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Old 11.04.2012, 19:39
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No qualifications, no work?

Hi all,
Firstly can I just say thanks to all those who have already given advice in other threads, I have read through lots of different threads and have found some really helpful tips and advice.
I've been looking for work for a while now but I just don't seem to be able to find anything.
My problem is that I don't have any training or skills, which puts me at a disadvantage here. Also my German whilst passable in a slow conversation is still not great so even jobs which don't need qualifications seem to be out of my reach!
I have thought about looking into some kind of training but again my German is holding me back.
Sorry if this has turned into a bit of a complaint I just don't really know where to go from here.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and found work?
Thanks for reading.
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Old 11.04.2012, 19:45
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Hope things work out, bonne chance. However I am surprised, if you arrived in in November 2010, and not been working- you should have had time to really work on your German. If you haven't got other qualifications, then a good communicative standard of German (or whatever local language) is a must.
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Old 11.04.2012, 19:48
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

I know, the German just doesn't seem to stick, it has gotten much better this last half year though.
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Old 11.04.2012, 19:56
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Not easy depending on your mother tongue- but as it is a very important key to your success, somehow you will just have to work harder at it. Viel Glueck dabei.
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Old 11.04.2012, 20:47
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

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Hi all,
Firstly can I just say thanks to all those who have already given advice in other threads, I have read through lots of different threads and have found some really helpful tips and advice.
I've been looking for work for a while now but I just don't seem to be able to find anything.
My problem is that I don't have any training or skills, which puts me at a disadvantage here. Also my German whilst passable in a slow conversation is still not great so even jobs which don't need qualifications seem to be out of my reach!
I have thought about looking into some kind of training but again my German is holding me back.
Sorry if this has turned into a bit of a complaint I just don't really know where to go from here.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and found work?
Thanks for reading.

Sorry to be blunt, but what have you got to offer ? no skills, weak German.....the marlkets tough and there are plenty of people with languages and skills available.

Think about what you can offr and maybe concentrate on these assets
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Old 11.04.2012, 20:57
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Have you registered with the unemployment services or integration office ?

There are actually quite a few services out there - I'm guessing you're a young person or a trailing spouse ?

I remember someone on the forum who got a job as a coffee/trolley lady/man on the train.

If you come from a particular cultural or religious group, I'd also recommend joining a group or club to make connections. Be willing to do anything, ask around, have a business card with your details on it, make contacts, advertise yourself.

And then consider what further training you could do - short courses, language classes. When I was in-between jobs and had a tiny baby at home I did a short course in 'medical terminology' - that was a window into basic hospital jobs like cleaning, first level nursing, working in the lab or sterilising area, or doing basic admin/filing. Lots of foreigners who did not have english as a first language did that course - to build their specific language skills. I'm sure there would be something similar. If you are interested in a job, do the research, find out what's expected...what will you need to get a 'foot in the door'.

Also, consider volunteering. Check the community noticeboard at the 'Gemeinschaftzentrum' and see what's happening around you - you'll get a chance to learn more German/French, and you'll get a chance to network...
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Old 11.04.2012, 20:58
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

PS: did you apply for the internship that I advertised last week.
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Old 11.04.2012, 21:09
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Think of a good idea and start up on your own. Maybe focusing on the expats of Switzerland. I did it and had a great time doing it and also made good money on the way!!

Good luck with whatever you do!!
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Old 11.04.2012, 21:16
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Even if it sounds dumb - maybe try to stick to the basic needs humans have. Food, medicine, transportation, entertainment, lawyers, porn. Find your place

Have you considered working in a bar? Who knows what contacts you will make or who you will meet? Just dive in mate.

Hell, even I was considering working in a bar after working too much in IT just to have a change. Being a relaxed dude behind the bar can be really a door-opener

Who knows, you meet an important person that likes a direct person telling the truth and will value you for your personality and not being another brownnoser.
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Old 11.04.2012, 21:38
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Thank you all for your suggestions.
I am looking into bar work and I have already applied for a job serving coffee on trains (I stumbled across a thread on here) but didn't get it, I'm not giving up I suppose I was just a little frustrated earlier.
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Old 11.04.2012, 23:46
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

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Thank you all for your suggestions.
I am looking into bar work and I have already applied for a job serving coffee on trains (I stumbled across a thread on here) but didn't get it, I'm not giving up I suppose I was just a little frustrated earlier.
Go round the expat bars, they are all English speaking, you might get some work in one of these bars.
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Old 12.04.2012, 01:11
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

I'm seconding SwissPea here, with the added notion of
"Where's there's a will, there's a way." Basically, if you are determined enough to get something, you can find a way to achieve it.

You didn't mention your skills. Everyone has skills whether they're written on University headed paper, or not. Use them to your advantage.
What's your language? Maybe someone specifically needs to learn your language.
Are you patient and good with children? A bi-lingual babysitter will be someone's dream.
Do you work quickly with your hands? Perhaps you can start a basic level job in watch-making.
Do you work fast and work well in a team? - Dishwasher/ waitress

Well it goes on and on. Whatever you do, don't listen to people who tell you that you don't have a chance - they're either unmotivated and/or pessimistic themselves, or they believe that they're a special case.
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Old 12.04.2012, 08:36
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Re: No qualifications, no work? I don't think so.
http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/zueric....16361504.html
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Old 12.04.2012, 10:10
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Unfortunately, many have found that in Switzerland it isn't as easy to start over, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, to re-invent your career as it may be in other countries.

An outstanding work ethic and the willingness to do anything available are essential - but those darned pieces of paper count for a whole lot more here than in other cultures. The reality is that system just isn't very flexible. (As in my favorite example: here in CH, you even need formal qualifications to be a dog sitter. )

So - you have to go after those qualifications, language proficiency a priority. If your future lies in Switzerland, once your German has improved get thee to school and start working towards a qualification recognized in Switzerland.

And in the meantime, be prepared to work at the same time - shift work if necessary. Apply for every single low-skilled job out there - including things like cleaning jobs*. Perhaps not what you expected to do when you moved here, but nothing speeds language learning like a work environment.

I'm curious as to what brought you here... if personal reasons, do you have family or friends who can network for you? Often entry level jobs are found via a friend-of-a-friend-who-knows-someone.

---

* Beware of working illegally. The sad reality is that some employers will try to take advantage of a person in your situation. If you take on a cleaning job or any other domestic or service job make sure you have a proper contract, that all the taxes and social insurances are being paid.

Or, if you are considering working independently (where you likely can do better financially), make sure that you take the necessary steps to set up properly, again making sure that you pay all the taxes and social insurances - don't put your clients in the position of unwittingly using an illegal service.

---

Wishing you all the best.
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Old 12.04.2012, 15:56
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Hi,

I've not been in your exact position, but a parallel one - I have a teaching qualification but was unable to continue in that career here for health reasons (and I didn't complete the process to get my degree officially recognised here, which makes it a lot less valuable). I do appreciate it can be very disheartening. You see a job ad and it has a qualification you don't have... or a level of language you're not sure you have.

One piece of advice I was given was that you should be confident applying for jobs if you meet 70% of the person specification. And to remember that this includes language skills.

My advice would be to build up your contacts. I was sent on a reintegration programme and they told us most jobs in Switzerland are gained through your network.

So try and think about the people you already know. Socially, friends-of-friends, even the people in your local shops... is there anyone who might be able to help you get a foot in the door? I found it helpful to make a list of everyone I knew who worked, showing their industry and the role they had within that industry. I then highlighted the people who I thought might be able to help me.

Secondly, while you're looking for work, find some kind of voluntary job (perhaps in an area you're interested in, or perhaps in some organisation you have links with...). The programme I was on was eventually aimed at us identifying jobs we were interested in, and then approaching organisations and asking to carry out unpaid work experience. I didn't get that far (the programme was too pressured for me), but it seems that to ask an organisation if you could do work experience is an acceptable move.

Volunteer work or work experience is good for several reasons. Firstly because you can put this on your CV. Secondly because it will give you skills and experience... particularly if you find a job in a German speaking environment. And also, you never know, that voluntary job might well open the door to something more!

The end of my story: After two years on the sick list, my health was deemed to be improved enough for me to look for a part time job. I got sent on the aforementioned reintegration programme, but it was too pressured. So I took a bit of a break, and then just started applying for jobs. Eventually I got invited for an interview... but didn't get the job. However the fact that I had a job interview made the organisation I've been volunteering at once or twice a week since October 2010 realise that they'd really got used to having me around. I'd gradually progressed from being an added bonus on Wednesdays to being a member of the team they didn't want to do without... and in May I will make the move from 'volunteer' to 'paid member of staff'.

Hope that helps, and all the best!
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Old 30.04.2012, 17:18
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

I realise this is now an old thread but I just wanted to say thank you again to those of you who posted advice, it helped me to really persevere with job applications even though they were coming back negative.
Today I got my first and second calls for interviews! Admittedly not for dream jobs but hey, a job is a job and I'm happy just to have an interview and not a flat refusal!
Also I have worked out (finally) what I want to do in the future so now I really have something to aim for with learning German!
Thank you all for your support on what was quite a difficult day!
Now I just need to work out what to wear!
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Old 30.04.2012, 19:19
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

Thanks in return... for coming back and giving us an update!

It's good to hear that the forum has helped someone... and pleasant to have someone take the time to come back and let us know how things are going!

As for what to wear... at one integration programme I was told always dress 'up' for a job interview. So even if the role would see you wearing casual clothes, wear at the very least smart trousers / skirt and a shirt and tie / blouse / nice top (sorry, I'm not sure which gender you are...). A suit is even better, if you have one. And shoes are very important, particularly with trousers. Nothing too 'sporty'. One lady got told not to wear some black, comfortable shoes because they had diagonal lines on the side that made them look like trainers. The bottom line is, it's hard to be too smartly dressed.

(Although be careful about make-up and accessories. I know someone in the UK who was a deputy head teacher and therefore used to interview staff. They once had to choose between two candidates for an early years teaching role. The candidate who didn't get offered the job had come to interview with long, very well cared for, manicured fingernails. The interview panel just couldn't picture those immaculate hands in the sand tray, cleaning paint brushes or getting messy with play-dough or clay... So smartly dressed, but not over accessorised!)
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Old 30.04.2012, 20:14
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Re: No qualifications, no work?

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Thanks in return... for coming back and giving us an update!

It's good to hear that the forum has helped someone... and pleasant to have someone take the time to come back and let us know how things are going!

As for what to wear... at one integration programme I was told always dress 'up' for a job interview. So even if the role would see you wearing casual clothes, wear at the very least smart trousers / skirt and a shirt and tie / blouse / nice top (sorry, I'm not sure which gender you are...). A suit is even better, if you have one. And shoes are very important, particularly with trousers. Nothing too 'sporty'. One lady got told not to wear some black, comfortable shoes because they had diagonal lines on the side that made them look like trainers. The bottom line is, it's hard to be too smartly dressed.

(Although be careful about make-up and accessories. I know someone in the UK who was a deputy head teacher and therefore used to interview staff. They once had to choose between two candidates for an early years teaching role. The candidate who didn't get offered the job had come to interview with long, very well cared for, manicured fingernails. The interview panel just couldn't picture those immaculate hands in the sand tray, cleaning paint brushes or getting messy with play-dough or clay... So smartly dressed, but not over accessorised!)
Thank you for the advice! I'm a girl by the way which makes it harder I think, my husband just throws on a suit and hey presto!
Thank you especially for the shoe advice I was actually thinking of black shoes but I'll check before hand to make sure they don't have any markings now!
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