‘A career coach turned it around’

Expat partner Shefali Sharma had many concerns about her career when relocating to Germany. In the end she surpassed her own expectations thanks to the support she received.

A different world

“My first big relocation wasn’t an international move but to another part of India. I had just completed an MBA, when my husband’s career took us from Maharashtra (West India) to Chennai, Tamil Nadu (South India). My background was sales and I didn’t know the local language or know much about the local culture – I had to use Google Translate to get things done!” says Shefali. “Determined to find work, I started from scratch, switching lanes to BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and I eventually found a job. Everything was going perfect when my husband received an unexpected opportunity in Germany!”

Here we go again

“I was happy for him but scared for my career. When he shared the news, part of me thought: ‘Oh no, I have to leave my job, move to a foreign land and go through the same struggle again.’  I also have my education loan to pay off. Besides, being financially independent is important to me,” says Shefali. “When I moved to Germany, I made learning the language a priority as I didn’t think I would be employable without speaking it. I also began to explore the job market to see what opportunities were out there.”

‘You can find work’

“At the time I made contact with Global Connection, I was feeling a bit dejected. I’d been applying for jobs and receiving plenty of rejections. My Global Connection consultant introduced me to Selma Fehrmann, a career coach. I told her I was considering applying for internships to gain some experience in Germany. But Selma went through my CV and said: ‘You don’t have to do an internship. You can find work.’”

Turning it around

“Thanks to Selma working with me – tweaking my CV, searching for jobs online, giving me a clearer sense of salary levels and an interviewer’s expectations, et cetera – I soon had a contract in my hand. Honestly, I don’t know how much time I would have wasted, if I had been left to my own devices. Working with a coach really turned everything around for me.”

Photo: Shefali and her husband

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