Friday, 06. December 2013

Finding a dream job

Becoming soon a MBA graduate opens up many doors but with all the options life does not become necessarily easier. Finding the right job is difficult, time consuming and requires some mental flexibility.

Incredible how fast time flies here at IE. With the big summer break in August it also automatically meant that there were only about 100 days left until graduation. It meant that the electives period started which was quite relaxing in comparison with the periods before. With the electives period also started the job hunting season.


Becoming soon a MBA graduate opens up many doors but with all the options life does not become necessarily easier. There are many companies, countries and jobs I could imagine to work. Being allowed to work in the entire European Union thanks to the bilateral agreements with the EU is a great privilege. I don’t necessarily have to return to Switzerland. I enjoyed my year abroad so much that I could easily imagine myself working abroad as well. Considering the Spanish job market, which is extremely challenging at the moment I am thinking more outside of Spain. Luxembourg, UK, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, Panama are possible alternatives to Switzerland, If you are that open there are literally hundreds of options out there. At least one of the factors I can narrow down now. I know that I want to pursue a career in a digital marketing or e-commerce environment. Nevertheless finding the right job is difficult, time consuming and requires some mental flexibility.


First, despite all job websites and electronic helpers it is hardly possible to scan all regions of the world periodically. There are hundreds of jobsites available and not even the biggest players like Monster, LinkedIn and MBA-Exchange are equally suitable across all regions. So it means that depending on which geographic reason you want to work you have to create various profiles in various languages and maintain the profiles relevant and search through the sites for relevant jobs. Of course there are job-alerts but once in a while I am still going through the website and check if there is a job that might have been forgotten by the alert. Especially for me as a career changer all these job sites are not my best friends so I need to define a good strategy and concentrate my effort efficiently.


Second, there are countless regional differences whet it comes to job applications. Some regions like the German speaking region (DACH) require for instance a photo on your CV. In some regions a photo is completely unthinkable as it might lead to discrimination. Some regions require a CV to be on one page or maximum of two pages. Some regions expect more like four pages or even more. Also the words used in a CV and cover letter can differ across the regions. Words and expressions might seems totally appropriate in one country might sound a bit too pushy or self-centered in others. Talking about cover letters not everywhere cover letters are used. For instance in South America cover letters are unknown but don’t think about sending your application without cover letter in North America. How am I supposed to know all these regional differences, tricks and pitfalls?


Third, there are completely different timelines across the various regions when it comes to when you are supposed to submit your applications. For instance in Switzerland normally people give notice 3 months before they leave, in some cases even longer. So, you have a lot of time between the application process starts and when the job is really available. In other countries more than one or two weeks notice period are uncommon. So, if I want to have the different job interviews basically at the same time to make the best possible informed decision it takes a lot of planning and coordination. 


Fourth, applying for jobs in in multiple languages automatically means that you not only need write cover letters and cv’s in various languages but you need also to prepare yourself in various languages for the interviews. Hence the effort increases by the factor of the languages you are applying. I love the possibility to apply for jobs in different regions of the world but believe it is not like I would not have enough other things to do. However, obviously now priorities have shifted. Finding the next career has finally become my highest priority. All the electives were interesting and I tried to do my best to do well but they are simply a preparation for the job ahead. It means that without a future job all the electives that I took became pointless. So, priority is finding my dream job.


Fifth, work conditions across the globe can be very different. Salaries, holidays, pension plans, cost of living, quality of life can largely impact my decision. Again a lot of preparation is needed to find out all those factors in the respective region and country. A salary of let’s say 70’000 dollar in Mexico can allow you a completely different standard of living than in Switzerland. Living by a beautiful beach in Panama can allow you a different lifestyle than living in cold Toronto. Having five weeks holidays per year allows you more travelling in the region than if you only two weeks holidays. Many different variables that make it difficult to decide.


Graduation is coming extremely close. The pressure is high to get a job as soon as possible after graduation. However, often alumni advise you to wait and see as long as you can and not take the first job opportunity just because you feel you are forced to. Easier said than done with the high investment necessary for an MBA at IE. We did a lot of personality tests to discover what are our strengths, weaknesses and intrinsic motivators. All these tests allowed us to find out what our ideal job would be. In my case it would be in a challenging, international work environment that embraces creativity and requires a lot of personal commitment and flexibility. I’m aspiring for an exciting job in a digital marketing or e-commerce because I think that we are only at the beginning of the digital transformation phase. I would love to be part of it and help to change the world. Let’s see how things are going in the next few weeks or months. 


I’m currently in different application processes involved and I’m having some favorites. Hopefully some of these favorites will lead to actual offers so that I can really start comparing actual offers than just theoretical number games. It is an exciting period but also nerve-wrecking and sometimes demotivating. Finding a job and applying for a job takes a lot of time. Receiving a negative answer or even worse disappearing in a huge job databank although you think that you would be perfect for this position and employer is frustrating. Nevertheless, there are many jobs available and opportunities available and it is only a matter of time until I will put my signature under my dream jobs contract. I’ll keep you posted.