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10 tips when job hunting
(originally published in the April 2009 issue of Expat In Switzerland)

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1. Think and be positive. Whether you are searching for a job due to dissatisfaction with your current position or because you lost your old job the worst you can do is to feel sorry for yourself and to sit around like a couch potato.

2. Believe in yourself. This is essential because if you do not then nobody does.

3. If you are unemployed then keep a daily routine. Get up in the morning and start your job hunting day. Then perhaps take a longer lunch break and do some exercise. Get out and get fresh air – no matter the weather. Exercise and fresh air will clear your mind, release stress and make you happy.

4. Do your homework. Research the internet – Expatinch.com has a lot of links to Swiss job sites on its jobs page. Read the news, check which businesses/industries are hiring now. If you found a potentially attractive position advertised then check out the company or organization’s web presence.

5. Be flexible. If you are not sure what you would like to do or if your ―dream job‖ has not come along yet then you could work part time somewhere and the rest of the day you can figure out what you really want. You could make an internship even if you are not a student, study something after work. Work as a babysitter (childcare in Switzerland, like many jobs, can be more lucrative than elsewhere), work as a dog watcher (you might have noticed the Swiss even take their dogs into Ikea). Check out freelance opportunities or create your own e.g. if you are an accountant you could offer your service to companies for a couple of hours a month.

6. Try to think in the mindset of the company you are applying to. When writing your application, examine the wording they use in the job advert and then formulate your letter and CV accordingly.

7. Approach personnel agencies which speak English and have experience with different nationalities and educational backgrounds. The good ones will meet you and discuss your experience, qualifications and needs in order to make a good profile which will be understandable to the Swiss employers. Many agencies also need a printed copy of your CV including a passport photo. The best is to ask them what they need and some-times even a simple online CV plus application letter is enough.

8. Ask for help. Friends could read your application documents and give you feedback. If you need any ideas about the wording you could even ask people in forums e.g.

9. Adjust the documents for different positions and companies. Once you have your documents ready then you can send them out. Don’t be afraid to apply to jobs where you are under/over qualified if you want them – there is still a chance that they might be interested in you.

10. Be proactive – find the employers and contact them. Use the sandwich formula. At first you call the person you are sending the application to and say something like: “I have seen your interesting job advert and I just wanted to let you know that I will send you my application now” – there you have the bottom of the sandwich. The next step is the inside of the sandwich where you send the email - best after the call. The top of the sandwich is to call a couple of days to a week later and ask them whether they received your email and if they had any chance to read it. This makes you really stand out and will give you the special touch and most important they will remember you.

Part of an ExpatInCH.com series on job hunting. The Employment page is our second most frequently visited, after the main index page and we produce this series in response to demand. We hope that these steps will help you or your family/friends to find a job. In the next issue will give you some advice on interview technique.

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