Hi Megsf, here's my story..
My boyfriend was offered a job in Lausanne (IT again) and after surprisingly little discussion we decided to pack-up/sell-off our lives in the UK to move here. That meant me coming without a job... scary stuff for someone who had always left one job for another in the past.
I had worked in recruitment for several years after graduating, so I knew that it was important to get in touch with as many agencies as possible, get a CV written in the local language and be able to communicate in the local language (at least to be able to deal with the agencies who might be able to find me work in an English-speaking organisation, but who wouldn't necessarily speak English themselves).
Other things I did were:
- buy (or read in cafés) a copy of the local paper on the day that jobs are advertised, in order to make direct applications.
- used the internet to research which large organisations were within commutable distance (and were likely to be English-speaking) in order to make direct applications.
- kept a note of all possible leads and bookmarked the websites of any potential employers (I visited their websites once a week to see whether any new roles had been posted.)
- badgered all the friends I made, and my OH's new colleagues, to find out where they/their partners worked etc so that I could check to see whether they had anything available.
- kept my mind open as to what it was I was going to do/what type of organisation I was going to work for and on what type of basis (contract/permanent)
I took advantage of the kindness of the my OH's new colleagues and got them to help me with checking and correcting my efforts at writing a CV and covering letter in French. We didn't have much cash, so I couldn't afford to undertake an expensive language course, so we ordered materials from Amazon and used some websites to try to get ahead with the language. Despite all the above, it was not easy and I had some low moments and more than a few tears, but I knew that if I was going to make it work, I would have to just swallow my pride and go for it, mistakes and all!
About a month into the job search, for the first time, an agency invited me to come in and meet them. I had emailed them my CV a few weeks earlier but heard nothing back, so I hadn't been expecting much. It turns out that they wanted to meet me and find out my intentions and expectations, however they didn't have any specific jobs at that time to talk to me about. I walked out feeling a bit disappointed. I had been so excited about the meeting that I think I had gotten a bit ahead of myself and thought that all my problems were going to be solved in that one meeting.... silly me... Still, a couple of weeks later, with very little movement on any of my other applications, they called to say that they had an interview for me for a temporary post. It wasn't my ideal role and involved a much longer commute than I had really wanted to do, but I jumped at the chance to go for the interview since nothing else had come up. If it got it, it was only a short-term role, so I wouldn't have to do the commute for long, and if i didn't get it, well, it would be good interview practice! Turns out that they called to offer me the job while I was on the train home! I said yes immediately and arranged to start the next Monday. I was so excited and pleased to finally be back in the working world that I jumped at the chance.
Unfortunately I started the job and found out that really, it wasn't for me. The commute was long, the hours were long and I wasn't enjoying it. Oh, and they had forgotten to tell me during the interview that they would be moving to new premises in a month's time that would add another 30 mins to my exsisting 1 1/2 hour commute.... I quit after two months; a tired and emotional wreck...
So, my advice is DON'T jump for the first thing that you find... be patient, hold out and make sure it is really the job for you!
After that experience, I went back to my job-searching ways again and filled my days looking for another job, studying my french books and once again, trying to stay positive! This time I was much more focused and resisted the temptation to take any old job. Several agencies proposed work that I wasn't too sure about, and I was strong and said no if I didn't think it was going to suit. After two and a half long, slow, winter months, I was lucky enough to find an interesting job, in my neighbourhood, that matched my skills perfectly. I have been there for over two years now. It is a small Swiss organisation which does lots of work in english, although we speak in french around the office. I am considered by my colleagues to be the expert on english and hardly a day goes by without me hearing the words "une petite question d'anglais.. comment est-ce que je dis xxx ...." or "est-ce que tu peut corriger/traduire ce texte pour moi". It was hard work and a long wait, but it is great to be working again, and better still to be able to give something back. (I had never realised before how lucky I was to be of English mother tongue.)
As you are finding, it is really frustrating, but hang in there.. you *will* find something!