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Working in Switzerland - Advice & Tips

Switzerland

Accurate, precise, and neat are just a few characteristics that describe the Swiss. Those are exactly the skills a good banker needs; and the financial sector is indeed quite strong in Switzerland.

Job hunting in Switzerland

If you consider working in Switzerland you need to be aware of the four national languages; Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansch (a very small minority). Therefore, to be successful in your quest for a job in Switzerland you will need to be reasonably fluent in at least German, French and/or English.

If you are responding to an advertisement, telephone in advance to introduce yourself, to ask some relevant questions, and prepare the questions in advance, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression! Make sure to send your application the day of your phone call to illustrate your punctuality, a quality which is much appreciated by Swiss recruiters.

The Application Letter

The application letter is usually hand-written, well structured and short (max. one page). The style is formal. Your letter should refer to the job you are applying for and why you are interested and motivated for this particular job. You start your letter with your address at the left side and at the right side the city and current date. Below your address you write at the right side the address of the company (preferably with the name and/or function of the person you are addressing the letter to). Below that on the left side, you refer to the advertisement you are responding to (or in case of a speculative application, to the phone call you have made). The body of the letter should contain an introduction; followed by your education and your practical experience. You have to sign at the right side of the letter and below left you have to mention the annexes.

The Curriculum Vitae

A Swiss CV is similar in structure to a German CV, so detailed and precise. A photo is usually attached (or scanned in) to the top right corner. The CV can either be chronological (which is most common), reversed chronological or functional. It should include personal detail, your education and qualifications, and practical experience. Swiss recruiters attach great importance to work experience, so mention all of your practical experience. Include with your CV two or three references (notify the people in advance) on a separate sheet and copies of your diplomas and testimonials from former employers.

The Application Procedure

The application procedure is the most crucial part of the selection procedure, wherein the interview usually lasts an hour. The personnel manager usually leads the interview, and is held with a panel where your future boss will most probably be present. Prepare yourself thoroughly for the interview. Be prepared for questions about the company and on your motivation for both the job and company.

If we got you thinking on Switzerland think about ordering the guide ''Looking for work in Switzerland''.

About the author

Looking for work in SwitzerlandNannette Ripmeester is the expatriate affairs consultant to several multinational companies, which she advises regarding the strategy of international assignments and the practical implementation around expat issues.  Ripmeester started her international career at the European Commission, has worked on a project basis in 17 countries and is founder and Managing Director of Expertise in Labour Mobility (www.labourmobility.com).
She is co-author of a series of country-specific guides, the guide "Looking for work in Switzerland", (ISBN-13: 978-90-5896-072-6) is part of that series of guides. To order this guide or other guides that will help you to secure the international job you want, visit our website: www.labourmobility.com.  As a reader of Eurograduate we offer you a 10% discount if you are your copy here.