Applying for Jobs

Posted on 25 March 2007 by info

Newly arrived residents generally agree: Switzerland is a very cosmopolitan country. But Swiss culture is, at base, conservative. As a rule, Swiss employers want to see on any candidate’s resume, the applicant’s:

age, nationality, work permit status,

Banks have a tendency to require, in addition, the applicant’s legal domicile.

Partly because of the heavy burden of federally-mandated pension contributions –which employers are required to make on behalf of employees, and which increase along with the age of the employee (reaching a maximum after 45 years of age)– and partly for myriad other reasons, it is more difficult to find work when one is in one’s mid-forties, and even more difficult when one is over 50. An exception to this tendency is found in high-level managerial positions. Otherwise, there is nothing special about the commonly found formats of a Swiss curriculum vitae, and as in most countries the CV should include:

educational qualifications, personal details, work experience, language skills, computer skills, extra-curricular activities and interests

swiss company=Very often a photo is attached to one’s curriculum vitae. Though there are now debates to eliminate this requirement for reasons of equal employment opportunities and anti-discrimination, it is still common practice and most employers like to see one, just like they want to see your birthdate or age.

The curriculum vitae should always be written in a formal manner and it can either be in chronological, reversed or functional order. It should be sent with a covering letter (one page), as well as work certificates or references from your previous employers, and copies of diplomas.

The concept of a ‘work certificate’ is particularly Swiss. It is a kind of parting document which your employer writes for you to sum up his assessment of you.
Call it a ‘required reference.’ An entire unwritten code exists as to how to write and how to interpret these work certificates. It is illegal to write a ‘negative’ work certificate for a parting or dismissed employee, but of course there are ways that the unsaid is said. It is to your advantage to have strong work certificates or other references.

Candidates from abroad wishing to find jobs in Switzerland can consult a variety of corporate websites, employment agency websites and recruitment companies such as Michael Page, Edicom, Jobwinner, Jobscout24, Jobup, Monster, and others. These sites have up-to-the-minute advertisements for job openings in Switzerland along with the requirements sought.

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