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Old 26.09.2013, 15:48
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please help me finding a job

Please, help me with my job research.

I moved to Basel five years ago. I had a good job back home, and I was very happy with it. But when we were offered the chance to move here in Switzerland I didn't hesitate to quit everything and follow my husband. My professional history was quite successful and I was sure I wouldn't have had problems in finding a new job.
I WAS WRONG.
Now I am quite desperate. I sent tons of CVs, and I never, never had a single reply, nor an interview.
I was 37 when we moved here, and I am now 42. I feel like I have no more chances, and this is really depressing.

I am writing this instead of writing the nth cover letter. I am short of inspiration and enthusiasm...
I am writing here to ask if there is anyone who would help me in finding a job (I will PM the details about my professional profile). How? Giving me tips on how to be at least LISTENED by someone...
I will give a percentage on my first salary to the person whose help will reveal decisive...

THANK YOU



PS: Please don't write sarcastic answers, I am REALLY sad...
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Old 26.09.2013, 15:56
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Re: please help me finding a job

It might help if you gave top line details about your education, work experience, language skills etc.. Someone with equivalent credentials may then feel more likely to PM you.

As it is, I have no idea if I could even help you
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Old 26.09.2013, 16:16
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Re: please help me finding a job

https://www.eventbrite.de/event/7993283125

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The topic “Employment opportunities for highly educated foreign spouses” has been a relevant subject for our local society. Highly qualified wives and husbands can draw on a wealth of capabilities which are often not utilized. When trying to find a job locally, they are faced with a variety of challenges, such as learning the language, building up a network and having their qualifications recognized ....

Last edited by adrianlondon; 26.09.2013 at 21:17. Reason: Added quote from the link. I hate people who provide links with no text ...
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Old 26.09.2013, 16:27
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Re: please help me finding a job

Thanks Castro.


1995: I graduated with honors in Literature, Master in American Literature.

I have been working for over 15 years in the publishing industry, I have been editorial coordinator and writer for different important publishing houses.

My English is good but not mother tongue, as you can see, and my German is basic.

(I would also link my Linkedin profile, but I am not sure if it's safe in terms of privacy...)

I understand that with this profile I will never find anything here.
BUT I am a quick learner, a creative and reliable person,
and whenever I was put on probation I always succeeded, in different fields.
On downtimes I have also been ice cream vendor, teacher, nanny, labour, clerk, waitress... And I have always received the esteem of my employers.
What I mean is that I would be glad to start again, and I am confident I would be a good worker, if only I was given a chance.

Last edited by psychodelicate; 26.09.2013 at 19:17.
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Old 26.09.2013, 16:32
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Re: please help me finding a job

I would suggest you go to visit some of the agents who are advertising jobs in your area.

Ask them to review your CV, and act on their feedback.

You may not agree with them but give it a try.

Apply for some roles outside of Switzerland. Better to be working somewhere and apply for a job in Switzerland, than to be here not working.
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Old 26.09.2013, 18:47
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Re: please help me finding a job

Thanks to all of you.

I would like to add a couple of details.

- When I arrived here, I met a "career advisor" for trailing spouses. She plainly told me that with my professional profile I had few chances here in Basel (it killed me).

- Knowing that with my professional profile I have few chances, I am ready to start something completely new. For instance, I am sure I would be an excellent archivist (I am very precise and accurate). I could work in any fashion enterprise, or in museums, and wherever culture and/or visual taste are involved.

- My nickname is simply the first line of a beautiful song by David Bowie (someone sent me a private message saying that my nickname could frighten away any propective job giver - please don't panic, it's only a pop song).

- I said I am a quick learner and yet my German is still basic, someone wrote me that this may seem a contradiction... but I am a full time mum. I have a son of 6 and a little daughter who is 1 year and 1/2. Maybe only fellow expat mothers can understand how isolating this can be. Anyway, I am giving all my spare time to learning German, but it's a sort of vicious circle: no German, no job - and if I don't have a job I don't have any chance to practice my German. A lot of theory, radio and TV but little practice.
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:14
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Re: please help me finding a job

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- I said I am a quick learner and yet my German is still basic, someone wrote me that this may seem a contradiction... but I am a full time mum. I have a son of 6 and a little daughter who is 1 year and 1/2. Maybe only fellow expat mothers can understand how isolating this can be. Anyway, I am giving all my spare time to learning German, but it's a sort of vicious circle: no German, no job - and if I don't have a job I don't have any chance to practice my German. A lot of theory, radio and TV but little practice.
With kids....you probably already know that the Swiss put double-income couples into a higher tax bracket and schools are arranged so that the moms need to be home for lunch and 1/2 days not to mention childcare is mostly eye wateringly expensive for full-time care. I got the memo on this pretty quickly after I arrived (and sadly not prior to arriving) since I had 20+ years of experience in my profession and spoke reasonable German (though no Swiss German). I did have an opportunity but, between the US and Swiss taxation in addition to childcare, I'd be working for next to nothing...which is to say that, though there are women here who will tell you their success stories, most find that there are systemically compelling reasons to stay out of the work force. If you need to work for your own mental health, chances are Switzerland isn't for you.
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:19
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Re: please help me finding a job

I feel your pain, OP. It can be a difficult place for a trailing spouse to find her footing (especially if you are not the type to be stimulated by the endless coffee-date/playdate rounds that keep some TS from going insane). You did not mention if your need is mostly to earn money, or for your own happiness and well-being (or, of course, both). If it is mostly for your own sanity and to give yourself a sense of purpose, could you possibly consider your own business venture, or retraining of some sort? To start, german classes could raise you out of the funk and improve your chances of employment later on... As you have already found out, even with your best efforts there is no guarantee of the "you will get a job eventually if you try hard enough" approach. It may or may not be true, but it would be great to have something tangible to make you feel good again in the meanwhile...
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:27
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Re: please help me finding a job

Ever thought to be your own boss? Or freelancer for example. On elance.com you can search through the jobs/tasks. You have plenty of website owners who look for writers. You can work from home, learn, create your network and get a new perspective. At this point every experience is a positive experience for you (I mean that in a positive way)
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:33
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Re: please help me finding a job

if you have two small children and no time to take german classes (which would allow you to speak and write) or frequent linguistic exchange groups, where would you find the time for a full-time job?
This is likely to put off employers as a mother is probably less flexible due to family obligations.
Even if you don't state it explicitly, your age and the career hiatus tell the story.

Which country are you from, and what is your native language (and the one you used to write I suppose)?

The degree you have isn't exactly useful to get a job, what is meaningful is the 15 years of experience you have, the problem is that if you don't master german (and english, if I understand correctly), you can't do anything with it, unless you find a job where you can write in your native language or other languages you know really well.

It looks like you need something to do mostly for your own self-esteem. You could write for free a website or start an expat blog in your native language.

Quote:
I could work in any fashion enterprise, or in museums, and wherever culture and/or visual taste are involved.
jobs in these soft fields are rare, and would probably require lots of human contact, thus requiring knowledge of the language.


I would start formal german classes.

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schools are arranged so that the moms need to be home for lunch and 1/2 days not to mention childcare is mostly eye wateringly expensive for full-time care.
it's true that switzerland is more about traditional families, unlike france I think, but at least in my canton schools do have a lunch service/canteen. You probably have to pay for it though.
And it doesn't solve the wednesday half day issue.
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:36
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Re: please help me finding a job

Three tips:

1. Clients are easier to find than employers. Start a business. For example, contact your former employers and ask them if they've any work you could do as a freelancer.

2. Enrol in a course that will lead to a Swiss qualification. Obviously you need a certain level of German before you can begin (which perhaps you have already), but after that it's a great way to seriously improve your German - and more cost effective than endless language lessons!

3. Get involved in groups that need volunteers. In this way you'll expand your network, which is really important for helping to find work. E.g. www.centrepoint.ch, www.baselpanto.org
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Old 26.09.2013, 20:39
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Re: please help me finding a job

It took me 9 years to become fluent enough in all skills to be able to re-train, and I went on to full time study at uni as youngest started primary school at 5, and started work 4 years later. So I really feel your pain- hope you find a way.
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Old 26.09.2013, 21:09
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Re: please help me finding a job

Hi there,

I have always been a browsing ghost in this forum but your post prompted me to write a reply as I was in the exactly same situation six years ago. I was on the verge of depression then. Now I work in a recruitment related function, so perhaps I could give you some pointers from both sides.

First of all, don't be sad. It is amazing that although you already have two very full time jobs (2 beautiful children) you still wants to have a profession. Your passion will come through to your interviewer and pay off one day.

From what you shared (and I am assuming a lot here) your strengths are:

- experience in the publishing sector
- + a range of experience in other various jobs with consistent good appraisal: sounds like you are the kind of person who gets the job done and done well which is a very positive attribute employers do not come across as often as they wish
- fluent English and another language as a mother tongue
- you are settled in your lifestyle and mature as a person
- other personal strengths you did not mention

and your weakness (in the Swiss job market): - basic German - a few years of gap in career - not experienced in in demand sectors

My advice:
- continue with learning German, but do not see it as the main barrier between you and the next job. Let's be frank, it is unlikely that you will reach the professional level of German (being able to hold business meetings in the language) within the next 2-3 years. Many MANY people in the German-speaking CH are in employment without speaking German.

- use contacts: sending out applications and never getting any interviews is a very common experience among the "non local" job seekers. Most applications are first sifted through by the recruiters applying very conventional criteria and your applications probably don't tick many boxes at first sight. How to get around this? Use every contact you and your husband have. Let everyone know you are searching and send them your CV. From hearing you were provided a trailing spouse consultant, I assume your husband has a decent job in a large international company. Then he already has many useful contacts who could give you a lead. Without your name first coming across via a personal channel, it is very difficult to get through the first selection round - even for a local.

- be realistic: some of the jobs you mentioned are sought after by many young ambitious locals who speak 3-4 languages and have some level of local work experience. While Basel is an excellent area for you to look for a job with all its large pharma companies, it is also a highly competitive job market flooded with applicants from CH, FR, DE, and beyond. If you are willing to start at lower level jobs you will have more chance. If you are willing to take on a e.g. office/admin assistant type of jobs and also not only on a full time but also on a part-time or maternity cover basis you will have more chance. Employers here are generally very open to developing internal talents who they have "tried and tested".

Stay positive, focus on the blessings you already have in your life and keep trying! All the best!
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Old 26.09.2013, 21:21
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Re: please help me finding a job

Excellent first post Elisabeth welcome to EF.
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Old 26.09.2013, 23:15
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Re: please help me finding a job

Volunteer, or just help folks around EF. That's how I found my job. Here it isn't what you know, it is who you know.
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Old 26.09.2013, 23:18
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Re: please help me finding a job

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Volunteer, or just help folks around EF. That's how I found my job. Here it isn't what you know, it is who you know.
I can claim that this is valid for almost every country.
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Old 26.09.2013, 23:27
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Re: please help me finding a job

Maybe try to find someone outside of Switzerland who speaks your language & is looking for help here. I mean providing some sort of local service to their customers here like problem fixing or dealing with delivery problems or faulty goods.

I have a neighbour who speaks Russian & they found a sort of liaison type job for an Ukraine company.
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Old 27.09.2013, 13:39
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Re: please help me finding a job

Dear psychodelicate,

Can you please PM me your personal email?

I searched internal job postings at my company and there might be something for you.
Unfortunately, it's in Zug, I know couple of people who commute from Basel every day, but they are both men, not sure if it will be possible for you?


I was in the same situation last year. And I felt depressed too.
One of my colleagues asked me what did I do while unemployed
To my embarrassment I had to say - nothing.
I did not do anything, just looking for a job and being depressed.
Oh yes, and being a cook, cleaner and driver to my family and PA to my husband.
did not enjoy anything, was just desperate to start a job.
I wish I used that time more wisely.

Good luck! And waiting for your email. Will be glad to help.
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Old 27.09.2013, 14:49
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Re: please help me finding a job

Do you have any experience with medical based publishing? Pharma companies have medical publication departments. In Basel you might find something along these lines.

Here is an example of a current position, you might find a possibility, but it does list German. Still worth a shot as companies often list German but then it is not so high on the requirement list if working with international firms.

http://www.jobs.ch/en/job/Admin-HR-C...360049/155/1/0

Last edited by AnAustralian; 27.09.2013 at 15:44.
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Old 27.09.2013, 15:13
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Re: please help me finding a job

If you are really committed to finding a full time job, then you should take small steps to show employers you are committed. It can easily look like you intend to stay at home and have little to offer unless you take steps beyond just sending out CVs.

--do you have childcare already lined up? This could easily be a first interview question and instant stop. It can take a long time to arrange daycare. As you have language issues, perhaps already take the step to have childcare in place, and depending on budget give yourselft 1-3 months to do intensive language classes.

--update skills or re-train. It is clear that your CV likely needs some undusting. Try to take classes, even a computer course, to show that you are updating your skills and are ready for the 2013 workplace. This shows potential employers you are serious. And even better yet if you take classes in an area where you plan to pursue career and have new skills. Look at Migros, local university, etc..

--network, get out and connect. Try volunteering in a field you are interested in. It will do many things, give you an idea if you like it, show employers you are serious, and gives you contacts and connections.
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