What are the dos and don'ts of finding a job in Switzerland?

Hello everyone,

Where is the best place to start when looking for a job in Switzerland? Is it better to job-hunt by directly contacting the company of your interest, or should job-seekers rely on a recruitment agency, for example?

Are there any unique aspects that job-seekers should consider when preparing their CV/résumé and cover letter? Should a photo be included?

Do you have any tips on interview conduct in Switzerland? Are there any particulars, such as greetings or behavioural customs?

In you opinion, is knowledge of the local language or a regional language necessary to successfully apply for a job? What level of the language should job-seekers have mastered?

Thank you for sharing your experience.



My big tip would be to network, network, network!

There are lots of jobs out there, most require you to speak the local language. But with up to 400 people applying for many of these posts, competition is fierce. So, the best way to get a job is to find out about them before they are advertised, which you can only do through networking.

Take time to research what you want to do, which companies share your values and what roles you'd most like to do - having a real passion for a position will of course put you ahead of all those applying just because it's a job. And of course, if you are successful, then you'll enjoy it more and do a better job.

You can use LinkedIn to get started and reach out to people. Look up some useful groups on there - there are lots! Joining groups will also help you connect with more people. And go to as many live networking events as you can, particularly those relating to your chosen industry.

Take the courage to contact people in the companies you want to work for and ask to meet with them - lots of people welcome the chance to talk about themselves and their company.

If you are unsure about networking - as i was when I first arrived - you are very welcome to download a free eBook I wrote on the subject, where I share everything I learned along with my real experiences, here: [link moderated]

The other alternative is to set up your own business. If you work as an 'independent' then this is really easy - you just get started and then register with the AVS as independent, keep track of your finances and declare your income at the end of the year. I worked freelance for 8 years and it was great - I was a corporate write and found that there was a lot of work out there. Feeling the need for a change, I started my own health and wellness business 3 years ago and love it. I also help others to start their own home-business. It's a great country to be an entrepreneur in as the country is small and accessible and there are still lots of unexplored business options and depending on your business, there are quite a few grants and free training to be had too.

Hope that helps - good luck!

I am qualified, I have mid-manager level and I am searching for job over 8 months here. It's definatelly not easy.

Some people told me for example that I must have been extremally lucky that I got interview at Nestle because they receive 9 000 CV a day...

Or that friend of friend got a job just because he stalked a director of a company...

If somebody doesn't have very specific (rare) qualifications and is not highly experienced (senior level) it is very hard.

If it's true that first they need to proove they can't find anybody of swiss citizenship, then they look at French and than at people from other countries, then there is always a chance that somebody from Switzerland or France has similar qualifications that we do, and above that - has worked somewhere where it's easy to get a reliable for a future employer reference.

I read somewhere that 60% of partners of people relocated to Switzerland are unemployed... It doesn't help to keep up the spirit.

I think it depends. Job is not job. If you want to work as servant in a pub, restaurant or shop just come here and look around. But prepared that you may run out of money before you get your first pay slip.
For getting a job at a multinational company with nice income, apply online at the websites. Only travel to Switzerland when they invite you to a job.

For none European people, apply for the job in your home country and ask the employer to sent you to Switzerland. Getting work permissions for Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. became a lot more difficult.

For people from Asia or Africa, apply for scholarships at Universities, study something, and hunt for a part time job.

A local language like German or French is an advantage. At the bigger companies English only is still okay. If you are working in sales or marketing, anything related with Russian, Chinese or Arabic is an advantage too.
is a good starting point to search for job specifications.

Thank you for the info Melitta... Everyone I know says it is very difficult to find a job in Suisse... The odds always seem against you... But I like the idea of starting your own business.
It is very good that you have started helping small businesses get started...
How difficult is it to start up a business in Suisse (especially if someone is not a Swiss citizen or European)?

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