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Old 05.06.2012, 11:44
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changing field to allow for a family life

Hello,

First post here on the forum, and I've been reading so many interesting things and topics here on Englishforum. Some in relation to my query here, but not really answered as I'm looking for experiences from english forum members.

Here's my situation: My wife is Swiss and we recently decided to settle in french speaking switzerland. I'm still working for a company abroad, but I can't keep that going much longer for family reasons.

I've been applying to various jobs in french speaking switzerland (I speak fluent french being perfectly bilingual, no german so forget swiss german altogether) and mostly I get one of two feedbacks:
a) most interesting profile you have, but we can't do anything with you, you don't have experience in our field of business, and with your skillset and experience you'll be bored starting at a lower function to gain the experience in our field for the higher functions, we wish you all the best bladibla.
b) or you don't have this or that swiss qualification: even though my foreign qualifications are higher, they don't know them and so don't want to consider my application on that basis.

It definitely doesn't help having to change field, but I can't keep traveling 200 days a year and raising a family at the same time. At this stage in my life I want to run a family, not a business.

Has anyone else had experience in coming from a very varied international business entrepreneurial background to employeehood? How did you manage to achieve that?

Having no experience in applying for jobs (people always came to get me), are there firms that help/guide people in a career change and how to handle job applications so they become successful? The forum lists where to start on finding jobs and how to write a cv, headhunters are not useful as they work for companies and all. There doesn't appear to be any info on whether there are companies helping candidates reroute their career patch, and how to approach them.

Hoping to get some sharing of experiences on how others got to change their careers. Thanks!
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Old 05.06.2012, 13:50
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

Welcome to the Forum.

In canton Berne we have an organisation funded by the education ministry,

http://www.erz.be.ch/erz/fr/index/be...standorte.html you should have something similar in the Romandie.

I believe the ORP can also give advice on career change, http://www.espace-emploi.ch/

.
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Old 05.06.2012, 14:23
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

Is it not possible to do your current job from home and travel occasionally? Or possibly switch to a similar job that can be done from anywhere?

I don't know what work you do, but did you try talking to your boss to see if there are some other options? If you don't ask you don't get, and if you ask sometimes you get a nice surprise.
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Old 05.06.2012, 15:52
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

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Welcome to the Forum.

In canton Berne we have an organisation funded by the education ministry,

http://www.erz.be.ch/erz/fr/index/be...standorte.html you should have something similar in the Romandie.

.
There is such an organisation in Vaud... here.

However, as an adult wishing to change careers who has used them... I didn't find them very good. At all. This might be due to my particular circumstances. However, the facts are, I arranged an interview and explained on the phone beforehand and at the start of the interview that I was a qualified teacher in the UK unable to continue in education for health reasons. I said I was interested in finding out what careers might be possible in Switzerland without having to retrain.

What did I get? The advisor listened to me say this, went to his PC, did a search for careers in Switzerland involving education and printed them off. He then wished me a pleasant day. When I read through all the information... every single option required retraining.

I left with the distinct impression one of us had not been listening.

I'm afraid I can't give you advice about any organisations I have found helpful as my issue is based on health concerns, not lifestyle choices, and so I'm following a rather different route.

However, as you mention that sometimes you're being turned down due to your lack of Swiss qualifications, but that you do have high qualifications, have you considered looking into getting your qualification recognised?

I started this process with my teaching degree. It took something like 9 months and (I think) over 500 chf to get to a stage where they gave me a conditional recognition, but I had to take a French exam and also study for several weeks to get some knowledge of the Swiss education system. Then I became ill so I didn't finish the process. But it might be useful? (The process in my case took so long because we were misinformed about which agency to apply to and also because I was over-qualified for the particular role I was doing).

Hope that helps, and all the best!
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Old 05.06.2012, 18:59
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

Thanks for those leads.

First things first, I love the job, and the company wants to keep me in. Thing is, the jobs is impossible to execute without the extensive traveling and sort of 24/7 involvement leaving family commitments to filling last minute holes in between, so it is a question of choice. After 10 years doing that, choice is family now, well, in the foreseeable future I hope. A job in my current industry in switzerland could substantiate in sales, and ... I'm not a salesguy. I can manage virtually any project and person I guess, just don't ask me to do sales

Getting qualifications recognized, that's something that sounds like taking some time. Still useful though!

We're actually in Neuchâtel at the moment, so will try to find a similar organisation here like the ones suggested in Bern and Vaud.

Has anyone encountered private companies that successfully guide career changes?

Other then rephrasing skills to other fields, what else might one do to successfully change path? What did people on this forum do? I guess plenty of expats have at some point been in a situation to change careers?

Thanks for any input!
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Old 05.06.2012, 19:29
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

You can probably use the advisers in Bienne,

Orientation professionnelle
OP Bienne
Rue Centrale 64
2503 Bienne
Tél 031 635 38 38

op-bienne@erz.be.ch
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Old 05.06.2012, 19:31
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

Just one question, cant you become a manager in your organisation and be the guiding hand for someone with energy if it is still profitable? Maybe you can figure out something with your boss. Alternatively, you can be entrepreneurial from home if you have great contacts etc.
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Old 07.06.2012, 01:05
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

For the problem of recognising your qualifications - are they university level ?

If they are, you can try 'CRUS' to get your qualifications recognised - I have done this and have a letter that basically says 'we recognise this university degree, the university that awarded it and the level of studies, but there's no equivalent in Switzerland'.

Although it sounds useless, it was actually very helpful, as my employer could take my CV to the licensing authority to have it 'individually' assessed, specifically for the position that I hold in my job, and their decision does not set a 'precedent' so it's much easier to get approval...

Anyway, that's my suggestion. Also, if there is a professional body, join their association and try to get accreditation that way.

For the issue of being 'overqualified' - re-write your CV. Tone it down, drop stuff out that isn't directly relevant - then you won't look quite so over-qualified and/or under-experienced.
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Old 07.06.2012, 01:06
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Re: changing field to allow for a family life

CRUS info is here:
http://www.crus.ch/information-progr...-enic.html?L=2

They will even take your application in English!
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