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Old 12.08.2013, 12:18
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Outside-of-Box experience???

I am hoping someone can either confirm/refute and advise on the following:

In Switzerland, is it possible to gain employment in a field other than that in which you have experience?

I have tried and tried and tired to find employment. Due to my employment experience (environmental engineering) and lack of professional-level German, I can not find work. As such, I have been humbled. I am well qualified to do many other 'things' that other positions would require (analysis, research, meta-research, presentations, etc)...but I feel that I would not be recognized as "capable" because my credentials are in environmental engineering and not in finance, pharma/med, banking, etc.

So the question is...do Swiss employers ever hire candidates that have different "titles" than what a job listing would offer?

At this point, 1-year later, the most progress I have had have been a few email exchanges with HR people and then eventually being told "I'm sorry, we have gone with another candidate". OK...I understand...I may never be able to work in the environmental field in Switzerland because my German is still poor...but, should I not be able to work in another field based on my skills/capabilities?

Any guidance is appreciated.

A Frustrated Ttamasle
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Old 12.08.2013, 12:28
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

Yes it is possible. . . . keep applying & good luck
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Old 12.08.2013, 17:13
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

I hope so, because I am trying to do the same! But I have only been looking for two weeks.
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Old 12.08.2013, 18:24
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

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At this point, 1-year later, ...<snip>... my German is still poor...
If that's a weak point in your CV, what's stopping you from learning German?
Fix that and your chances of a job will increase.

From an employer's perspective, you are competing against those who have the skills you have and who are already fluent in German. Employers are demanding more and more these days. In short, why should they hire you?
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Old 12.08.2013, 20:03
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

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I am hoping someone can either confirm/refute and advise on the following:

In Switzerland, is it possible to gain employment in a field other than that in which you have experience?

I have tried and tried and tired to find employment. Due to my employment experience (environmental engineering) and lack of professional-level German, I can not find work. As such, I have been humbled. I am well qualified to do many other 'things' that other positions would require (analysis, research, meta-research, presentations, etc)...but I feel that I would not be recognized as "capable" because my credentials are in environmental engineering and not in finance, pharma/med, banking, etc.

So the question is...do Swiss employers ever hire candidates that have different "titles" than what a job listing would offer?
I know people that originally made a degree, but where unable to work in the field and had to search something else. There are only so many jobs for sociologists, geologists or people with medieval history PHDs in Switzerland. Many years ago a lot of the people I knew with a natural science degree that could not find a job in their industry sector ended up in IT, but I guess that is not the case that often any more?

But yes, it is possible.

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At this point, 1-year later, the most progress I have had have been a few email exchanges with HR people and then eventually being told "I'm sorry, we have gone with another candidate". OK...I understand...I may never be able to work in the environmental field in Switzerland because my German is still poor...but, should I not be able to work in another field based on my skills/capabilities?

Any guidance is appreciated.

A Frustrated Ttamasle
I have no experience with this, but shouldn't the RAV give you some help regarding what to do and maybe also recommend or even organise a language course for you?


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If that's a weak point in your CV, what's stopping you from learning German?
Fix that and your chances of a job will increase.
I agree. For the most jobs in Switzerland German (respectively French or Italian) is absolutely required. Of course there are jobs where it is possible to communicate only in English, but the OP is also trying to get into working fields where he has no matching title and that is reducing the options quite a bit.


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From an employer's perspective, you are competing against those who have the skills you have and who are already fluent in German. Employers are demanding more and more these days. In short, why should they hire you?
However, the good news is that I guess that the OP knows maths as he has an engineering degree (although I don't know where the emphasis of environmental engineering lies), which is in my experience very marketable skills in many sectors (especially statistics).
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Old 13.08.2013, 13:05
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

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However, the good news is that I guess that the OP knows maths as he has an engineering degree (although I don't know where the emphasis of environmental engineering lies), which is in my experience very marketable skills in many sectors (especially statistics).
This is my point. My experience in environmental engineering (and more specifically as a hydrogeo) is numbers numbers numbers. I live and breathe statistics and analysis. There is only so much 'real' geology that can be done anywhere these days...but analysis and statistics is rather routine. I would say my knowledge of statistics is rather advanced; I can perform a PCA analysis in long-hand for example.

This is the trick I suppose. How to I emphasis my actual tangible skills and loose the 'titles' in which I have gained these experiences?
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Old 13.08.2013, 14:19
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

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I live and breathe statistics and analysis.
This is the trick I suppose. How to I emphasis my actual tangible skills and loose the 'titles' in which I have gained these experiences?
I agree that you should keep plugging away at the German. Maybe it would help to look at the complicated grammar in terms of mathematics and logical rules? Once you get over the initial hurdle (and I admit, it's a big one) Gernan has a kind of elegant logic that might be quite appealing to a person who likes formulae and statistics.
Another angle would be to consider a coach to help you revise how you present yourself on your CV. Expensive but probably worth it. It would have to be someone familiar with the Swiss perspective on hiring.
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Old 13.08.2013, 17:16
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

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... How to I emphasis my actual tangible skills and loose the 'titles' in which I have gained these experiences?
It's called marketing your skills instead of your titles. Tailor each cover letter and CV to each position when you apply. It takes time, but it will probably make a difference in your case. Most of the time an employer wants a skill set over a title anyway. Emphasize your specific skills that relate to the job you're applying for, and de-emphasize the skills they care less about. Remember that employers get tons of boring job applications every day. Your job is to make them believe you're better than everyone else that applied and that they'd better snap you up before someone else does.
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Old 13.08.2013, 17:24
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Re: Outside-of-Box experience???

Thanks for the guidance.

I have befriended an HR person at one of the larger global firms in Zug and should be getting some feedback from them soon with respect to what my CV may be lacking.

I think the trick for me will be to de-emphasize the "title" approach. Perhaps I should reword that somehow? Sure my companies before have called me "Senior Project Manager"...but in some cases I would rather have had the title of "Senior Administrative Assistant". After all, my career has more or less been to serve executives above me in a technical capacity.

Its such a weird feeling to know that you can actually contribute to something much larger that actually benefits people...but I don't have the basic skill set (language) to work at the cafeteria at Ikea (not to diminish their position...im actually jealous of anyone with a job these days).
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