How you can boost your chances of getting a job in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
How you can boost your chances of getting a job in Switzerland
You can improve your chances of getting a Swiss job. Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay

Many foreigners dream of working in Switzerland, but a number of obstacles often stand in their way. Here's how you can increase your odds of nabbing a Swiss job.


In 2022, the last year for which statistics are available, just over 80,000 foreigners came to Switzerland — the vast majority of them attracted by the prospect of employment.

That’s because Swiss wages are higher (and sometimes by much) than nearly everywhere else in Europe, and in many non-EU countries as well.

READ ALSO: Why are Swiss wages so high?

If you too are a job seeker, you are in luck: due to chronic labour shortages, which are expected to worsen in coming years, Swiss employers are depending on foreign workers to fill the vacancies.

However, even with the high demand, some candidates have better chances of being hired than others.

Many factors enter into play when employers are sifting through applications. These are some of them:

Your nationality

When no Swiss candidate can be found for a given job, companies will recruit employees from the European Union and EFTA (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein).

So if you are a citizen of one of these countries, that is one major plus in your favour.

You will receive your B permit fairly easily, so your employer doesn’t have to worry about going through the administrative process involved when hiring workers from outside the EU/EFTA.

However, this doesn’t mean that third-country nationals are automatically ruled out. It’s just that the rules for hiring them are much more restrictive, and employers have to go through a complicated procedure to obtain work permits.

READ ALSO: How can non-EU nationals apply for a Swiss work visa? 

There are, however, some situations when third-country nationals can obtain a work permit easier. 


Your skills

While many industries are affected by the shortage, some sectors are more impacted than others.

For instance, 15,790 positions must be filled in the health sector — primarily nurses and other medical staff — while the construction branch needs 13,566 additional employees.

The retail sector has 12,761 open positions, followed by restaurants and hotels, where there are currently 10,478 vacancies. In the IT sector,  more than 8,000 jobs are available.

Those are just examples. The need for employees is great in other fields as well.


Your chances of getting a job will be vastly increased if you speak one of the national languages — German, French, or Italian.

If you come from a neighbouring country, you will have no problem on that front — provided, of course, that you work in the ‘right’ linguistic region.

While in some branches, like IT, English is the ‘working’ language, speaking only English and no national language at all, can make it that bit harder to find employment (though far from impossible).

READ ALSO: What language tests for permits and citizenship does Switzerland impose?

To sum up, your chances of finding a job in Switzerland increase if you:

  • Are an EU/EFTA national
  • Have skills sought by Swiss employers in sectors that are most in demand
  • Can speak the language of the canton where you are seeking employment


But that’s not all

If you fulfil all of the above requirements, that’s the first important step. In fact, some employers may snap you up without further ado.

But in most cases you can improve your chances of being picked — especially if other candidates are vying for the same job.


A polished CV is a must.

This is how you can ‘introduce’ yourself to the prospective employer and persuade them to hire you rather than another equally qualified candidate.

Unless otherwise 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 it might be a good idea to submit the CV in both English and German (or French / Italian, as the case may be) or you can ask the hiring manager what they prefer. 

Include information such as what work permit you have, your education, professional experience, languages spoken, special skills, interests and hobbies, as well as (very important) — references from previous employers.

This article gives you helpful tips about what a Swiss CV should look like.


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