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What are the best ways to search for your next job in Switzerland?

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
What are the best ways to search for your next job in Switzerland?
Zurich is not only beautiful, it's Switzerland's finance capital - but how do you go looking for a job there? Photo: Patrick Federi / Unsplash

Looking for a new job in Switzerland? We've put together some tips on where to search for that new role.

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The good news is that, as a country that serves as a world centre of finance, pharmaceuticals, and research, Switzerland offers an environment very friendly to English speakers. Unlike some European countries, hiring is a flexible and open process. 

That said, some hints will help you in your Swiss job search. 

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Know where to look 

Before beginning your job search, knowing where most of your industry's jobs are is essential. 

As The Local Switzerland has previously discussed, Zurich is Switzerland's financial capital, whereas most pharmaceutical players are based in Basel. 

The life sciences are concentrated in 'Health Valley', stretching from Geneva to Montreaux. 

Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne, Bern, Basel, and St Gallen also have large universities that employ many researchers from abroad. 

Knowing where jobs are based will allow you to concentrate your search, and give you the time to more fully research and understand the needs of particular companies.

READ MORE: Where are the jobs in Switzerland for English speakers?

Develop your Xing as well as your LinkedIn profile

Most job seekers within professional working environments will have a LinkedIn profile to share with prospective employers. 

Xing is also a significant player in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, and it's normal for German-speaking professionals to have an accompanying profile on that platform. 

Developing your presence on Xing can demonstrate that you are gaining a greater understanding of the Swiss working environment and establishing yourself as a long-term investment. 

READ MORE: Can you find a job in Zurich if you don't speak German?

Use specialised job boards 

While many of the big job boards operate in Switzerland—Indeed and Monster, for example—several job boards focus on Swiss jobs specifically or service a key segment of the job market. 

Jobs.ch, jobup.ch, and Jobscout24 are popular sites within Switzerland and are often the first port of call for job seekers. Each has an English version and a user-friendly interface.

Several specialist job boards exist for specialised roles, such as those in the IT or medical research sectors.

Using a profession-based job board allows employers to draw from a more concentrated talent pool while offering job seekers a more significant opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills. 

SwissDevJobs.ch is a popular destination for IT professionals, whereas Praxisstellen.ch specialises in pharmaceutical and medical research jobs. SwissTopJobs.ch is an excellent place to look for C-suite jobs in the finance and banking sectors. 

Networking is essential 

While there is often a perception that job hunting in Switzerland is very process-oriented, you may be surprised to learn that many positions are filled via word of mouth. 

Suppose you have friends or former colleagues already found a position within a Swiss firm. In that case, asking what positions are opening and whether you could apply is not unreasonable or rude. 

Word of mouth and hiring through connections are common in the Swiss IT field, but they are also common within several other industries, particularly among startups. 

Read More: Where are Switzerland's biggest international companies?

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Use your initiative 

You may also be surprised to hear that simply applying to a firm with your resume isn't looked down upon in Switzerland (or the German-speaking world). 

This is known as an Initiativbewerbung (or simply 'application on the initiative'), and employers often regard it very favourably.

To make an Initiativbewerbung, you'll need your Anschreiben or lettre de motivation (cover letter), Lebenslauf or resume (curriculum vitae or CV), testimonials from other employers, and copies of any relevant certificates or qualifications. 

When naming these files, remember to use the German terms—it will help when they are searched for later!

It's worth taking the time to identify and address your application directly to the head or manager of the particular department you're looking to work within. This will create a stronger impression, and there's less chance of losing it in the daily flow of emails and information. 

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