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Five insider tips to find a job in Switzerland

For foreigners, job seeking in Switzerland can seem overwhelming – but according to experts the best place to start is with a positive mindset and a hunger for local knowledge.

People sit at a table during a job interview
Looking for work in Switzerland? Here's what you need to know. Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

The Local spoke to Geneva-based expert Emilie Since from TieTalent about the best approach to job hunting as a newcomer to the Swiss job market. 

Here, Since offers readers her top tips and a list of useful resources about where to begin when job hunting in Switzerland.

1.  Be sure to know everything about work permits

According to Since, the first thing that you need to do before embarking on a job search is to learn more about work permits and their limitations.

“You need to search for information about the conditions to obtain a Swiss work permit. If you have citizenship from a country in the European Union or the European Free trade Association, the road will be easier. Be aware that there is a quota policy for other nationalities imposed by the government,” says Since.

You can find out more information about work permits in The Local’s essential guide to Swiss work permits.

2. Update your CV and apply for jobs

Once your CV is up to scratch, Since advises learning more about the local industry you wish to apply for and then searching online for jobs. 

Read also: How to write the perfect Swiss CV

There are several job boards in Switzerland where you can find thousands of jobs on offers.

The Local’s jobs board can be found here. Several other sites are available and are listed at the end of this article. 

“Another option would be to send your CV to recruiters, there are plenty in Switzerland – generalist or specialist. And make sure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and contains all the keywords linked to the position that you are looking for,” says Since.

Do your research when looking for work

It is important to do your research when looking for work. Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

3. Be positive and network, network, network! 

Research suggests that when people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic and energetic and others find them likeable and sociable – all great traits to have when trying to secure a job.

Since says networking is essential when you are looking for a job, especially in Switzerland, which is a small country.

“Prepare a list of all the events that happen in your field. You can have a look on Meetup, where the events can be found by using filters. You can also go to events organised by Glocals, a strong network created for expats in Switzerland.

“Don’t hesitate to spread the word to your own network in Switzerland that you’re looking for a new opportunity,” says Since. 

4. Got an interview? Here are some important tips. 

If you are secure a job interview in Switzerland it is important to be on time.

“As you might know, punctuality is very important in Switzerland. If you are two minutes late, you will already be disregarded so be sure to arrive earlier,” says Since.

“Apply the rule 15:5 (Be 15 minutes earlier to the interview so you can wait around the building, and five minutes before the interview you can enter and wait at the reception.).”

Since recommends asking about the dress code if you’re in doubt.

“Three values that are often described as being valued in Swiss working culture are precision, perfectionism, and humility. Keep those in mind during your interview,” she says.

And Since’s top tip? Send an email after your interview to thank the human resources manager and reaffirm your enthusiasm for the position.

5. Learn German, French or Italian

Language learning is often seen as the most difficult skill to attain for foreigners living in Switzerland, but it is important for job seekers to at least show a strong desire to learn an official language and take action to do so.

“It will be easier if you know one of Switzerland’s official language German, French and Italian depending on the region where you would like to work. In the case where you are looking for a job in an international company, proficiency in English is often sufficient,” says Since. 

Read also: Top tips for learning Swiss German from those who have

The other main generic Swiss job boards are:

There are plenty of specialist platforms as well: is a Tech Jobs Marketplace for IT and Digital Marketing jobs is a recruitment website for law professionals is for highly-qualified professionals

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For members


How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Zurich.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

If you’ve bought a new piece of furniture in Zurich or a mattress, you may be faced with the problem of what to do with the old one. 

This is particularly the case in cities like Zurich, where space is at a premium and you may not be able to kit out your spare room with the old furniture. 

While there are waste disposal centres, even getting there without a car can be a problem. 

One man’s trash…

First things first, think about whether you really need to get rid of the thing in question. 

While you may not want it, there may be someone out there willing to take it off your hands – particularly if you aren’t going to charge them. 

The first point of call is to ask your friends and colleagues if they’re interested, with social media the perfect place to ask around. 

If you live in an apartment complex, you might try placing the item in a common area with a note saying “zu verschenken” (to give away) or ‘gratis’ (free). 

After that, there are several online options like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Free Your Stuff Zurich, Ricardo, Anibis, Craig’s List and Tutti. 

Some of these sites will charge a fee – even if you’re giving something away – so be sure to read the fine print first. 

Another option is to donate the goods to a charity organisation. They will usually charge you money to pick it up and prices can vary dramatically. 

Caritas charge CHF35 per 100kg plus transport costs, while Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber will pick up small items of furniture for a flat fee, although you’ll need to send them pictures first before they give you a quote. 

Can I put old furniture on the street in Zurich? 

Although less common than many other European cities, occasionally you will see furniture out on the street in front of homes and apartment blocks in Zurich. 

While it might clutter up the sidewalk, it is technically not illegal – provided you only do so for a maximum of 24 hours. 

You also need to make sure it doesn’t block cars, bikes or pedestrians. If it does – or if you leave it out for longer – you risk a fine.

Entsorgungstram: Zurich’s recycling and waste disposal tram

One option is the Entsorgungstram, a mobile recycling centre on rails for all Zurich residents. 

This tram weaves its way through several parts of Zurich, picking up old bulky waste including electrical devices and furniture. 

If you are lucky to live near an Entsorgungstram line, just check the timetable and bring your waste items along to meet the tram. 

There are some rules, as laid out by the Zurich council. 

“The delivered items must not be longer than 2.5 meters (exception: sofa/upholstered furniture can be no longer than 2 meters) and no heavier than 40 kilograms per item. Separate the material beforehand according to its composition: flammable, large metal and landfill”. 

Unfortunately, only pedestrians and cyclists can use this service, i.e. you cannot drive from elsewhere and deposit the stuff. 

More information including route details can be found at the following link. 

Regular waste disposal

Your next option is to see whether you can get rid of it in your usual waste disposal. 

This being Switzerland, there are a lot of rules about what the waste management company will take and will not. 

If you’re throwing away a mirror, for instance, you cannot put that with your other glass waste and will need to dispose of it elsewhere. 

On the other hand, they may take things like carpets and mattresses – although you’ll need to pay a bit extra. 

The exact rules will depend on your municipality, but generally speaking you will need to buy additional waste stickers – which cost money. 

In Zurich itself, every household receives four coupons for disposal of waste (up to 100kg) each. 

When you run out of coupons, you’ll need to pay by the kilo. 

You’ll still need to bring it to the waste disposal facility, or pay a pick up fee of around CHF80. 

This may sound steep, but they do come to your home and pick it up – which will likely be cheaper than a rental car or van. 

In Winterthur, you will need to buy stickers for CHF1.80 from the council, with each sticker letting you dispose of 10kg of waste. 

Check with the retailer where you bought the new item

One option offered by furniture sellers is to buy your old furniture or whitegoods or accept them as a trade in. 

While this is likely to be more common with second hand retailers who might see potential in your unwanted item, it is also a service offered by retailers who only sell new goods. 

One example is Ikea, who will take your old mattress, furniture or electronic device and recycle it. 

This service is available at Ikea outlets for a cost of CHF10 each. 

It is also available when you get something new delivered, although you must pre-book so the driver can be sure to set aside enough space. 

This will cost you CHF80 for furniture, or CHF50 for electronic devices and mattresses. Keep in mind that (at least with Ikea) this service is only available when you buy something new. 

Several other furniture companies offer a similar service, including Schubiger Möbel, Möbel Pfister and Conforama.  

Electrical item retails will often take your old electrical goods for recycling, whether these are small like iPhones or large like fridges and washing machines. 

More information about which goods can be recycled and how in Switzerland is available at the following link. 

Moving companies

Removalist companies are another option – whether you are moving house or not. 

If you are moving house then a disposal service may be included in the overall fees. 

If not, you can still contact the company and get the item taken off your hands. 

While different companies will charge different amounts, you’ll usually pay per 100kg rather than per item, which can be a better (or worse) option than contacting the local council. 

Swiss comparison site Comparis has detailed info about how to find a moving company here