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dianaKnowitall.ch has teamed up with Diana Ritchie, owner and founder of SCC Sarl, to provide you with some useful tips for job hunting. Diana has been operating successfully in the region for over 10 years, providing career-related counseling, networking and coaching to partners and spouses of international employees relocating to Switzerland. 

Swiss Career Connections (for private clients) 
www.scc-centre.com

Spouse Career Centre (for corporate clients)
www.spousecareercentre.com

career scc

Image courtesy of Master isolated images / freedigitalphotos.net

By Diana Ritchie, Spouse Career Center and Swiss Career Connections

It reminds me of the saying, what do you want to do when you grow up?  We all know that when we grow up we will work, but do we all know that we get to choose what we do when we grow up?  As a student I didn’t.  I studied Economics at university because my father was a successful business man and wanted his children to study commerce.Well I did not get into the faculty of commerce at McGill University and since I liked and did well in Economics in my final year of High School in Toronto, I took the next best thing, a BA in Economics.  My real first job out of University was selling Life Insurance and I was very good at it and I enjoyed it because I was good at sales.  Was this my dream job? No, but it had aspects of what I enjoy, a flexible job, meeting new people, helping people and being creative.  

Statistics show different figures but in summary about 80% of people in the Western world do not like their jobs.   Jobs as we know them today are a legacy from the industrial revolution and the terms they used have stayed with us to the present; terms such as compensation (meaning payment for your time at work), labour (referring to staff) and Human resources (similar to natural resources).  Work historically was not meant to be enjoyable and even today we work so we have money to do what we enjoy.  What if our job was what we enjoyed?  I sometimes hear people say, “Why should I be paid for doing something I enjoy?” I would like to believe that we are coming around to the idea that work does not need to be hard and unpleasant, that getting paid to do something we like and enjoy is the norm and that employers (and many are starting to realize this) are responsible to their employees to ensure that they are happy and enjoying their job.  Evidence of this is the ratings on the best employer published by Forbes, CNN, Guardian, etc.

hiddenjobmarket

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / freedigitalphotos.net

By Diana Ritchie, Spouse Career Center and Swiss Career Connections

Spouse Career Centre was established in Basel in 2001.  We began as a pilot with Novartis, one of the biggest companies in Switzerland, who wanted to attract a large number of dual career couples.  We tailored a career service for them that aimed to help them attract and retain international transferees and hires.  In order to ensure that the partner who was the job seeker had full access to the job market, we went job hunting with them, and as we introduced them to other companies, these firms recognised the valuable service we were offering and brought us into their own mobility offers as partners in their human resources management.

The challenge for multinationals has not changed. In fact, it has become more urgent, as expat packages are no longer the norm, and most dual career couples are arriving on a local contract, which means that both partners in the couple have a strong desire – and even need – to work. Our signature service, which is “Plug into our Network” has therefore become even more valuable to both our multinational and private clients.

The reason is simple. People new to the area do not have an established network of contacts within companies, agencies etc.  Yet with the high number of applicants for every job available, thanks to the current state of the economy, it is essential, now more than ever, to target the region’s “hidden” job market, which means who you know and who knows you matters.  This is the subject I want to discuss: the hidden job market, which (so it’s claimed) represents some 70% of the available jobs in the region.

elpitch web

By Diana Ritchie, Spouse Career Center and Swiss Career Connections

Swiss Career Connections recently ran a workshop entitled “Inside secrets to becoming a top candidate”. Held at the Chambre Vaudoise du Commerce et de l’Industrie (CVCI) http://www.cvci.ch/ in collaboration with International Link http://www.internationallink.ch/, the workshop was designed to help those looking for “the edge” on how to secure a job in the Lake Geneva region. Judging by the feedback of our participants, many of our secrets were particularly well received!

One topic that was covered in the workshop was the so-called “Elevator Pitch”. This is such an important part of the job search process that we are frequently asked, as experts on the topic, to provide more information on how it works at local seminars and workshops. So, I thought as a gift to everyone, I would share with you the elements of a successful elevator pitch so you may also benefit.

What is an Elevator Pitch? An elevator pitch, as the name indicates, is a pitch that is short enough to fit within an elevator journey. Why is it necessary? An elevator pitch is seen as a hook that incites the receiver (the person you are speaking with) to say “tell me more”, to pose follow up questions, to ask for your business card, to invite you for a meeting, or to refer you to someone else. Why is this important? Well imagine you are face to face with the manager of your ideal job, or the golden client, or a colleague at work and he asks “So what do you do?” Do you have an answer prepared or will you stumble your way through, perhaps losing an opportunity?

workshop

By Diana Ritchie, Spouse Career Center and Swiss Career Connections

I was speaking with a friend the other day and she was explaining how she feels like she has been held back by the notion that she wants to and has wanted to move back “HOME” every since she arrived in the region some 11 years ago.  She still waits for her visits home to cut her hair, to do her shopping, to stock up on her favorite food items, and does not partake in all that is offered here, as she waits to go “HOME”. She also spoke with envy how a mutual friend managed to get a job in a foreign country – here where she lives.  Her feeling of frustration at not knowing how to move on with her life “HERE” is common and felt by many expats, newcomers, and even old-comers.

Do you share her feelings of straddling two countries, one foot here and the other foot on “HOME” turf?  Do you feel like if only I was “HOME” I would know how to find a job, and could get on with my life, but here it feels like my life is on hold, or much worse, unpleasant?

As Managing Director of the Spouse Career Centre and Swiss Career Connections, a qualified Sophrologist, and an NLP practitioner, I have organized and will assist in the production of three workshops, designed to help participants make the most of their time abroad.

diana240A new career support service has been set up in the region to help English speakers further their career development in Switzerland.

Called Swiss Career Connections, the service is being provided by the Spouse Career Centre (SCC), which has been operating successfully in the region for over 9 years, providing career-related counseling, networking and coaching to partners and spouses of international employees relocating to Switzerland.  Until now, this service was provided exclusively to multinational companies for the benefit of their employees.

Describing the new service, SCC Director, Diana Ritchie, says, “At Swiss Career Connections we believe a career support service should provide a 360° approach to active job-hunting.  From the start, you will be supported by our trained and experienced career coaches on a one-to-one basis. We will help you to develop and profile your skills, know-how and experience, keep you motivated and on track, prepare you for effective job searching, and guide you through the application process.  We will also show you how to use your network more effectively and build upon it as well as benefit from ours.”

She continues, “Experience shows us that this approach adds value in a number of key areas.  Not only does it give you a better understanding of how to position yourself in the Swiss job market, but it also improves your self-marketing ability and your competencies awareness level.  By improving your access to and impact on potential employers, it ultimately increases your chances of securing employment.”

Clients will be able to choose from four packages, each tailored to individual needs and budgets.  The table below shows the key elements of the four tracks on offer (Smart Support Services), with descriptions for each.

Switzerland: the promised land, beautiful mountains, clean streets, efficient transport system, excellent quality of life - who wouldn’t jump at the chance to live here?  The answer is: those who will give up their job to follow their partner.  Who wouldn’t live here forever? The answer is: those who want to work here but have not succeeded in finding a job or settling in.

The Spouse Career Centre (SCC) works with dual career couples intent on making their relocation a success, by finding a job, setting up a business or settling in. 

A successful career search is based upon understanding the local job market, having and successfully using your network, dedication, remaining motivated and knowing the job search process.  The centre has successfully supported expats for the last 10 years throughout Switzerland in all of these areas.  

Diana Ritchie, Managing Director for SCC in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, provides a few brief tips, to keep in mind while you job hunt:

1.    Job openings are found:

a.    on the internet (job search websites like jopup.ch, jobs.ch)
b.    through word of mouth – important to work and expand your network
c.    sending spontaneous applications to targeted and well researched companies

2.    It takes on average 4-6 months to find a job.

3.    Your resume and covering letter should clearly state what you can do for your potential employer.

4.    It is an employer’s market and job advertisements ask for it all (5 languages, relevant experience, MBA, willing to muck in where needed etc.).  Do not get discouraged – you do not have to have 100% of the requirements to apply, 80% could be enough, especially if they do not find the candidate who has the 100%.  If in doubt call ahead and ask.

5.    Recruitment in Switzerland can appear like a black hole – you send your application and never hear back.  I have no explanation as to why this happens, but I can recommend that you follow up on your applications whenever possible.

TRAILING MALE SPOUSE/PARTNER
If you know of a trailing male spouse/partner interested in sharing their relocation experience via SCC’s online survey, please direct them to:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/spousecareercentre

As encouragement they will be invited to a men’s night out.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about SCC’s services please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.