About 50% of my coaching clients are not located in Switzerland yet but want to relocate to Switzerland as soon as they have a job. This situation can be very challenging because if you are not physically located in the country you want to find work in, it can feel distant and you can miss many opportunities.
Thanks to technology, our world is now one tightly connected place and it’s easier than ever to get in touch with people who are located thousands of kilometers away. The challenge is to make it more personal and real.
LinkedIn and email are great tools to get in touch with people but for me personally, this does not provide the same feeling as when I talk to somebody face to face. These tools are fantastic to start a relationship.
However, like with anything you want to be successful, you need to take it further and develop it. This, of course, also applies to relationships. You need to develop your relationships and that can be challenging through email and LinkedIn only.
Your Travel Budget to Switzerland
If you are located anywhere in the world, even as far from Switzerland as the U.S., Brazil or Australia, you eventually need to come to Switzerland for interviews so you need a travel budget.
My suggestion is that you don’t just simply use that travel budget for the interviews but also come to Switzerland on a regular basis. If you only intend to come to Switzerland for the final interview, you won’t have that closeness to the country to excel at the interview.
You also may miss a lot of opportunities because the holy grail of networking is still meeting people physically face to face, no technology can currently replace that.
You know what I’m talking about if you have ever had days or even a week of time where you have met plenty of people face to face for coffee, dinner and lunch. Whenever one of these days happens, you feel more energized and creative than at any other day and opportunities and ideas just flow.
I experience this every time I speak to plenty of people on a day and I believe anyone in sales or business development agrees with me.
The best way to do this is to schedule a few days every month to travel to Switzerland and meet as many people in your network as possible for coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks. This is easier if you are in Europe but can be done from most places in the world every 1-3 months.
The best people to meet in your network are not necessarily those with the most influence but the ones that energize you and turn your brain into an idea and opportunity generator. Opportunities usually come from the corner you least expect, so don’t leave anyone out.
Breakfast in Sydney, Lunch in Zurich and Dinner in New York
The goal is to get in front of the people you want to talk to face to face. The closest to that through distance is to see somebody through a video call.
Because I work with many coaching clients who are not located in Switzerland yet, we constantly come up with new ideas about how to make networking and job search in Switzerland more effective and efficient even without daily physical face to face meetings.
A great way to do this is talking to somebody through a video calling technology like Skype or Google Hangout. Now, asking somebody to have a video chat can feel very formal and like asking for a lot. However, asking somebody to have a quick coffee is in many cases not such a big hurdle for both parties if the intention about the meeting is clear.
Why not combine the video call with a coffee meeting? It’s informal, just like a coffee meeting at the same table and it’s a lot more efficient.
You could have coffee with your former school buddy in Sydney at 8am in the morning, talk to your ex-boss who is located in Zurich now just after lunch over a coffee and have tea with your cousin in New York later that day (I actually worked with a coaching client a few months ago whose cousin referred him to a hiring manager and got a job offer that way).
Remember, your network does not have to be in Switzerland to help you break into the hidden job market, the only requirement is that the people you talk to and ask for referrals in your network have to trust you and you have to trust them.
I don’t know about you but I get very excited when I talk to a potential coaching client in the morning who is located in Portugal, a business partner in Amsterdam at lunch and a have a coaching session with a client in Moscow in the afternoon. I love the international aspect of my business a lot.
Turn Your Mails Into Skype Coffee Meetings
Here is a place you can start with. I bet you send around emails and LinkedIn messages on a daily basis. Why don’t you turn some of them into coffee meetings over Skype or Google Hangout? Just ask somebody you know well to start with.
Simply organize it the same way you would organize a physical coffee meeting. Set a date and time to chat and grab a cup of coffee before the meeting starts. Have the meeting in a casual place or wherever you would drink coffee with a friend.
For the super creatives: Go to your local Starbucks and ask the other person to do the same at their location with their laptop to meet “at Starbucks” for coffee. This will even provide the coffeehouse setting and feeling. Just make sure it’s not too crowded and you can understand each other.
The most authentic feeling is provided when the meeting is done without headphones as I don’t think you wear them when you actually meet someone physically for coffee.
Not Just for People Abroad
You don’t have to be 2000 kilometers away to make this work. If you live in Geneva and would like to do some meetings with people in Zurich, apply the same thing. Even if you are just 1 hour apart, you can make your entire networking much more efficient.
However, you don’t want to replace lunch, dinner and physical coffees with online coffees because as I mentioned, it’s still the holy grail of all your networking efforts.
No matter where you are located, try this simple challenge during the next few days.
1. Choose 3 people you have regular contact with through email or on LinkedIn
2. Ask them instead of always emailing back and forth, to have a quick coffee over Skype or Google Hangout
3. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and do a 30-60 minute online meeting in an informal setting