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

Using lockdown to your advantage

Home working was already popular in Switzerland in 2019, with 33.7% working from home at least occasionally. This number has of course dramatically increase in 2020, thanks largely to Covid-19. The black swan event was neither expected nor planned for by these employees and their businesses. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of resources which will help you make your lockdown space a productive one. More than two-thirds of office workers say they are more productive when they’re working from home. This ‘new normal’ is the perfect time to focus on where your career is heading, upskilling and even prepare yourself for the next career move. Using this advice, you can be sure that you’re using lockdown to your advantage: Project your career path It’s important to always have sight of which direction you want to steer your career in, yet studies show that people spend more time planning their holidays than they do their career. As our global workforce experiences a sizeable shake-up this is the perfect time to assess where your career is heading. In light of recent changes, new opportunities may have presented themselves or you might have reached a fork in your career path. To make a well-informed decision you must begin by writing down specific goals. For example, becoming the Chief Finance Officer of a multinational company with a gross revenue of £150 million is an extremely clear goal. The more precise that your target is the better it serves you when trying to make career decisions. To improve the effectiveness of your goals write them down - psychology professor, Dr Gail Matthew, shares that we are 42% more likely to achieve them when we do so. Learn a new language There’s no better time to pick up a new skill or hone an existing one and learning a new language could have more career benefits than you’d think. This is particularly true in multilingual Switzerland, where there are four official languages and regional dialects that can make business communication challenging at times. Take the opportunity to brush up on your German, French or Italian and you may see yourself with improved career prospects at the end of lockdown. An American study found that in just five years the number of job advertisements aimed at attracting bilinguists has more than doubled. Commit just 30 minutes each day and use free apps like DuoLingo to expand your vocabulary or enrol in virtual language courses from the Open University if you’re focused on becoming fluent. This free learning platform also offers courses in business, politics, health and more. Pick up the basics of coding If you’re not a natural linguist but want to learn a language there are several computer programming languages that you can choose from. Many websites, like CodeCademy, provide free tutorials for whichever language of code you want to learn and they help you do more than just add a skill to your CV. These resources strengthen your problem-solving abilities as you begin learning the basics of HTML and CSS, laying a solid foundation for programmes such as Python – which is great for beginners – and JavaScript. Get to grips with technology Understandably, the global recruitment landscape has been largely impacted by the imposed lockdown. Hiring managers can no longer meet candidates in person but must rely on technology to match the right candidate with the right job. Already, 53% of HR professionals reveal that they routinely use video interview and we expect this figure to soar throughout and beyond the lockdown as the recruitment industry notes the benefits of a virtual interview over a traditional interview. Get prepared and ahead of other job seekers by learning how you can make an impression on a video interview. It all starts with having the right technology set up so there any no glitches on the day. Alternatively, now could be the perfect time to refresh your knowledge of Microsoft Excel and pick up some new functionalities. AMT Training are offering a free Excel fundamentals course which will teach you Excel best practice and share top shortcuts to help you maximise your productivity. Alternatively, take a look at online training courses on LinkedIn, Udemy and Coursera, where you can do everything from learning business analytics skills to gaining a master’s degree in computer science. Digital networking We’re amidst the largest disruption to the global workforce but that doesn’t mean to say new job opportunities aren’t on the horizon. Many industries have adopted a business-as-usual stance – particularly Switzerland's pharmaceuticals industry - and others are concentrating on bouncing back from the impact that the outbreak has had on hiring efforts. Now is the time to brush up on your digital networking knowledge. With in-person interviews and large networking events off the cards for some time you need to focus your efforts on your digital presence. Begin by optimising your LinkedIn profile so that you’re visible to recruiters and hiring managers. Remember that networking is not always about gaining connections - use this time to reach out to old contacts. Start the job hunt with Swisslinx The lockdown is no reason to put your personal and career development on hold. You now have the resources and advice to help use this time to your advantage and even ready yourself for the next career move. Begin the search now – browse our latest opportunities in life sciences and financial services.

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How can you maximise productivity when working from home?

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home was often seen as something reserved for those in flexible roles, with highly supportive employers or situational circumstances that required it. Now, however, it is an enforced reality for many of us. Research varies on how many Swiss employees were working from home regularly before Coronavirus, with anywhere from 20% to 70% of the office-based workforce purporting to work remotely at least some of the time, but we know that flexible work conditions were in-demand even before the pandemic. In fact, a 2019 study found that 83% of people would choose a job that offered flexible working over a role that didn’t. But once faced with the reality of doing one’s job from the comfort of the living room or home office, how can we ensure that work is productive and tasks are completed to a high standard, without compromising work-life balance? If you are in the position where you can work from home, you may be wondering how you can ensure you’re not only working effectively, but also sustaining a positive work-life balance. Here’s how you can do both:Use the right toolsA 2018 Deloitte study revealed that just under half of employees are provided a laptop that would enable them to work remotely, with 53% using chat functions or instant messaging and only 36% proficient in video conferencing. This highlights how unprepared many workplaces may have been in the lead-up to the March lockdown enforcement. However, many people working from home have found adapting to new technologies and tools easier than anticipated, with an abundance of free and low-cost services available to make remote working easier. If you’re setting up your home office, here’s what you should consider implementing: Whatever device/s suit your role best. This can range from a simple laptop with strong internet connection to a full PC setup complete with multiple screens, a dedicated mobile phone and headset. In general, the faster and more powerful your technology, the faster you will be able to work and less frustrated you will beSpeedy, reliable, strong internet. For many, this is essential, particularly when it comes to video conferencing. If your wireless is unreliable, consider using your mobile data for important calls or conferencesCommunication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or whatever is industry- or company-preferred. Many conversations are taking place via video call, so a webcam (built into your device or purchased separately) can be advantageousCloud-based storage solutions. In the absence of dedicated office-based hard drives and systems, many organisations are turning to the cloud to store and share files and information quickly and effectively. Make sure the cloud system you use is compliant with your organisation’s security policiesCommunicate clearlyThe abundance of online communication tools means workplace communication should be easy, but for many of us, the absence of in-person conversations and team meetings can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnect. In fact, a 2019 study found that loneliness was the second-most reported challenge by remote workers – and loneliness has been found to make us feel less motivated and productive than usual.  Counteract this by setting clear intentions and expectations with your team, manager, colleagues and clients around communication. This might involve scheduling regular video calls to provide updates and brainstorm, establishing more informal chat times with co-workers or asking for a regular check-in with your manager at the start of the day. While you’re communicating more, make a note to mute outside distractions as much as possible to avoid dips in productivity. Turn off social media notifications, avoid looking at non-work-related tasks outside of your dedicated breaks and hold off on chores and home tasks until you have a break in between work. Productivity is possible when working from home – 65% of workers say they’re more productive when working remotely, thanks to fewer interruptions and no commuter stress – but it takes a conscious effort to strike this balance right.Separate work from homeWhen work is your home and home is your work, creating distance between the two settings – physically and mentally – can be incredibly difficult. Where possible, create a dedicated zone that you use only for work, which you disassemble (or cover up) at the end of each workday. This can be as simple as putting your laptop away or putting a cover over your screens each afternoon. Prepare for your day as if you were going to the office, creating a daily routine that includes getting up and showering, dressing for your work day and moving to your dedicated work zone. It’s easy to let work and home seep into one during this setting, but these measures can help to avoid that and ensure that when you’re working, you’re working well. A clear structure and routine have been proven to help in times of uncertainty, particularly when it comes to mental wellbeing. This can look different to different people – for some it might be planning the week’s work schedule in advance and ticking off tasks each day, while for others it might involve starting every day with yoga, breaking for a snack at set times and having a regular social call with a friend. Find what works for you and your workload and stick with it.Stay up to date with Swisslinx Swisslinx continues to be business as usual (and we will be slowly repopulating the office in the coming weeks) with all teams available to assist clients and candidates. Stay tuned to our insights hub for more on how work is changing, or contact us to start a conversation on how we can work together.

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