Werbewoche.ch: Mr Zehnder, the Corona pandemic is also having an impact on the job market. Is it at all advisable to reorient oneself professionally now?
Lucas Zehnder: In general, I would rather not advise changing jobs now, because there are simply more job seekers at the moment. According to the KOF employment indicator of the ETH, there are about 25 or even 30 percent more than in 2019, which is a massive increase. Many companies have hiring freezes or are even cutting jobs at the moment. The rule of not giving notice until you have signed a new employment contract should definitely be adhered to at the moment.
And what about those who have just lost their jobs - should they start looking straight away or wait until there are better offers again?
Of course, that depends on the individual situation. If you have family obligations, you have to make sure that something comes in right away. For job seekers with a more relaxed financial situation, a current job loss can also be a chance to get a bit of an overview and look at what you still want to achieve and realise in life and when. In any case, the situation has not become easier - we have more job seekers and fewer jobs.
Job interviews are currently increasingly taking place online, via Skype and Zoom. Is this just an unsatisfactory substitute solution or does it even bring advantages?
Online job interviews existed before Corona, but now they are definitely "state of the art". Basically, this is good because it saves time and resources. It is practical and pleasant, but of course the personal encounter, the chemistry and the body language are missing - all these psychological factors fall by the wayside and cannot be replaced one hundred percent by video. Even if we leave the Corona measures out of it for a moment, I would still conduct a first conversation via video - but only briefly, for about half an hour and on a more informal level. Simply to get to know each other - and to clarify the three most important questions in advance. That way you get a first impression and can then follow it up with a face-to-face meeting.
There are also job seekers who record application videos of their own accord. Does that make sense?
I have mixed feelings about that. Such videos are rather rare, and of those I have received, about half were good and the other less favourable. It has to be true to type and it has to fit you - and also the company you're applying to. For more introverted job seekers, application videos are less recommended.
Digitization is on everyone's lips. Almost all jobs are affected by it, and there are constantly new tools, programs and platforms. Is it worthwhile for job seekers who are already four to five years away from retirement age to still keep up with everything and learn new things?
Refusing to do so would also be very risky for more mature workers, because four to five years is simply not the same in today's labour market as it was in the nineties. The pace of change is rapid, and technological progress will accelerate it further. I appeal to a positive, open-minded attitude. So it's worthwhile, even when you're over 60, to approach new tools and instruments with an open mind and to see what you might like about them and what you might enjoy.
Is it still the case that you have significantly fewer opportunities on the job market at the age of 50 than at 30?
Yes, we have a youth mania. This is due to structural conditions: younger employees cost less, and many companies already find it difficult to recruit employees over the age of 40. But there are also counter-currents. If we categorically classify everyone over 50 as old, it would lead to an economic fiasco - it would be stupid to discriminate against a quarter of the workforce. Moreover, there are incredibly experienced people and first-class experts in this age group who should not be dispensed with. Besides, they don't necessarily drop out more often either. Younger people have headaches and other aches and pains much more often, I'll just say.
Are there trends that, regardless of what industry you work in, you should definitely be following today, such as Artificial Intelligence?
No, not everyone necessarily has to become a data scientist or digitization expert. These are highly complex jobs that require the appropriate training and experience. On the other hand, you should concentrate on what you're good at. So you don't necessarily have to follow your passion, but do what you're good at - this will also become a passion all by itself over time. Nevertheless, one should not close oneself off to new developments such as artificial intelligence, but embrace them and explore what could be exciting about these developments for oneself.
In which sectors do you see the greatest opportunities for the future?
Everything that has to do with technology. In other words, IT and the STEM fields. We need female role models, especially for girls. There is also a future for everything that cannot be automated so easily, such as psychology - and the combination of both psychology and technology.
Your prediction, what happens after the lockdown in the job market?
Some things will stay, like online applications. When the measures were briefly relaxed last summer, the job market immediately recovered.
This year we celebrated 50 years of women's suffrage. But is there still room for improvement when it comes to equal rights?
I think the right processes are underway. As I said, young girls need heroines and role models, exciting female scientists, successful female entrepreneurs and female CEOs. I would like to see a society in which it is quite natural for girls to follow a technical and scientific path. A lot is happening in this respect in our society at the moment - we simply need the most capable people in the right places, regardless of gender.
Your videos with which you give online application advice are also very popular. Is that an effective acquisition tool?
Of course, this is advertising for me, but the videos are also something like a personal diary for me. They help me to reflect on certain topics. And I also like to pass on my knowledge - often it is consciously things that not everyone knows or knows.
What do you do - or advise - differently than the others?
For example, when writing a letter of application, you can find on the Internet on lucastraining.ch my very own guide that has helped many get a job. It embraces the "3-paragraph-5-sentence rule," but check it out for yourself. You won't regret it.
As a career coach, you also check and optimise your clients' CVs. What is important these days?
In the nineties, you still had a whole history and mentioned everything you had ever done, including the language study trip to San Diego 20 years ago. Today that's over. If you apply, you advertise yourself. There is a target group, and that is the company. And you yourself are the product with your human capital. So you have to make it clear that you are the one they are looking for and that you are specifically capable of solving problems X, Y and Z. Everything that supports this should be included in the application. Everything that supports this should be in the CV - but moreover, it should be written in such a way that there are no inexplicable multi-year gaps in it. A resume should not raise unnecessary suspicion.
More tips can be found in your over 150 videos. Is it actually clever to pass on your own knowledge so freely?
Those who get personal advice from me get my experience personalized one on one. This brings a huge added value that you could not convey in 200 or more videos.