How to find English language jobs in Switzerland
Switzerland is a multilingual country but English is not one of the four national languages. Yet it is a requirement for many jobs.
New arrival to Switzerland and don't speak a Swiss language? Or do you work in a profession for which there is demand in English.
Here's what you need to know about finding a job in Switzerland as an English speaker.
What English-speaking job options are there?
The most obvious option is teaching, but only if you have a teaching degree and certificate. No school will hire someone based only on the fact that the person’s mother tongue is English.
You can also give English lessons privately; usually a teaching degree is not required for this kind of tutoring.
However, there are also many other industries where fluency in English is a definite advantage. They include international organisations — typically United Nations agencies in Geneva — or multinational corporations that have offices or headquarters in Switzerland.
The type of positions that typically require knowledge of English are in internet technologies, banking and financial services, and tourism (including hotels), although other branches that have international clients may also need English- speaking personnel.
So how do you go about finding vacancies for English-language jobs?
Other than contacting companies and organisations directly, you can go through a recruitment agencies such as Adecco or Manpower. If they find you a job you will not have to pay anything; the employer will be charged for their services.
There are other resources as well where you can do your own search.
First and foremost is The Local’s own search engine where industries are listed by categories.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of networking — in other words, relying on your friends, acquaintances, former co-workers, and social media — in your search.
Sites such as LinkedIn, Executives International, and various Facebook groups, just to mention a few possibilities, are good sources of positions where English is required or useful.
What to keep in mind when applying or interviewing for a job.
You will need a CV and a cover letter, and the Swiss have specific requirements in this matter.
For instance, CVs 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 it might be a good idea to submit the CV in both English and German. By all means get the help of a translator to make sure your CV is faultless.
Along with a headshot photo, you need to include information such as education, professional experience, languages, special skills, additional activities and hobbies, and references.
Also, Swiss employers love certificates, so include as many that are relevant to the job as you have.
Questions your employer is not allowed to ask during an interview
It is against the law to ask applicants anything about their private life —such as plans for pregnancies, sexual orientation, or anything else that is not related to professional qualifications.
A new topic that can’t be brought up either is whether the applicant is vaccinated against Covid.
As The Local explained in an article on in May, as vaccination is not compulsory in Switzerland, employers are not allowed to ask candidates during a job interview whether they have had their shots.
They can, however, impose general protective measures such as masks or social distancing.