Monday, August 18, 2008

How to Find a Job in Switzerland: Advice from a Trailing Spouse

Sometimes people ask me, as a “trailing spouse”, how I managed to find a job so quickly upon arriving in Switzerland from the United States. The real reason is that I started my search before I left home. Upon giving my notice to my former employee I asked if they could help me find a job overseas. They agreed to send my resume to the New York office in their network, who then forwarded it to the Zurich office.

I was lucky. The Zurich office needed an English speaking writer at the time and I had an interview set-up before I even left U.S. soil.

With that said, here are some job hunting tips and tools:

1. Use the networks you already have. You may not know anyone where you are moving to, but chances are, you know someone that knows someone. Get the word out that you are looking for a job in Switzerland. Before you even leave home. Use your former office for help and contacts.

2. Use networking websites like LinkedIn or even Facebook, depending on your industry. For example, advertising professionals love Facebook.

3. Check englishforum.ch for jobs or post a note about what you’re looking for. People on this forum are very helpful with information and you’ll most likely get some sort of response.

4. Look up international companies based in Switzerland. They will be the most likely to have jobs for English speakers. Check their websites. Some examples are UBS, Zurich, Siemens, Credit Suisse, Alstom, IBM, DOW, Google, and ABB.

5. For media, journalism, PR, and advertising jobs, check persoenlich.ch. It’s in German, but ads for English positions are usually in English.

6. If you are a teacher, try Zurich International School or any other international school in Switzerland.

7. Other good job searching sites are stellen.ch, or topjobs.ch

8. Upon arrival, join clubs with fellow English speakers. Meeting people and making contacts will give you even more ideas and options.

If you have any other ideas or websites, please feel free to leave a comment.

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