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Finding work in Switzerland

Switzerland offers you one of the most competitive work places in the world. The economy is thriving and the GDP is always high, which is why the Government can dedicate a lot of its financial resources towards research, development and consultation projects. Furthermore, since the Government is largely capitalist with a fully-fledged employee welfare support programme, it has less than 3% unemployment rates, one of the lowest in the European continent.

Thus, if you can speak some of the Swiss official languages (not necessary, but always a plus point) and have exceptional proven skills and qualifications, Switzerland is a dream work destination.

Work Permits

All employed individuals in Switzerland, expats or not, are required to have valid work permits by the Government, in order to be able to live, work, avail of education and healthcare facilities. After the work permit is made available, a residence permit can also be requested by the applicant.

Please remember that you cannot apply for a work permit directly. It always has to be through your employer or employment agency, certifying that you are paid a salary above the stipulated minimum wages.

If you are assigned short-term work requiring you to stay less than three months in Switzerland, your employer has to register your name in an online form. There is no other work permit requirement for short term work assignment, since you are an EU citizen. For non-EU/EFTA citizens the work permit process is a huge hassle!

Looking for work

Job classified ads that appear in newspapers and magazines are scarce. If you are serious in searching for employment, you might want to sign up with job sites like http://www.jobup.ch for updates. There are employment agencies available in cities like Bern, Lucerne, Geneva and Zurich that connect prospective employees to employers looking for contractors.

The Need To Connect

Most companies in Switzerland have their own process of hiring employees and very rarely advertise for vacancies. You must look to actively build contacts and industry connections through sites like LinkedIn online or through offline conferences and work seminars. The more you are "seen" and "heard", the more chances you'll have of securing a job in your preferred field.

When called for an interview, give it your best shot. Be calm and composed. The Swiss believe in nonchalance and tranquillity. If you appear boisterous, unfocussed and disorganized, you are sure to lose the job before your interview even starts. Speak politely and yet, in a firm tone. Make sure you reach the venue five minutes early.

Self-Employment

Thanks to freelancing and work-from-home opportunities available in abundance today, you are no longer bound to local agencies for employment. If you have a stable Internet connection and a list of clients who regularly give you work opportunities, you are sure to get a valid work permit in Switzerland. You however, must prove that you are capable of earning enough to sustain yourself without depending on Government welfare assistance programmes.

If you are fluent in any one of the Swiss official languages and have an extraordinary skill set, it will be easy for you to get a work permit and look for work in Switzerland.