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How to handle Jobhunting in Switzerland

If you are looking to find a job in Switzerland while abroad you may want to check this out, though the points are also valid for people looking for a job in the US.

I would like to contribute with a few comments based on my experience:

On the other side, the person looking to come back will often "bait and cast a line". Send in a resume, make a few phone calls and wait to see what comes out of it to decide whether or not they will come back and when. They expect headhunters to go out and find the perfect position for them.

When you combine these two realities, you get disappointments on the applicant side and frustration on the headhunter's side. That's the situation described in the different emails we have just read.

So, here are my recommendations:

  1. Make the decision to come back (for whatever reason), and decide when it should happen.
  2. Figure out what you are looking for/want to do. Determine what companies you think you would aspire to work for.
  3. Fix up your resume. If you have spent a bit of time in the US, it is likely to be written using US standards. Things here are a bit different (personal data, descriptions, etc.)
  4. Plan a job-hunting trip
  5. Contact a headhunter, telling them: you are coming back and when. The "when" shouldn't be in two years. It should be "in the next few months". Give them the info on point 2), 3) and 4).
  6. Manage the relationship. They will either have something, or not. If not, don't expect them to look very far on your behalf. If you want them to do just this, pay them for it. If they do, set up an interview and go. It might not be the perfect position, but you'll get your feet wet and back in the Swiss job search mood.
  7. Move on and look for things on your own. If you know what you are looking for, you'll know what companies to call and what people to talk to. They will refer you further if need be.
As a final point, I want to emphasize the fact that I think most people don't clearly know what they want or are looking for. So, in a way, they expect the headhunter to figure it out for them and present them with the perfect job (It's exactly similar to what happens in companies: if you don't have a clear idea of what your product does and who it's for, how can you expect your customers to figure it out?) However, if that's what you need, then there are people who can help you, who focus more on career assessment.

Submitted by: Laurent Piguet

Pages Updated On: 30-Dec-2007 - 03:12:02
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