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Five Questions to ask when writing your CV

The speed read challenge

As a Coach and Business English Teacher, I am often asked to review CVs and regularly give classes on CV writing. Now, I am not going to bang on about grammar, vocabulary and layout. They are of course important, but  plenty has been written around those subjects! However, you might like to know that an HR professional told me recently that he spends an average of less than a minute reading most of the CVs that come across his desk.  This may seem harsh, but in these turbulent times, where competition for every post is high, your CV needs to make a strong  impact in order to pass that “one minute test” and encourage the recruiter to read on.

Take your time

CVs are deceptively tricky to write as they operate on many different levels. This is a  document  that can affect your quality of life, your career progression , your level of compensation and future  prospects – so time, energy and preparation are needed to get it right! Here are a few questions to consider  as you prepare your CV for submission.

Top CV Words

  • Why am I telling them this? This is probably the most important question of all. Tailor your CV to the ad and make sure that it addresses the needs of the recruiter.
  • Does your CV contain a persuasive, compelling description of  why they should hire you? Demonstrate how you will add value  in simple, specific language.
  • Is your objective clear to the recruiter? There should be a  link between the job ad and your next career step on your CV.
  • Does your CV tell the story of your success so far?   Achievement statements, the more specific the better, will show potential employers how effectively you operate.Keep to the facts, put the key achievement first and make sure it’s relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • Can the reader retrieve specific information relating to the ad easily? Including key words will make it easier for recruiters and search engines to find what they need to focus on.
  • If you are thinking of a career change or would like some  help with your CV in English, please don’t hesitate to contact me
  • Not sure of the correct spelling or pronunciation of a word? For a free online English dictionary try the following link


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Why Join An International Women’s Group?

lets get togetherKickstart your Integration

In 1999 I exchanged my busy working life in Hong Kong for expat life in Geneva. Having lived and worked in the Far East and Middle East for the previous 20 years, I was rather unfamiliar with this place called Europe. I knew from previous experience, however, that joining an International Women’s group should be a top priority to help me take those first steps into my new life. So, armed with a map of Geneva, I made my way to the American International Women’s Club and became a member.

Group Therapy

As trailing spouses, partners or plus ones, whatever you like to call yourself, finding your niche in a new host country can be challenging. By joining a group of expat women you get to learn about your new environment quickly from people who have literally ‘been there and done that’. More importantly, they know what you are going through as you start to adapt to local conditions.  Shared interests provide the perfect starting point for conversation and  new friendships. Before you know it you will start to feel at home. The benefits of group membership are well documented – support, companionship, fun, laughter, a chance to try new things in a safe environment and to connect to people from all walks of life. Having been involved in wonen’s groups all over the world I have benefited from all of these and more.

For Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The one thing we can be sure of as expats, is that things will change! With change comes opportunity. Since those early days at the AIWC stumbling over French grammar I have seen many friends come and go. My life has changed too and I am now a working  expat. I still value my membership and pop into the club when time allows. As the members change, new faces bring their experience, talent and skills to share. New groups are formed and new friendships forged. If you don’t find the group for you, you can always start your own! So, if you are new or not so new in town and need some company, some support, some new friends or simply want to find out more about living in Geneva, why not join us? I look forward to meeting you.

Check out  International Women’s Clubs in the area on        

How have you benefited from being a member of an international women’s group? You can email me on

I would love to hear about your experience and if you have time, please complete my survey.

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An Amazing Support System

In his New Year’s newsletter the newly elected President of the International Coach Federation, Dr. Damian Goldvarg MCC said that ‘it’s so true that we don’t do anything amazing on our own’. I was reminded of what he said last weekend as the Davis Cup tennis tournament came to Geneva and Switzerland played Czechslovakia. A sea of Swiss fans in red and white cheered, clapped, sang, danced and generally lifted the Swiss players in a record breaking match that lasted an amazing 7 hours 2 minutes.

How Coaching Can Support You

It’s often at this time of the year that those New Year’s resolutions start flagging and you feel in need of a bit of support to make the changes you’ve promised yourself. Coaching may be just what you need to help you develop the skills needed to achieve your personal or professional best. This infographic from the International Coach Federation shows some of the benefits of a coaching relationship.

 Supporting Expats

If you are creating the kind of life you want overseas, then you probably don’t need a coach. If ,however, you could use some objective support from a seasoned expat, then please get in touch on  Like the Swiss tennis fans, I will support you for as long as it takes.

Have an amazing year!


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For those of you who are not fans of Christmas, I suggest you look away now. For me this is one of the best times of the year – I love the cooking, the gift buying, decorating the tree and most of all, the festive traditions.Traditions can give us a wonderful sense of anticipation and usually help us to mark time in a positive way. As expats our lives undergo many changes as we jet around the globe and traditions  bring  a certain sense of continuity to the expat family on the move.


We all have our own idea of what Christmas should be and it’s usually more or less the same every year. In our house we decorate the tree with beloved objects collected from our various overseas postings. They are powerful reminders of happy times in exotic places. We have a favourite Christmas video that we always watch and my granny’s Christmas pudding is always on the menu.

Life away from home, however, may mean that you have to improvise if you are new in town or far from the family and friends that you would normally celebrate with. This gives you an opportunity to create some new traditions and connect to your new community! Since living in Geneva we now start our Christmas season by attending the Escalade parade. As it takes place at night  and the  weather is usually freezing cold, we do this with a warming cup of vin chaud in our hands, in the spirit of supporting two local traditions at the same time! Wherever you are, by getting involved with local festive traditions and perhaps sharing some of your own with your new friends and neighbours, you will start to feel at home faster.

Anyone for a mince pie?

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

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Last month I attended the Expat Expo in Geneva. For those of you unfamiliar with this annual event, the Expat Expo is a fair organised by expats to showcase products, businesses, organisations and services for the English speaking community. It is held in several locations in Switzerland. This year I was an exhibitor for the first time and could only marvel at the fantastic array of goods and services on offer. From the newly formed Swiss Gardening School, to exotic Egyptian cosmetics, to specialty food items for the expat missing a taste of home – the atmosphere was positively buzzing with expat entrepreneurial spirit!


One of the stated aims of the Expat Expo is to help integration and part of any successful integration  is finding your niche in your new host country. As expats, we have a lot of adapting to do and sometimes this means that we have to reinvent ourselves to find fulfillment in our lives. My fellow expat exhibitors seemed to have reinvented themselves very successfully, judging by all the smiles and energy in the room that day.


 Perhaps you, too, have been inspired by what you saw at the Expat Expo? How would you really like to fill your days and make the most of the opportunities an overseas posting brings? Is there a product or service that you could bring to your new community? How could you leverage your skills and experience to reinvent yourself? Is there a new occupation you would like to try, or a business you would like to set up? I do hope you find that special something to make your day and if you are living in or around Geneva, maybe I will see you at next year’s Expo.

Some useful links:

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New Website and Relocation Coaching Blog Launch

Welcome to my new website and my first ever blog!

As an expatriate who has navigated 8 international moves so far, I have learnt a lot about ‘first ever ‘
situations, doing new things and facing new challenges.

I know that living overseas away from friends, family and possibly your job can be tough. I also
know that expatriate life can be a really enriching experience which brings with it many fantastic

My aim is to give you objective support as you settle in and find your niche, face the unexpected and
really capture that feeling of being at home here in Geneva, or wherever you are in the world.

Through my blog I will share with you some of the things that have helped me and I hope that you
will share your expat experiences – good and bad with me. There is a survey on my website. Please
fill it in if you have a moment.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Patricia Tunbridge

The Coach Approach logo
Tel: +41 (0)22 348 1894

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