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Old 27.05.2021, 09:33
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How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

Hello everyone!

I have moved to Zürich on March 2020 and with the pandemic, quarantines etc. I wanted to take the time for myself and didn't look for a job at all!
Beginning of this year, I have started my search. It has been half a year and I didn't even get a single job interview.
I have registered to RAV and I am literally applying all the relevant English-speaking jobs in Likedin, glassdoor, jobs, talent etc... Also I got in touch with an HR agency, I went through many international companies career pages. I generally tailor my resume for the job, and still nothing...
My last job was Executive/Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, I have background on hospitality and I am a former entrepreneur. (if anyone is interested, I can send my resume)
I don't know German and even if I study hard, it would take over 2 years to be fluent.
I would appreciate any kind of advice, recommendation, help.

Thank you all
Isabel
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Old 27.05.2021, 10:15
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

Isabel, two things jump out at me:

Yes, there are numerous jobs where English is the only language required. But these tend to be in core-skills, not in support positions. In many global companies - those where English is the official working language - for positions like the office manager, exec assistant one must nonetheless be multi-lingual. This is necessary to offset the employees working on core competencies who lack of local language.

Multi-lingual skills are even more important in hospitality. One is expected to be fluent in several languages. And of course, the entire hospitality industry has been devastated by the pandemic - lots of qualified folk out of work at the moment.

It's unfortunate that your background falls into an area where multi-lingual skills tends to be required, even in an English speaking company.

---

The second thing is that many of the English speaking companies are not hiring admin positions in Switzerland.

Part of this is the pandemic - core employees have been working from home, no need for the same level of office support. Who knows what the office will look like when people get back? My guess, though, is that some non-core functions will not return.

Another factor is the ever-present need to cut costs. Switzerland is a high cost labor market, so in a global company ( which is where English is the norm) where resources can be shifted elsewhere jobs where it is not essential to be based in Switzerland are at risk of being moved to a lower cost market. ('Swiss HR' might actually be located in Poland, for instance...)

The pandemic has probably just accelerated a trend - even pre-pandemic the number of admin or support jobs was diminishing. Those that remain require a good deal of local knowledge.

---

I see your native language is Turkish - think about how that might help you. I assume you've targeted Turkish businesses here as well?

---

The world of work is changing - now might be a good time to 'reinvent' yourself as well.

So... maybe looking outside your traditional niche areas would be another way to go. Think about your core skills. What other, non-traditional areas can you see using those skills? What are your tangential skills? What do you bring to the table that another local candidate would not have?

You have entrepreneurial experience - why not do something similar here?

---

Are you in a position to pursue further education? This might also be time to take that step. Not only language courses, but also professional ones. Yes, education means delaying your entry to the workforce, but it might be a sacrifice worth making now.


---

It's a tough time to be job hunting - you are not alone. I wish you all the best.
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Old 27.05.2021, 10:23
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

Hi Isabel,

Quite disheartening to hear. I'm in the same boat though, as I've been applying for a while, without results. And I also have a significant gap of unemployment in my cv of 13 months now.
I first didn't mention that gap in my cv as I figured I could clarify that during an interview. Although yesterday I got the advice to clarify the gap in the cv as much as possible. Because with the competitive job market, recruiters won't have the patience to hope that there is a good reason behind it. They'll fill the gap in themselves, usually not in a positive way.

So if you weren't doing this already, it might help. I hope it works for me too haha
But of course, there's much more to a cv than just that, so I don't expect miracles now.
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Old 27.05.2021, 10:34
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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Hello everyone!

I have moved to Zürich on March 2020 and with the pandemic, quarantines etc. I wanted to take the time for myself and didn't look for a job at all!
Beginning of this year, I have started my search. It has been half a year and I didn't even get a single job interview.
I have registered to RAV and I am literally applying all the relevant English-speaking jobs in Likedin, glassdoor, jobs, talent etc... Also I got in touch with an HR agency, I went through many international companies career pages. I generally tailor my resume for the job, and still nothing...
My last job was Executive/Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, I have background on hospitality and I am a former entrepreneur. (if anyone is interested, I can send my resume)
I don't know German and even if I study hard, it would take over 2 years to be fluent.
I would appreciate any kind of advice, recommendation, help.

Thank you all
Isabel
You have been here since March 2020, not working and didn't start learning any German? Selber schuld.

Also, executive assistants and office managers are some of the most popular and competitive jobs and most people doing it can already speak both German and English.

Advice: Learn German and keep applying for jobs. Also get your resume looked at to make sure it is the best it can be for the Swiss market.
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Old 27.05.2021, 10:40
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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Isabel, two things jump out at me:

Yes, there are numerous jobs where English is the only language required. But these tend to be in core-skills, not in support positions. In many global companies - those where English is the official working language - for positions like the office manager, exec assistant one must nonetheless be multi-lingual. This is necessary to offset the employees working on core competencies who lack of local language.

Multi-lingual skills are even more important in hospitality. One is expected to be fluent in several languages. And of course, the entire hospitality industry has been devastated by the pandemic - lots of qualified folk out of work at the moment.

It's unfortunate that your background falls into an area where multi-lingual skills tends to be required, even in an English speaking company.

---

The second thing is that many of the English speaking companies are not hiring admin positions in Switzerland.

Part of this is the pandemic - core employees have been working from home, no need for the same level of office support. Who knows what the office will look like when people get back? My guess, though, is that some non-core functions will not return.

Another factor is the ever-present need to cut costs. Switzerland is a high cost labor market, so in a global company ( which is where English is the norm) where resources can be shifted elsewhere jobs where it is not essential to be based in Switzerland are at risk of being moved to a lower cost market. ('Swiss HR' might actually be located in Poland, for instance...)

The pandemic has probably just accelerated a trend - even pre-pandemic the number of admin or support jobs was diminishing. Those that remain require a good deal of local knowledge.

---

I see your native language is Turkish - think about how that might help you. I assume you've targeted Turkish businesses here as well?

---

The world of work is changing - now might be a good time to 'reinvent' yourself as well.

So... maybe looking outside your traditional niche areas would be another way to go. Think about your core skills. What other, non-traditional areas can you see using those skills? What are your tangential skills? What do you bring to the table that another local candidate would not have?

You have entrepreneurial experience - why not do something similar here?

---

Are you in a position to pursue further education? This might also be time to take that step. Not only language courses, but also professional ones. Yes, education means delaying your entry to the workforce, but it might be a sacrifice worth making now.


---

It's a tough time to be job hunting - you are not alone. I wish you all the best.
What a great response....Love it.....
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Old 28.05.2021, 07:14
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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Isabel, two things jump out at me:

Yes, there are numerous jobs where English is the only language required. But these tend to be in core-skills, not in support positions. In many global companies - those where English is the official working language - for positions like the office manager, exec assistant one must nonetheless be multi-lingual. This is necessary to offset the employees working on core competencies who lack of local language.

Multi-lingual skills are even more important in hospitality. One is expected to be fluent in several languages. And of course, the entire hospitality industry has been devastated by the pandemic - lots of qualified folk out of work at the moment.

It's unfortunate that your background falls into an area where multi-lingual skills tends to be required, even in an English speaking company.

---

The second thing is that many of the English speaking companies are not hiring admin positions in Switzerland.

Part of this is the pandemic - core employees have been working from home, no need for the same level of office support. Who knows what the office will look like when people get back? My guess, though, is that some non-core functions will not return.

Another factor is the ever-present need to cut costs. Switzerland is a high cost labor market, so in a global company ( which is where English is the norm) where resources can be shifted elsewhere jobs where it is not essential to be based in Switzerland are at risk of being moved to a lower cost market. ('Swiss HR' might actually be located in Poland, for instance...)

The pandemic has probably just accelerated a trend - even pre-pandemic the number of admin or support jobs was diminishing. Those that remain require a good deal of local knowledge.

---

I see your native language is Turkish - think about how that might help you. I assume you've targeted Turkish businesses here as well?

---

The world of work is changing - now might be a good time to 'reinvent' yourself as well.

So... maybe looking outside your traditional niche areas would be another way to go. Think about your core skills. What other, non-traditional areas can you see using those skills? What are your tangential skills? What do you bring to the table that another local candidate would not have?

You have entrepreneurial experience - why not do something similar here?

---

Are you in a position to pursue further education? This might also be time to take that step. Not only language courses, but also professional ones. Yes, education means delaying your entry to the workforce, but it might be a sacrifice worth making now.


---

It's a tough time to be job hunting - you are not alone. I wish you all the best.
Thank you so so much for this amazing response. You are right, i need to think outside of the box 😊
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Old 28.05.2021, 09:04
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

Getting an admin job without fuent German will be tough.


A lot of higher level, imported managers, use their admin/support staff as quasi-interpreters so they can get away with not speaking the languages...
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Old 28.05.2021, 10:26
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

I agree with the others who have urged you to learn German. This quote by Venetian is my favourite, ever, on this forum, about the change it brought him, when he learnt German. From: https://www.englishforum.ch/3104690-post8.html

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German will help indeed, do it - set your own pace but start ASAP. In Zurich you can get away without it (I did it for 3 years, shame on me) but it's like visiting the Louvre with dark sunglasses don't be a tourist, there's a lot to experience here!

... Time and openness from your side will do the magic.
To use his image: As soon as you possibly can, empower yourself to take off your dark sunglasses.
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Old 28.05.2021, 11:28
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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You are right, i need to think outside of the box 😊
A sort-of-out-of-the-box thought:

While randomly googling around (anything to avoid doing laundry!), I came across the Swiss-Turkish Business Council. OK - no jobs listing, but:

https://stbc.ch/index.php/new-swiss-...plication-now/

The council is running a contest for Swiss-Turkish start-ups. The contest deadline has already passed, - finalists will be announced in June -but it got me thinking: Why not try to find out who the start-ups involved in the contest are, and see if there might be an opportunity to collaborate in some way. Especially contact the non-winners, as they might be in more need of help.

Now - a start up usually has more enthusiasm than cash, and many are inherently unstable. Not a lot of immediate reward. However, you have both admin experience (start-ups tend to be heavy on core skills and light on admin stuff) and you have entrepreneurial experience, another area where you might benefit a start-up.

If you can afford to, offer to collaborate as an independent, as many start ups are not in the position to pay an employee. Think about some creative compensation possibilities that might be win-win.

The idea would be to get Swiss experience and expand your network - which could springboard you on to better things.

Obviously this kind of thing is playing a long game, and you still need to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. So don't offer a full time commitment. But if you can afford to do something like this, looking for niches where you already have value to offer might be one route to explore.

(And in the meantime, keep plugging away on that German.)


Anyway, wishing you all the best.
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Old 28.05.2021, 12:20
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

If you are on Facebook you might want to join this group (33k members) : English speaking jobs & opportunities in Switzerland

People there try to help each other with suggestions, ideas, job postings they have found etc.
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Old 28.05.2021, 17:03
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

I think you might want to refrain your job search away from a generic 'english speaking' job to presenting or developing your skills and looking for a job that meets your skills.

The level of english in Switzerland is good enough, that this will most likely not be a strong enough selling point to make you an attractice candidate. If I understand correctly, you are not from an english speaking country. The danger there is that the few jobs do require english as a primary skill would perfer applicants from an english speaking country.

First... you should definately improve your German skills - to make you a generally more attractive candidate. I assume that you are doing this anyway.

Second, try to figure out what, other than English, makes you an attractive candidate and try to build your job search from that perspective. Perhaps you need to add education or volunteering or something else to build your resume.
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Old 28.05.2021, 17:18
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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I am literally applying all the relevant English-speaking jobs in Likedin, glassdoor, jobs, talent etc...
Are you mother-tongue or possessing equivalent certification? if not, your english is not a plus.
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I don't know German and even if I study hard, it would take over 2 years to be fluent.
Not true at all. The german speaking world is quite easygoing. It is not like France or Italy, where a single wrong accent among 100 words will have people staring at you because that error will erase their capacity of understanding the other 99 words. Take a course, take tandem classes, listen to easygoing (crappy, yes I know) music, in 3 months you will be confident enough to make simple sentences in German and in less than 6 months you can claim to have working German. It will be bad, but it will be usable.

Good luck!
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Old 31.05.2021, 19:47
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Re: How hard could it be to find an English-speaking job?!

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Getting an admin job without fuent German will be tough.


A lot of higher level, imported managers, use their admin/support staff as quasi-interpreters so they can get away with not speaking the languages...
I can confirm this - there are teams in large multi-national corporations (MNC) where the only native German-speakers are the admin staff. They often also speak at least one other language next to English; French is especially sought after.

The large MNC where I previously worked had already started cutting back on the number of admin staff four years ago and is moving towards a more centralised back office system. I'm not sure it will be as cost-efficient as they think it will be but if everyone is doing it, I guess everyone's standards for continuity and quality will automatically adjust...
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