Switzerland

Regarding the employment of foreigners, Switzerland is known for restrictive immigration policies and work permit quotas. Even though the system may seem complicated at first glance, finding a job in Switzerland isn’t as difficult as official Swiss policy may lead you to believe. And the good news is that, according to Swiss law, foreign workers have to be employed under the same salaries and work conditions as Swiss citizens.

 
When looking for a job, it is important to bear in mind that there are significant regional differences in the Swiss labour market. Geneva is the area with the highest percentage of foreign workers (almost 50%) - many work in one of the international institutions, such as the U.N., based there. The banking industry is centred mainly in and around Zurich.
 

Languages

 
As in any foreign country, speaking the local language is a definitive advantage. For your job search, consider the main local language in the area where you wish to work. Switzerland has four official languages: German (spoken by 64% of the population), French (19%), Italian (8%) and Rhaeto-Roman (1%). If you’re aiming to work in an international institution or large multinational company, much of the work may be conducted in English with other non-Swiss nationals. However, for national or smaller Swiss companies, you will almost certainly be required to have a basic command of the local language. The level of language required will depend on the nature of the position and what sort of work you will be doing.
 
If you’re a native English-speaker, don’t expect this to be a big advantage in the job market (unless you want to teach it, of course).
 

CV tips

 
Your CV is a snapshot of your career. Think about the qualities the company is looking for and highlight those in particular. CVs in Switzerland are in general not very different to either the US Resume or British. As in any CV, you need to include: education, professional experience, languages, special skills, additional activities and hobbies, and references.
 
A Swiss CV can be up to three pages long, depending on how long you have been working. Most people should aim to keep it down to two pages. But if you in excess of 20 or 30 years experience for example, then two pages may prove too short.
 
Everyone has a successful project or responsibility that they want to mention – and that’s fine. However, the Swiss tend to be modest, so be mindful how far you take it.
 
Unless expressly specified, the CV should be written in the language of the employment ad. If an ad is in German, for example, and asks for applications in English then you may consider submitting your CV in both English and German. If you already have excellent language skills, do include a relevant certificate – the Swiss love certificates!
 
Attaching a photo - It’s common to include a photo. However, the picture has to look professional - it’s far better to skip the photo than to use a bad one.
 
References - You should have at least two references. Don’t limit them to past or current employers. If you are going for a job in sales, for example, it’s a good idea to have a reference from a client or a partner you've worked with in the past.
 
Interested in applying for a job in Switzerland? Click here to find out more or alternatively click here to go to the main country specific CVs page.
 
Why not set up job alerts in your Global Workplace account or take a look at the keywords employers are using in their job descriptions.

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