of those following you, reading you, hearing you need to hear exactly what you have to say? What if there is one person out there who like me lost half of their family in a tragic accident and thought they would never, ever recover from that? What if one woman that you speak to just lost her child or her husband and needs to hear that it will be okay and that you are there for her? What if one person is listening to you who is about to kill themselves because they are so desperate and you tell them that they are loved and they hear that and they reconsider?

What if what you have to say is important for one person only?

Don’t you think it’s worth it?

Don’t you think it is worth half an hour of your time?

Remember that you are loved, you are safe, and you are among friends here. 

1) Focus on Your Followers

In all likelihood, you will meet most of your followers on LinkedIn if you are in a professional field like banking, accounting, or human resources. If you are a creative writer, you might want to focus on Twitter because this is where readers will gather their information. On the other hand, if you provide makeup tips in short videos you should focus on Instagram or YouTube. Try not to overwhelm yourself by joining all platforms at once. 

2) Develop A Digital Home

In times of social media, it is hard to understand why you need to have your digital home. Imagine it this way: When you are on Twitter it is like you are attending a huge networking event where you exchange information with colleagues and potential clients. If you want them to look at the information (“content”) that you produce you have to invite them to your “home”. And when you host a party at your place you have to give people directions on how to find you and a good reason to party with you. When you go to a party you don’t expect to be asked to buy something or pay for your beer, right? So, when you start out you would probably provide some of your content for free until you have a followership. Then you can move to a membership model. A membership model mastermind is Stu McLaren.

3) Build Trust First

The Internet is full of offers and scams. Before anyone wants to give you their email ID and bank details you will need to have their trust. You can develop trust by being a helpful source of information and by solving people’s problems. You can also build trust by being personable and by avoiding any sales touch in your content and copywriting. You can provide helpful advice and invite people to join your party, but you need to remember that building trust online is a step-by-step process that takes mastery. You can follow Amy Porterfield and Ash Ambirge for further advice.

4) Reduce Self-Promotion

Instead of promoting yourself, you should promote other people’s work. If you help others you will not come across as a big-headed egomaniac, but as someone who cares about people. There is a point where you can also show your work, but it needs to be in the context of solving a problem for your followers. For example, they might need a checklist or a how-to guide that you can provide when you often hear them ask you the same questions. I read that there is an 80/20-rule where 80% of the posts should be valuable content, and 20% you should promote your brand. So, in the case of your brand, you should talk about your work, what you have achieved, and other stuff related to your greatness for about 20% of your posts.

5) Curate Content

A retweet does not always mean that you endorse the opinion of the tweeter, but at least you can verify that the information is genuine and up-to-date and that links are working. If you are like me, you probably don’t read everything you would like to read, but you know where to find trusted sources and where to be skeptical.

6) Encourage Others to Have a Voice

I know many people who suffer from “imposter syndrome” and who are modest. It helps once in a while when you tell others that their work is helpful and that you are reading their updates or their input. Instead of expecting others to support you, you can do a lot more to support others. Be a giver on social media. Learn why this is important by reading and following Adam M. Grant.

7) Charge Your Purpose Batteries

A Digital Presence is great. If people deal with you in real life or on a call, they should be positively surprised by your genuine interest in them. One of the reasons for the lack of trust nowadays is that everyone is putting their interest in front. Many people have a hard time accepting support because they are not used to free help. They are used to being cheated and pulled over the table and you want to stand out. Charge your purpose batteries and get very clear on your purpose, and one-sentence mission, and become a real giver.

 

 

 

The ‘Bourne Effect’ – Why you Need a Brand

Why do you need a personal brand? How are your work principles related to your personal brand? The " Bourne Effect"

You are Jason Bourne, you wake up in a hotel room in a Middle Eastern country. It’s too hot in your room. You sweat and you just woke up from a nightmare. You are not sure if this nightmare is a memory because you cannot remember who you are. How will it be possible for you to connect with anyone? How will you trust others if you do not even know who you are? What if you have changed your identity so often that you cannot even clearly pronounce your name?

This is a challenge and you are probably shaking your head. “This is a movie, it’s not real.”. 

Yes, but there is a truth in this movie that is relevant to your job search in a new country. It might even be true if you are looking for a new job in your own country.

In professional life, we want to hire people we can trust. We want to hire a competent professional who can show us that they managed a similar challenge before. We want to work with people who will be self-starters and won’t need a year to be up to speed in the role.

You need a professional identity before you can enter the circle of trust. Trust starts with you trusting yourself, your knowledge, attitudes, skills, and experiences, and how you acquire and store them in your brain. You need to be aware of how you relax, how to focus and center yourself when you are in a critical and stressful complex matrix environment. 

I often notice when you come to see me, that you are not aware of most of your competencies. You take them for granted and assume that a recruiter, computer, or line manager will already know everything about you when they scan your resume because they are mind-readers and miracle workers.

For them, it is as obvious as all the three-letter acronyms you have been using on your résumé because English is their native language and they are working in a similar field, profession, and industry. 

What your brand should say about you?

When we speak about the personal brand it is something unique to you, something that makes people remember your name, that sticks with people and that keeps you top-of-mind when they are looking for someone with your profile. This brand is not just a marketing factor. Putting three labels (professional designations) on your résumé will help a reader to categorize you and put you in the right mental box.

Ideally, you keep reminding this reader of you so that the box is not closed but open, and so that the avatar in the box shines like a Swarovski crystal. Oh, look, here’s Jason Bourne again. Matt Damon is associated with this movie role. He will never be able to play any other role without us thinking: “Oh, that’s Jason Bourne!”.

When I saw “Hidden Figures” and when Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory appeared, I had to laugh. Then, I always waited for him to act like the Sheldon that he is BUT he was playing another role and did that well. It was hard for me to accept though, because for me Jim Parsons is not an identity. For me this guy IS Sheldon.

Imagine you are trying to re-brand yourself. It’s very difficult. Your former career image sticks to your face and to your online trail. I can tell a few CEOs who won’t find a job anymore because they are burnt.

What is your brand?

Your brand is not only your name, headshot, Insta handle, trademark, signature product, or the funny pink hat. It’s also how you make others feel. It’s what you express with your seven work principles. People should identify you with how you work and how you relate to others.

They should be happy to refer you to others by saying:

“She is competent and helped me on several occasions when I was stuck. She has been my greatest cheerleader.”

“He is true to his values and always seems to follow the correct move. He has never let me down.”

How to connect your brand with your seven work principles?

We recommend that you develop your seven work principles in alignment with your values. An example would be: “I prioritize my clients over my prospects.”. If your brand is aligned with your work principles, then your clients will tell you that you always take their concerns seriously and that you get back to them in an appropriate timeframe.

If you want this behavior to show, you could ask previous clients to endorse you for this behavior in their references and on LinkedIn. You could also try to write a special reference or recommendation about a person in your professional network, without expecting them to endorse you back. Please tell me how you will review your work principles this week and how you will align them with your brand. Then take a break and watch a movie. It’s inspiring.

Join my workshop on “Powerful Missions – Having a Voice in a Sea of Noise” by signing up for our Free Lunch Workshops or email me to get added to our HireMeExpress Waiting List.

 

Unpacking the Shortcomings of Lifestyle Expats

 

 

Seven Ideas to let go of Your old Career Image to Build Your Personal Brand

Angie Weinberger - Career Image and Personal Brand

Did you go to a party last night and ask Karen, the other Expat Spouse across from you, how she managed her transition to Switzerland? And did Karen say: “Just reinvent yourself!”.

This is a dreadful sentence to tell any newbie in a new place. 

This sentence is advice you often hear when you lose your work or are still looking for a new job in Switzerland. 

You are a New York, London, Frankfurt, or Mumbai professional. You have a career stamped on yourself. Telling you to reinvent yourself is like saying, “Why don’t you just run a marathon after recovering from COVID-19.” People make it sound so simple; it makes you feel guilty and shameful because it seems to them it’s something that you can or should do.

Not only is reinventing yourself a considerable challenge (on top of the extra obstacles you will face in a new and less well-known environment), but doing so often means letting go of your dreams. And accepting that is a big challenge in itself when you are sacrificing your goals so that your partner can follow theirs.

At parties, you say, “I’m a Senior Consultant / Director / Lawyer / Doctor / Scientist.” Then, you talk about the pleasure of long-distance travel in times of terrorism, or you mention that your partner is away too often and that the kids know the nanny better than their parents, or you explain that you never go to the city because you feel that childcare is too expensive. You rather stay at home than trust your kids to another person.

Your professional reputation has fueled your ego, and you did everything to improve it. You attended courses, webinars, conferences, and networking events and read everything you could about the topic while commuting to work. Not to mention that you routinely ensured that your social media profiles reflected your success only, and you confirmed your name was published at least once a year.

Then out of the blue (or even because you were following a long-term idea), your spouse gets a job offer in Basel, Switzerland, or your job is outsourced to Pune, India. After the initial excitement or shock, you start to consider what a career change means for you right now. You can consult blogs and books on the matter. From one day to the next, you worry about your branding as a professional. And you might even notice that you don’t know what you want.

Finding out what you want is difficult, so I recommend you work with a career coach to develop a vision of your next role and a long-term career vision. What I found even more challenging, though, is to let go of my old career. 

I had acquired a status in HR, and in my new role, I felt like a beginner again. In our cultural context here in Switzerland, we say, “Schuster bleib bei Deinen Leisten!” (Cobbler, stick to your last!). We are encouraged to change our chosen career paths.

 

The symbols of the Global Nomad

Let’s hang with the cobbler analogy for a while. I might not have told you yet that my grandpa was a shoe repairer in post-war Germany, and my grandma ran a shoe shop for the longest time, so I have a particular fondness for shoes, and the smell of leather and glue always brings me back to their workshop.

We know well that a shoe we have worn for a while is comfortable. New shoes often feel too tight or too big for us to fill. Imagine getting out of your patent leather shoes and into hiking boots. That would be comparable to the change you are going through.

It would help if you broke your new career boot in. You might know consciously that the hiking boot is more practical, fits better to your personality, and has more value on icy mountain grounds, but you still feel the burden of a heavier shoe.

It would be best to throw your old patent leather shoe into the mental “Altkleidercontainer” (the recycling bank for old clothes and shoes). Here are seven ideas on how you can do that.

  • Advantaging: Write down all the advantages of the hiking boot. Think of every aspect of your new career and how it looks and feels. Run meticulous research. Interview industry experts and speak to friends who work in this area.
  • Wearing: Work in your hiking boots at least one or two days a week by volunteering or finding a cause in this profession worth supporting. Get a consulting project before you commit full-time.
  • Pretending: Pretend you are already experienced in walking with the hiking boot, attend seminars and networking events wearing a badge with your new role, and have business cards printed.
  • Updating: Update all your biographies, social media profiles, and websites and show that you are wearing the boot already. Mention your new role and functional title. Be the career you want to be.
  • Noting: Leave post-its in your office, bathroom, and home with a visual anchor. For example, if you want to become a scientist working in the pharma industry, you could jot down a company logo that you find attractive or a picture of you with security glasses.
  • Spacing: Develop a space that signifies “productive work” in your new career. It could be an office or an area on your kitchen table. This area is reserved for work in your new job only.
  • Storytelling: Write down your ideal client’s story, someone who will depend on the results or fruits of your new labor. Who is that person, what is essential to that person, and how does this person live?

 

These are seven ideas for letting go of your old career and reinventing yourself. There you have it. Do let us know how you are handling it, and if you need help progressing, you can always email me.

The ‘Bourne Effect’ – Why you Need a Brand

Expat Spouse Career Program HireMeExpress Zurich – From Frustrated to Fantastic in 90 Days.

Second-Class Commuter – Showing Status in an Egalitarian Culture


As a Swiss resident, have you ever pondered over your social status living in Switzerland? 

Whether the minor details that portray status such as the level of luxury you adhere to while commuting on the train? The transport system in Switzerland is very well laid out and fully planned, so much so that the railway system is the primary commute system for most. Trains have two categories or classes, aptly named the first and second class. The first class is geared more towards “business people” and professionals on their daily commute to work, whereas the second class or lower class is reserved for the “normal” or median people of society. The question arises that, the system set in place is very clean and safe, with emphasis put on an effective schedule and overall experience, so why is there any need to travel in first class other than seeking out a higher status in society?

I am a second-class commuter and by choice. The train gets me from point A to B without lacking anything in between. I’ve traveled in first class on a few business trips, and I proclaim to not be aware of or ignore my status however that isn’t true. After meeting many expats and foreign personnel, most come from a high and elaborate social lifestyle from their respective homelands, pouring their wealth into extravagant luxuries to portray their accumulation of wealth. 

Many of them have informed me of their housemaids, cooks, and sometimes even drivers, as they aren’t accustomed to housework and chores let alone looking after their children. Their perception of Switzerland is that they will fit seamlessly and thrive in a land of milk and honey (or cheese and chocolate in our case!).

But then again! The Swiss lifestyle and reality is far different. When we discuss privilege and being in the “Circle of Trust”, we must understand what status means in an egalitarian society and how it might be different from a more hierarchical society or a society where you are born into a status.

The “Classic” Family Model

Life, although simple, is beautiful in Switzerland for the “natives”, that is, women are more likely to uphold the household and carry out the associated burdens of home economics. Running the home and grooming their kids is all part of the routine, yet if the women are professionals they’ll take a step back after their first child to accommodate the family. Women only received voting rights in Switzerland in 1971 and there is still a lot of catching up to do when it comes to gender balance and equal rights for women in the workplace.

You must not forget that the Swiss also often have their parents and in-laws nearby, so they have support options for childcare and emergencies that you might not (yet) have as a newcomer to this country.

Childcare is very expensive, gross childcare costs were equal to 69 percent of the average wage in Switzerland, the highest proportion among OECD countries in 2018, based on a double-income, average-wage-earning couple with two children! 

That is more than half of the mean income a household generates. Switzerland also lacks in qualified educators, but fees for private kindergartens are quite high, with an indicative day cost of CHF 60 to CHF 150 for cities like Bern and Zurich. (If you are interested in working in childcare, I highly recommend a consultation with my friend Monica Shah at Children First.)

So many women decide to stay home or not work 100% and if you are a female expat with children (or even without) it might be expected that you do the same. 

Other Support Options I Have Tested

Opting for a cleaning person was a trial-and-error story for me. I was very used to having a cleaner, even in my early career but even those who may afford it are often not satisfied by the quality of work given the steep price you may have to pay. I tried several agencies for cleaning and finally concluded that I’d rather do it myself (together with my partner). This is not great, because I’m not very good at cleaning and ironing but I have gotten better over the last 10 years. To be honest, now I often feel that it even helps my brain digest all that has been going on during the week. If you are planning to hire a cleaner make sure that they are insured either through an agency such as Batmaid or you run your payroll with SVA.

Egalitarian Cultures value Modest Behavior

Cultural clashes here are evident due to the difference in “status” as compared to elsewhere in the world. High-ranking professionals such as CEOs are often seen taking the bus and train to work. Their appearance isn’t necessarily associated with designer suits, expensive cars, and watches. The Swiss tend to live a modest life, with small houses they do not like to show off. They define their status and luxury by traveling the world, bearing children, and enjoying a vacation in a nice cottage in the mountains. 

Luxury is a longer period taken off work to follow a dream, being able to volunteer, support an NGO, or support the commune by being in the fire brigade or in an association. Being able financially to work part-time or have your spouse stay at home are signs of luxury in the world today.

I often hear “The Swiss don’t like to work hard.” And I would like to add “The Swiss don’t have to work hard, but they still show up for work because they have a strong work ethic and believe in delivering high quality at work.” Your perception of what comes across as being slow or not interested in service delivery might be influenced strongly by your home culture and expectations created by how things are in your home turf.

Go through the Pain to Follow Your Dream

Although most steps may feel common when moving to a new country, it often takes a while to truly get settled in. Time and real integration play a vital role in my opinion, especially after two to three years. 

You start to enhance your social circle outside the reserved expat or foreign community, the sooner you embrace the country in its entirety is the sooner you feel “at home”. I used to have status in Germany. I was an Executive, a “Leitende Angestellte”. I had an apartment, a nice company car, and a team. I also had a cleaning person, a tailor, and enough money for several holidays and trips. Then I moved to Switzerland and suddenly my status changed. You probably wonder how I could let that happen as a Global Mobility professional. 

I should have made a net-to-net comparison and requested a better package. I should have insisted on coming to Switzerland with an appropriate corporate title AND I should have known that there would be social security risks when I transferred to a local contract. And yes, even though I am a Global Mobility Expert I made a few miscalculations. I did not get the deal I deserved and I suffered a few years from this mistake. I accepted the terms of the contract because I followed my dream. I wanted to live in Zurich no matter what. And when you are emotional about a goal in life, you easily forget the pain. 

Planning Magicians

Learn Budgeting and Cash Flow

What does this mean for the “second-class commuter” in Switzerland? It means learning and following more frugal habits and planning finances not just for the future but also for recurring expenses and lifestyle quirks. Based on my experiences and those of people who have lived in similar circumstances, here are the nine budgeting tips that will be helpful, especially for startups and entrepreneurs:

1) Carry very little money with you when you go to town. Leave your credit card at home. Use your credit card only for emergencies or online bargains. Have enough money to buy a cup of coffee (max 10 CHF).

2) Call a friend for coffee instead of dinner and hope that they will ask you to come to their house. Invite friends to your house for a glass of wine.

3) If you reach a milestone such as two years in the business, celebrate yourself at home. Cook a nice meal and buy healthy food.

4) Pay small amounts at the grocery store with your bank card so you see exactly what you spent your money for. When you go out for drinks or fun only carry cash and when you are out of cash return home. That’s especially important when you tend to buy expensive drinks at 15 CHF. (Imagine how long you work for one drink!)

5) Budget all your spending especially your holidays or how much money you spend on clothes, makeup, sunglasses, and shoes.

6) Strictly separate business from private spending but try to optimize your private spending by using legal options to deduct costs for a home office, laptops, phone, Internet connection, and cleaning services.

7) Avoid television and exposure to advertising. You feel a lot less like spending money on crap that you don’t need.

8) Avoid impulse buying decisions by adding all potential buys (books, seminars, travels) to wish lists. I even have a wish book. A lot of my wishes do not appear so important after a few weeks. Others just materialize themselves.

9) Love your business plan. Add anything you will earn right when you have the confirmation. Stay on the careful side but motivate yourself by adding all future turnover and checking the total annual turnover regularly.

If you need more advice on how to secure your old-age pension or budget your life in Switzerland without the hassle of watching every Franc, I highly recommend Keren-Jo Thomas, Financial Planning for Women.

How you show Status in Switzerland

A big luxury in Switzerland is being able to have one-half of a couple stay at home to oversee the children, oftentimes the woman fills in the role while the husband earns the bread. What will happen if you move to Switzerland, unpack your luggage and barely just settle in to realize you’ll have to live life like a “second-class citizen”? Feelings of struggle and working too hard at the office may arise with thoughts of not visiting the mountains as often as you’d have hoped for. 

Learn Swiss German or French

Expats, migrants, and international hires often underestimate the need to learn the local language Swiss German (or French), and in this phase doubt whether the move to Switzerland was the right choice. However, learning (at least understanding) the local dialect and language(s) will help you integrate and get access to what I refer to as the “Circle of Trust”.

With a more realistic idea of what to expect, detailed planning, and the right support in the face of challenges, you can offset the “valley of tears” associated with your move to Switzerland and achieve the financial and mental stability that every “second-class citizen” would like to achieve. If you need our support we are happy to connect you with the right resources.

Ideally, you join our HireMeExpress program or the RockMeRetreat in November.

Have an inspired week ahead

Angie

 

Empowerment Through Portable Careers: “build a business, build something that you can take to another country, because then at least you will feel like you’re doing something with your life and you’re not feeling like you’re just an attachment to somebody.”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nomadic-diaries/id1706683966

https://nomadicdiaries.buzzsprout.com/

 

References:

https://www.expat.com/en/guide/europe/switzerland/10476-child-care-in-switzerland.html

https://medium.com/gokong/how-to-budget-for-childcare-costs-in-switzerland-31e4f024214a 

Gaining an Overview of the Swiss Job Market as a Foreigner

HireMeExpress helps you to navigate the Swiss job market.

Are you interested in working in Switzerland? The Swiss job market offers a variety of opportunities for job seekers in industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and technology. However, before you start your job search, it’s important to research the industries and companies that interest you, as well as the current job market trends.

We understand that researching the job market can be a daunting task, especially if you’re looking for work in a new country. That’s why we offer specific resources to help you navigate the Swiss job market with confidence.

By using these resources and doing your own research, you can gain a better understanding of the Swiss job market and find the right opportunities for your skills and experience. So, whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional, consider exploring the job market in Switzerland and all that it has to offer.

To help you get started, here are some resources that can provide valuable information about the Swiss job market:

We will share further resources in our upcoming workshops and the HireMeExpress program.   👉 Sign up here to receive updates and invites to our upcoming free lunch workshops in April.

The Global Career Workbook

You will find more help if you go through The Global Career Workbook. If you found those tips about finding a job in Switzerland helpful and informative, then you don’t want to miss our HireMeExpress program. This program is designed to provide you with even more in-depth guidance and support. Within HireMeExpress, you’ll learn valuable tips and strategies for succeeding in the Swiss job market. We’ll cover everything from building a professional network from scratch and branding yourself suitably and modestly to improving storytelling for job interviews. Expat Coach Angie Weinberger provides you with personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and career goals. Whether you’re new to the Swiss job market or looking to take the next step in your career, this program is a great opportunity to gain valuable insights and connect with other job seekers.

 

The Global Career Workbook

👉 Sign up for our upcoming free lunch workshops with three female Expats

 

Start a Business or Land Your Dream Job with HireMeExpress – From Frustrated to Fantastic in 90 Days