How to Create the Best Career Opportunities in Switzerland Through Your Network

In this article I will show you exactly how to leverage your existing network to get access to the very best career opportunities in Switzerland, no matter where they or you are located.

This is a detailed explanation of step 2 & 5 in the entire process of the 10 Steps to Create Your Very Best Career Opportunities in Switzerland’s Hidden Job Market.


The American Friend Who Knows About Job Leads in Switzerland

Whenever I talk to new coaching clients who are not yet living in Switzerland, many tell me that they don’t know anyone in Switzerland. You don’t need to know anyone in Switzerland to find out about job leads. I will illustrate this in a story one of my coaching clients recently told me.

A few years ago, Clara was looking for a job in Switzerland but did not know anyone there. She knew that relationships play a very important part in the equation so she reached out to everybody she knew. One of her friends, Sally, was in the U.S. at that time and told her, like most of her friends, that she does not know anyone in Switzerland.

Clara kept in touch with Sally over time and a few weeks later, Sally called Clara and told her she just saw a news report on TV that could be interesting for Clara.

Sally mentioned there was a fast growing American company that was relocating its headquarters to Switzerland and therefore creating hundreds of new jobs there. The news were very fresh and there were no jobs published anywhere yet.

As smart as Clara is, she looked up a few names of people who could be responsible for the relocation and called them up to see what types of jobs they will create in Switzerland.

The people she called pointed her to a manager who was responsible for building up the headquarters in Switzerland. Clara called him up and they had an informal interview.

The manager said that it’s too early to start hiring and that she should call again in a few weeks. Of course, Clara did so and went for a formal interview a few weeks later and eventually got hired in Switzerland.


Note: On Wednesday, 16th October, I am hosting a live webinar called 10 Steps to Break Into the Hidden Job Market in Switzerland. Join me there if you want to get the most out of your network.


No Borders Anymore

As you can see in the story above, it does not matter where your friends are located. The world is very small these days and I would even argue that the only borders we have today is the language border and the time zones.

We are so well connected that distance is not relevant anymore. I see this every day when working with my coaching clients from all over Europe and the U.S. and when talking to my own personal business coach who is located in Sydney.

No matter where your friends are located, they always know something you don’t. Don’t ever leave anybody out just because they are not in Switzerland or Europe.


Creating Your List of 90 People

To be able to tap into your network, you need to create a list of the people you want to contact. Create a spreadsheet and list every person you would call a friend. Don’t exclude anybody because they are not in your location, industry, profession or for any other reason.

List every single person you trust and who trusts you. This is the single most important factor to consider when building that list. Who are all the people who trust you?


Why 90 People?

Some of my coaching clients tell me that they can only list 15 people, others tell me that they have listed 150 people.

The number of people does not really matter. I chose 90 people because then it’s easy for you to keep in touch with everyone on a monthly basis if you follow up with 3 people per day.


How to Get a Job Through Your Cousin

At the beginning of the year, I worked with a coaching client from New Zealand. He was already located in Zurich as he worked there before. He talked to a few of his ex-colleagues but nothing happened from that.

As soon as we created the list of 90 people and started working with it, that changed.

One of the people on his list was his cousin. Somehow, there was no indication that his cousin could help him with his job search since he was outside of his industry and profession.

After my coaching client talked to his cousin, he got an introduction to somebody working at an investment company through him who eventually hired my client.

I think Steve Jobs described this phenomena beautifully when he said “You can never connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking backwards”.


How to Get an Interview Through an Old School Friend

I recently did an interview with one of my coaching clients from Austria. She shared a few success stories and one of them was how she got an interview at a management consulting company through an old school friends she had not talked to in over 20 years.

The short version is that she got added as a friend on Facebook by an old school friend. She got in touch with him because she wanted to know what he is up to now.

He told her that he is now working at this management consulting firm. The name of the company reminded her of the event she had attended a few days ago where this company presented some insights into Corporate Social Responsibility, the field my coaching client is in.

Therefore, she told him about this event and he asked if she would be interested in working there. One thing led to another and she got an interview with an employee of that department and afterwards another interview with the head of that department.


Getting Back in Touch With Your Network

The first thing you need to do is getting back in touch with the people you have not had contact with for some time. It will not do you any good if you just go out there and ask people for help with whom you have not talked to in years.

I recently wrote about the 3 types of people in our lives and I suggest that you drop people in the 3rd category and focus on the others.

Most people will be more than happy to help you but not if they feel like the only reason you get back in touch is because you need something. If you focus on “Value Players” and “Potential Players”, it will be much easier to get back in touch and to re-establish that relationship.


Reaching Out to Your Network

If you had in mind to send an email blast to everyone on your list of 90 people, forget that thought immediately. The only thing that will do for you is burn your bridges, waste your network that you have built over the years and generate zero results.

Instead, call people. Invite them for coffee, lunch and dinner. Meet people face to face whenever possible because there is no more powerful way to re-establish a relationship or to build trust than to meet somebody in person.

If you do it right, your calendar for the next two weeks will be completely booked for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks every day.

In those cases you absolutely can’t meet somebody in person, like when you are abroad, grab a coffee over Skype.


Asking the Networking Question

One great concept I have discovered is the networking question. You can ask this question everyone who trusts you enough, basically your entire list of 90 people. People are happy to help you but not if they feel like it’s only about what you want.

Every great relationship is based on the same principles. A great relationship is always mutually beneficial.

The networking question goes something like “Who do you know who knows anything about clean tech startups in Switzerland?”.

In many cases, the result of asking such a question is a referral or introduction to somebody else who is actually in that industry or profession or at least knows about it. 

Don’t underestimate the power of this question. If it’s asked right, the results are incredible because you expand your network in a very targeted way through your existing network.