© Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Cover letter, work certificates, recommendations... Delivering a complete application with the right documents is essential to successfully land a job in Switzerland. 

This content was published on November 30, 2022

Finding a vacancy 

In Switzerland, job offers are published in newspapers, on specialised websites, on employment agency platforms and directly on company websites. 

Many positions are filled, however, without ever being publicly advertised. So do not hesitate to send off unsolicited applications, build and nurture your professional network and tell your friends and acquaintances what kind of work interests you. For a first contact with a potential employer, it is enough to send in your CV (or resumé) and a short cover letter.  

Application documents 

To make your application stand out from the rest, you must compile and submit the requisite documents very carefully. These generally include: 

- cover letter: this should be no more than one page long and highlight your different strengths, your qualifications and experience, and why you think you are the right person for the job. The letter should be tailored to the company and the position you are interested in.   

- CV: this should be neatly laid out and succinct, providing all the information that could interest the recruiter at a glance. It should fit in one or two pages. You should include your personal data and summarise your education, work experience and any special skills. Be sure also to adapt the content and wording to the company and job profile and to explain any gaps in your professional trajectory (it is better to mention a year of travel abroad than to leave that year blank). If you wish to include a photo of yourself, make certain that the picture is of the best possible quality.   =

- work certificates: if you have any work certificates confirming previous positions that you held at a company, these should also be provided. 

- diplomas and training certificates: one or two particularly relevant diplomas or certificates can be included. 

- recommendation: a letter of recommendation from a former employer or manager is an asset. 

Some job offers list the documents you should submit. Traditionally, applications were sent in by post, but increasingly companies and websites offer an online procedure.  

The cover letter and CV should be written in the same language as the job offer or the company’s website. 

If around two weeks after sending in your application you still have not heard from the employer, you may call the company to inquire how the process is going. 

Job interviews 

The interview is a key step in the selection process as it enables the recruiter to differentiate between the candidates. You should therefore prepare for your interview very thoroughly by finding out as much as you can about the company, what it does and the position you are interested in. You should also figure out what to say about any weaknesses or gaps in your CV and your salary expectations.  

The Swiss value punctuality. You should dress appropriately for the company and the position. 

During the interview, it is advisable to smile, be attentive and listen, not interrupt, show interest in the firm and ask some questions. This is also a good opportunity for you to highlight your achievements and skills.  

For more information on finding a job in Switzerland, see: 

- advice from the orientation.chExternal link website is available in Switzerland’s official languages 

- tips for applying for jobs on the work.swissExternal link website 

- official list of employment agenciesExternal link 

- foreign qualificationsExternal link recognised in Switzerland on the website of the State Secretariat for Education 

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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