Category Archives: Networking

Relocation: How to best prepare yourself for your job search abroad

Now it’s decided: with your partner (and family), you are moving to Switzerland!

After the ” oh my god” all excitement phase, you might start telling yourself “…but I do not know anybody over-there, my entire  life, my entire network is here…”

When moving abroad, most expatriates report that having a local network and the comfort that usually comes with it, is badly missing.

As early as possible, It is recommended  to proactively start building a new network where you will be located. It will not only make the whole process easier, it will also make the relocation a more enjoyable experience.
Like 85% of the accompanying partners, you might intend to continue your career abroad; In such case, a local network is obviously a priority.

We have put together 5 tips to help you building a network in the earliest phase of your  relocation to Switzerland.

1- Start from your existing network: Use LinkedIn to ask your existing network for support in your new adventure: : Inform people about your departure to Switzerland, be positive about the relocation, engage them in your adventure and ask them if they have connections based in Switzerland with whom they could connect you.

2. Use LinkedIn to find out people who worked in the same companies you did or studied at the same schools and universities as you  and who are currently based in Switzerland.
Write them a personal message, explaining that you are about to relocate to Switzerland. Be open minded in the way you build your network: everybody might have a personal valuable experience to share about what life is like in Switzerland and they may know people they can introduce to you.

3. Propose to call them when you arrive to go for a coffee (it is common practice in Switzerland) and DO IT!

4. Network with your future local community on forums: Talk to people who will be able to meet you and to help you get started with building a local social life once you will be settled. A great networking place is If you are a parent of young kids, join community like, it’s amazing the amount of help/tips you will receive from other parents on such forums.

5. Take time off: leave the moving boxes unpacked for a few hours, and join networking events, go and meet people you have contacted before you moved, visit your new city, treat yourself to a few hours of being a tourist in your new region.

Of course, if you are already in Switzerland, it’s not to late to build a network , the tips still apply.

Job4u2 is giving networking a predominant place in the 4U2 programs. We support the partners in establishing a local professional network in relation with their professional goals.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more about the 4U2 programs method and content and please share this blog with your NETWORK!

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.


A 6 steps auto-coaching guide for New Year’s resolutions that won’t be forgotten

Tired of all these disappointing times when New Year’s resolutions have lasted a couple of weeks before we dropped them or forgot them, most of us have given up even trying to set them. “New Year’s resolution? Never mind!”

Yet, don’t you secretly dream that this new year could be a little different, a little better, maybe it could be the year of a real personal development, or even the year of a positive change in your life?
This year, not a list of objectives which are impossible to achieve but rather a bit of time for yourself to identify an objective that is really important to you while starting 2018.

In the first place: A profound yet dynamic self-awareness.

Profound because for your resolution to bring you something strong, durable and fully satisfying, it should be related to your deep-Self and not to your ego or to a passing wish. One tends to imagine the Self as something static but yet it is extremely liberating to think about who we are as being in movement, with a dynamic reality. Remember the person you were in early 2017, the thoughts that cluttered your mind, your internal state, your physical shape, your mood. Is it exactly the same now?
Thus it is to your Self of this beginning of 2018 that these resolutions should be addressed.

Step 1: A few questions to re-acquaint yourself with your present Self.

  • In what stage of your life are you? I suggest a very simplified model: period of construction, period of maturation or period of harvest.
  • What are the ones of your roles which today are important to you? Parent, professional, friend, child, spouse, other?
  • What is your body telling you?  Exhaustion, energy, need for movement, need for well-being, tension, relaxation, etc.?
  • What have you been proud of or satisfied with in 2017?
  • Which compliment has especially touched you? What does that tell you about yourself?

Give time to these reflections to make their way and to anchor before you move on to step 2.
Let them accompany you in a moment of calm, of relaxation where you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Step 2: Your current aspirations.

  • What more do you pursue today?
  • What less do you pursue today?
  • What difference are you seeking for today?
  • What do you expect from fulfilling these aspirations that is really important to you? What is there essential to you?

Of all these things that have come to your mind, which one induces emotion, which one resonates most in you, or which one provokes pleasant dreams?

Step 3: At this point, you start sensing which directions are tempting to take and which are most important to you.

  • What do you need to happen in your life to feel satisfied, at the end of 2018, with your progress filling the gap between current situation and targeted situation?
  • Note this as Your Goal.

How will you feel when you will have achieved this goal, what will you tell to yourself? What will you then think of yourself? What will make others realise that you have reached your goal?

Step 4: The very first little step.

  • What could be the smallest possible step you could make toward this goal? This must be something you can proceed with in the next couple of weeks.
  • What could still prevent you from performing this in the coming 2 weeks?
  • Modify your first smallest step possible until nothing can stop you from actually doing it within two weeks.

Step 5: Surround yourself with people with the type of energy that might fail you to be able to keep moving forward beyond the first small step.

Identify and write down at least 1 resource person and share your resolution with him/her. Ask him/her formally for his/her support.

Step 6: Plan how you will celebrate the successful achievement of your 2018 resolution.

Make an appointment in your agenda with yourself or with those you want to be part of the celebration of this success.

I wish you a lot of success in achieving your 2018 resolution and a wonderful year 2018!! Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. Read more article from Sandrine on the blog

Closing 2017 & wishing you a festive Holiday Season!

Time to invite each of you to pause down for a minute and to participate to our now traditional mood-booster-end-of-the-year-exercise: writing the list of your 10 greatest successes and satisfactions of the year.
Successes can be personal or professional, they all deserve to be celebrated!

At job4U2, we did the exercise and are proud to share with you that in 2017, we…

• have enjoyed our achievement in obtaining a satisfaction scope of 4.8/5 on our key criteria: efficiency/ commitment/responsibility/empathy/respect/quality

• have witnessed coaches successfully, with faith and determination, embracing new meaningful careers paths.

• have been touched in the deepest parts of our hearts by the many kind feed-back words of the people we have accompanied.

• have proudly supported our corporate clients in their continuous effort to hire the best talents who more and more are involved in a dual career.

• have strengthen existing partnership relationships, have engaged with new corporate clients and enlarged our network with many new amazing highly interesting people we met all along this last year.

• have enjoyed rich exchanges, fun, friendship and the belonging to a well running bounded job4U2 team.

• have settled the job4U2 Basel team in the new job4U2 office on Grünpfahlgasse in the beautiful city center of Basel.

• have provided trainings modules in the “Brevet RH” program, giving us another opportunity to raise awareness on the challenge dual career creates for talent acquisition and retention.

• have further grown the community job4u2 circle reaching over 500 members and are still growing rapidly.

• have published 15 blogs on the job4U2 website.

• have learnt from our peers and enjoyed sharing our knowledge and our love for our profession.

All together we have enjoyed a beautiful, rich and diverse year 2017. All of us are looking forward to the holidays, but before closing the offices for a few days, we want to wish you all a very festive Holiday Season and a very happy start in the new year.

Enjoy the Season Holiday!

The job4U2 team

3 tips to make the best use of LinkedIn as a connection builder

For many professionals, LinkedIn is a kind of CV they update and improve the moment they think about a next career step. However, LinkedIn can be much more than that, even in its free version.

  • A rich platform for information
  • A showcase of expertise
  • A job board
  • A service provider locator
  • A connection builder

In this post, I write about building connections, because it’s the aspect of LinkedIn that many people tend to most misused with the related risk to contribute to downgrade the efficiency of LinkedIn as a powerful social platform.

I have selected 3 tips:

1- Always add a personal note to invitations

In real life, what do you do when you receive an advertisement in your letterbox which does not seem to have any link with you nor with your needs? You just though it away, don’t you? That’s the same for LinkedIn invitations, if they fail to explicitly demonstrate why they are addressed to you and what’s their purpose in relation to who you are, they will remain non-answered or will be deleted.

 The more people send empty invitations, the less the invitations get a chance to motivate an answer.

Think about your LinkedIn invitations as any other mean to connect to someone in real life. During an event, you wouldn’t go and through your business cards under the eye of people you never talked to. Would you?

You would take the time to explain why you are interested to know that person, who you are and would create some space for the discovery of what you could do together.

This is the same for a LinkedIn invitation: Remember the -Why, Who, What– approach which could be illustrated by the following example:

“ I discovered your LinkedIn posts thought one of my connections, I really like what you write. Like you I am also very much interested in sustainable energy and would appreciate to be in touch and to follow your publications on LinkedIn. Looking forward to reading you, Kind regards.”

2- Treat the received invitations as you would do in real life

There’s a lot to read about LinkedIn etiquette online but to make it short and easy to understand, there’s nothing different in connecting to people on LinkedIn than in connecting to people in real life. It only takes to be personable, respectful and authentic.

If you want your LinkedIn connections to be a real network, do not accept all invitations which you receive.

There are opposite trends amongst LinkedIn experts, from aiming to the largest possible network (LION strategy: LinkedIn Open Networker) to the most restricted one including only colleagues and friends.

The approach I recommend is more moderated, yet easy to adapt to your personality and sensibility: Good key questions to decide to connect or not could be: “Would I feel comfortable to help that person if she/he would ask me for help? and “Would I feel okay reaching to this person for help or advise if needed?”

Obviously when you receive an invitation from someone you do not know and which common ground with you is not obvious, you are enable to answer these questions. Therefore you need to ask for more info before you can validate the invitation.

Imagine you receive a phone call of someone you don’t know asking you for an appointment without any additional explanation, what would you like to ask this person before deciding to accept the invitation or not: “do we know each other?”  or “Thanks for your kind invitation, can you tell me what would be your expectation so that I can prepare myself?” or “ Thanks for reaching to me, May I asked how you heard about me?” etc.

Without knowing a little bit about the intention and about who is the person, you are not likely to accept any invitation. Same goes for LinkedIn. Just ask them and then decide if yes or no you will accept to connect.

3- Nurture your connections

Of course you cannot daily interact with your LinkedIn 500+ connections but that’s important to dedicate a bit of time to the relationship with your network.

Again, that’s very similar to what you do with your real life acquaintances: Even to people you do not see much anymore, don’t you try to send them a Birthday message, a happy new year mail, etc. Maybe not to all, maybe not each year but still, that’s very likely an effort you make time to time.

Same on LinkedIn, when coming across an interesting article, a job ad, a new connection, you can think about one or the other of your connections and share with him/her.

People tend to think there’s LinkedIn’s and there are real connections. Most use LinkedIn as a way to stay in touch with “real” connections.  This is probably a very powerful feature of LinkedIn indeed but LinkedIn offers more.  It happens often to me that I first discover someone with whom I share some interests on LinkedIn and that I then meet and connect in real life. This would not have been possible if I and these people would not have treated LinkedIn connections with a personable, respectful and authentic manner.

You are familiar to the approach I have detailed in this blog? Maybe you can give me a tip in return then? When you have asked people for the reason for their invitation to connect and they simply answered that their only intention is to increase numerically their network, what do you do?

Read as well: Make LinkedIn a powerful resource for your job search

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.