How to find a job in Switzerland #1: Pimp up your résumé chalet-style

Tips GPT_1Have you thought about relocating to Switzerland, the land of chalets. cheese and chocolate? My series “How to find a job in Switzerland” is offering you (mainly honest) advice. If you still cannot find a job you can always contact me for costly professional support:

  1. Discrimination: In Switzerland (unlike most other countries in the world) it is very common to add a picture and all of your most personal details on your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV). This includes but is not limited to your date and place of birth, marital status, names and birth dates of your children, work permit type (L or B), postal address. Some employers even ask you for the birth certificate of your grandfather.
  2. Brand yourself: As an HR person I usually like to see a short “pitch” in the beginning of the resume. Tell me in three bullets who you are and what differentiates you from others.
  3. Experience: Overwhelm the reader with your great experiences and projects. You will probably not get a response or an instant rejection. Limit the explanation of your last three jobs to five bullets. Try to limit one bullet to one line. Concise writing helps!
  4. References: In Switzerland references are official certificates and written testimonials of your former employer. It is not enough to give references upon request. (see my next blog post on testimonials)
  5. Work Permit: Scan your credentials and keep them in an electronic folder (such as dropbox).  You will need your university records and proof of all your jobs for the work permit application.
  6. Networking: Switzerland is a relationship-based culture. Unlike other countries it is very important here to be personally introduced and endorsed if you want to get an apartment, a job or even a good household support. It is also good for you to join a few networks right now. A free networking site is for example.
  7. Spousal support: If you come to Switzerland with your spouse who is assigned to Switzerland by a large company check their spousal support program. You might get a lump sum for job coaching or free access to good networks.
  8. Industry-specific portals: You may want to start browsing, LinkedIn, XING, and for jobs in your area of expertise.
  9. Location: For many Swiss HR people location is really important. It is a small country so there might be a different HR person responsible for a job in Basel if you applied in Zurich, let alone the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Try to find out first who is responsible and direct your application to the right HR contact.
  10. Salary level: Switzerland has a very high salary level. Your expectations might be too low so seek my advice before communicating your expectations to a potential employer.

All the best for your job search in Switzerland.


One thought on “How to find a job in Switzerland #1: Pimp up your résumé chalet-style

  1. Pingback: How to find a job in Switzerland #7: Finding your pace | Global People Transitions

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