Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Senior Manager Edward Cullen

Posting date: 13 February 2020
Swisslinx is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we’re speaking to some of the people who’ve helped make Swisslinx become the business it is today.
 
Ed Cullen has a strong foundation in financial services, spending eight years in client-facing sales and relationship management roles before taking his expertise to recruitment at Swisslinx. Based in Zurich and Basel, Ed utilises his English and German language skills to lead business development and client management activities across the sectors of Healthcare and Life Sciences alongside Commodities and Natural Resources. He spoke to us about his journey with Swisslinx:
 

“I wanted to join an established company with a personalised approach”

 
When Ed made the decision to move from financial services to recruitment, he actively sought out established brands that aligned with his values. The personalised approach to recruitment Swisslinx have and the ability consultants have to be autonomous were particularly appealing. Ed says that Swisslinx is a “grown up” place of work where team members are empowered to work independently and with ownership of their own work, with clear targets and expectations in place to allow people to succeed.
 

“I moved from a research role to Senior Manager”

 
Joining Swisslinx in 2011, Ed worked in a research function for six months before taking up a consultant role in Commodities and Natural Resources. From there, he progressed to the role of Senior Consultant before advancing again to Managing Consultant, then settled into his current role of Senior Manager. While the team development and management side of his role are important to Ed - he’s led a team of nine before - he insists that he still handles his own client book. Being able to be hands-on with recruitment activities and client management is essential to Ed.
 

“Swisslinx has given me the chance to grow my career”

 
After eight years, Ed says he’s stayed with Swisslinx due to the flexibility he’s been afforded to pursue different ideas and grow his career, saying he doesn’t feel restricted by processes and bureaucracy that can feature in other companies. The educated, international team of colleagues at Swisslinx is another highlight, with Ed saying this creates an interesting and dynamic team environment. As an organisation, Swisslinx loves to celebrate success and the management team value people who show commitment to the business, says Ed. 
 

“Social media has completely changed the way people look for jobs”

 
The rise of technology has touched every industry in recent years, and Ed believes social media in particular has had a big role to play in the recruitment landscape. Candidates expect to be headhunted more now than they did in the past, with social media allowing faster and more casual interactions between recruiter and jobseeker. And while in-house talent acquisition teams have grown in popularity, Ed says there is still a strong need for the experienced recruitment consultants at Swisslinx, with value added through the in-depth market experience and knowledge of sectors and roles that every member of the Swisslinx team has.
 
Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Swisslinx or do business with the company? View our blog to find out more, or click here to meet other members of the team

How to get your first executive job

It’s widely reported that more than 50% of jobs aren’t advertised, and this proportion stretches much higher when it comes to executive roles. Therefore, landing your first executive job will be an entirely different process from any other job you’ve gone after. With fewer executive roles on the market, securing one of these coveted positions can be a highly competitive process. You need to strategise how you will distinguish yourself and position yourself on executive recruiters’ radars. Here’s our advice on getting your first executive job, right from the point of personal development up to preparing for your interview: Develop your personal brand  45% of executives agree that a CEO’s reputation will directly impact the reputation of the company. So it will come as no surprise that an executive’s reputation – or personal brand – comes under serious consideration during the hiring process. Just as it’s important for any company’s success to have a strong brand, your personal brand is a powerful way of showing hiring managers why you’re a good fit for the role. When portrayed correctly your brand will highlight your ROI and specifically how you will add value to the organisation if you get the job. Since many professionals at this level work with Personal Branding Strategists and Career Coaches you can’t afford to leave your reputation as just an afterthought. Your personal brand should be crafted so that it accurately reflects not just who you are but how you solve problems, your authority areas and ultimately what your unique positioning is. Though this may seem a daunting process, Blue Step’s Global Guide to Personal Branding for Executives offers helpful advice, starting with the question “What do you want to be known for?”. Start by asking yourself this and the rest of your approach should come easily. Get personal with an executive search firm On average it takes 71 days to place a C-suite candidate, which is considerably longer than the 43 days spent filling the average role. But for the job seeker, finding an executive role can sometimes take six months – or longer - because these senior positions aren’t as common as the jobs you’ve searched for before. So you need to position yourself on executive recruiters’ radars and you want them to know you on a personal level. One way of doing this is to share your career goals with these expert recruiters. As they’re in the business of finding candidates for executive roles they can provide insight as to whether you have the right skill set or experience. If they advise that you need more time to hone your leadership skills, don’t despair - you now have that contact at an executive search firm to reach out to once you’ve hit the necessary experience level. These recruiters have seen thousands of CVs and applications so you can trust their verdict. Remember that it’s about nurturing these relationships with executive recruiters. You won’t land a job in a few weeks, it can take months to find the right executive role so you need to stay in touch with them. Get networking  The Executive Career Brand reports that only 10% of executives are hired from job board advertisements. This supports the notion that your chance of getting an executive job is heavily reliant on networking and a great place to begin is by developing a strong online presence. It’s no new information that your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool in the job-hunting process but have you considered optimising yours for search engines? To improve your LinkedIn profile’s visibility you need to include targeted skills and keywords, set your location and industry, and use all the characters available in each section. This will ensure executive recruiters find your profile and will help you make connections in your field of work. Consider upping your game and establish yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn by posting and sharing articles on topics in your industry. Beyond the digital world, you should be attending industry conferences and reaching out to old contacts. After all, networking isn’t always about making new connections. Time for the interview You’ve put a lot of time into your personal development and nurturing connections – the next step is impressing at the interview stage. A good executive recruiter will only put forward a very small number of candidates for roles at this level, most of which will have exclusivity, so if you make it to interview stage you have a strong chance of securing the role. Now all that’s left to do is show the company how serious you are about working for them and improving their bottom line. Beyond a deep understanding of the organisation's verticals, the current state of the market and opportunities for you to add value, you should also research the business's financial status and their current challenges. Some businesses will have an investor relations tab on their website which will tell you a lot about how they are performing. To delve a little further, search their company filings and public financial statements - and if the company you’re interviewing for is private you can get a good picture of their status from news releases and articles. As for the competitors, beyond knowing who they are you need to search how the company is performing compared to them and what they have in the pipeline. Having this knowledge for the interview will show that you’re invested in the company and will allow you to have a genuine conversation about what you plan to do within your first three months. Think of this research as background information to create your 90-day plan.Take your next career step with Swisslinx Want more advice on finding your first executive job? As a market-leading recruitment firm in Switzerland, our expert consultants can offer valuable guidance when looking for your next senior-level position. Whether you’re job searching in financial services, digital and technology, or healthcare and life sciences we’ve got two decades of insight to help you.

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COVID-19 - Swisslinx is fully operational at this time!

We want to reassure you that Swisslinx is prepared and working to ensure continued service delivery during these challenging times. To facilitate business continuity we remain fully operational, with our motivated and dedicated teams set up to work remotely, as well as from our offices. Our internal processes and systems allow us to continue offering seamless service delivery to Clients and Candidates, from any location using virtual tools. Swisslinx is closely following developments relating to employment and immigration and is happy to provide guidance on these matters. Despite current market volatility, we assure you of our continued commitment to offering complete talent solutions. We wish you and your families good health and remain available for any queries should you require assistance during this time. ​Kind regardsOlivier RuedinCEO

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