It was the former astronaut, Chris Hadfield who very wisely said : « Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become. »
The act of changing countries, leaving behind your job or being away for a period of time from the career path you had taken, sometimes triggers unexpected changes and dramatically alters our professional aspirations.
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a panel at the University of Geneva with 3 great participants who had done just that ; Re-invent themselves. This meant going from a Corporate role to an Entrepreunarial role, focussing on activities that fitted better with their personal needs and authentic selves.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
Dana Walden switched from being a very successful Human Resources specialist to follow her heart and become a Coach. Dana told her life story and shared the dream she followed from early childhood, inspiring our audience to understand that, with persistence, nothing is out of their reach. I had the pleasure of being a business partner for Dana in her former role, observed her listening and reflective skills and was delighted when she shared she was moving on to become a professional coach. Dana invested in a Professional certification, specializing in supporting her clients achieve career, leadership and personal branding aspirations. For me, Dana is the living example that quiet persistance, creativity and business success can co-exist !
Add Spice to your life !
Shraddha Wani was a very successful business analyst, working for prestigious banks and IT organizations in India and Singapore. When she relocated to the Geneva area, she decided to leverage her passion for Indian cuisine and set up a bespoke catering business and cooking courses. Shraddha says she had a great time in the corporate world but always felt « controlled » by someone else. She is very grateful to Switzerland as it gave her a chance to make a dream come true and become an Entrepreneur. She says on the way she has come to realize that networking is key to any new business initiative, and focussing on building up your network a must for any newcomer thinking of starting a business. She enjoys the role her husband has taken as her biggest fan and food critic ! She enjoys learning everyday and evolving every second! She says her love for cooking goes back to her time with her grandmother whose recipes she has revived. Not surprisingly, she adores being her own boss.
Dig into your multiple identities to re-invent yourself
Sabine Baerlocher has done it twice… so far. That’s not counting the multiple caps she has worn over the years not least of all Disc Jockey Eve! She first leveraged her legal and extensive real estate knowledge acquired in a major Swiss group, to develop a well-known Destination Services Provider business in Switzerland. In the last few years, her focus has gone from logistic services to intercultural training and coaching. Sabine is also Co-President of Global Families Switzerland, a NFP we co-initiated to provide support to international families relocating to Switzerland by way of a membership program.
Top tips if you plan to re-invent yourself
- Ensure you understand the legal and financial aspects of business set up
- Determine the impact your product will have on the public
- Explore development or delivery costs
- Consider who will market your product/services
- Ensure this is YOUR business idea
- Identify the time investment you need to bring your idea to fruition
- Consider the required training and your motivation to follow through
- Ask youself whether you have the resilience to deal with inevitable ups & downs of entrepreneurship.
hereigo Alumni, Peter, tells « Why I hired a career coach »
What was your experience with the job search process in Geneva?
And why did you decide to go ahead and hire a career coach? Navigating the job search process in Geneva is unfamiliar to most people who relocate to Switzerland, and connecting with recruitment agencies is not straightforward. After several months of applying for advertised roles online I decided to seek guidance from a career coach. I met with Anne-Claude from hereigo and worked out an effective plan to establish myself in Geneva. I found hereigo to be very professional and extremely well established in the local job market.
What were some of the immediate benefits?
Working with hereigo instantly broadened my network of professional contacts. I also met with a specialized recruiter and learnt the key cultural differences in the job market in Geneva. I would highly recommend hereigo for anyone who has relocated to Geneva or someone who is looking to connect with industry professionals in their sector.
Just heard you’re relocating with your partner to the Lake Geneva Region ? Probably, the first question that comes to your mind is WHEN should I start my job search?
Here are a few tips to optimize your entry into a new (and yet unknown) job market.
1. Before Departure : Research & Prepare !
- Focus on learning as much as you can about your destination’s economic situation, potential industry sectors/employers & your skills’ match to market
- Update your C.V. and LinkedIn profile, get your business references sorted out
- Ask your existing network for introductions to any local contacts they may have.. no matter where in the country or what the hierarchical level of these contacts may be within their organization
- Think about your career continuation options so you’re crystal clear about what you want.
Kiss of Death :
- Massive mail shots before arrival, before you have a local address, before your residence paperwork is completed
- Contacting would be employers & recruiters before you’re on the ground
- Recruiters will be reluctant to consider you as a serious candidate until you’re really on the ground,
- You still lack in-depth knowledge/understanding of the local job market & culturally adequate market-specific approaches.
2. Immediately On Arrival : Settle Down !
- Focus on getting settled first : relocation is a time of stress and high activity levels.
Kiss of Death :
- Trying to juggle logistics & your job search will not work !
- Finding your way around and getting acclimatised = a level of confusion or « dispersed commitment » any seasoned recruiter will immediately sense
- Thinking you can fake it : Some questions may be real show stoppers (eg. do you have day care for your child yet ?)
Missed opportunities are even more frustrating than not getting offers because you know you only have yourself to blame for it. This is not a good place to be when your professional identity is already being challenged.
3. Within first 3 months : Connect, Validate your Market Knowledge, Start your Job Search
- Validate what you have learnt on the job market
- Understand the hiring and interview process
- Ensure your professional identity fits market style
- Network, network, network !
- Do your homework, find cultural interpretors and location/business sector experts who will give you an unbiassed feedback
- Don’t give in to panic, be systematic about what you do, step back observe and try and cross reference the information you get before making judgements that may kill off some possible options
Stay focussed and motivated.
Good luck with your job search !
What should come first for Career Partners? A good level proficiency in the local language (spoken and written) is essential for any front end positions or any positions where you will interact with the public, clients or suppliers.
here I go Events
- IDCN May 24 event at IMD : Working in Multicultural Teams
- December 11th FIGT Swiss Chapter end of Year Complimentary Workshop : "Journaling about your Relocation Experience" from 9.00am to 11.30am sponsored by hereigo!
- Recognize and Manage Relocation & Culture Shock to Accelerate your Integration
- "Answering Difficult interview Questions" : Practice & Share your Experience!
- Webinar for HR Practitioners “Repatriation training: an overlooked talent management & retention tool”