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Old 31.12.2010, 01:27
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Letters of reference

Hello. I am working on compiling letters of reference from my previous employers in the Unites States.

Is it advisable for them to write the typical American reference letter or should it be structured somewhat like a 'Zeugnis' (am I getting that right?)...with bullet points of my responsibilities, etc? I could provide them a template based on some previous threads I saw on here.

What do you think? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 31.12.2010, 05:59
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Re: Letters of reference

Hi,

Some of the ones i have are one page long, explaining what the job was,how i worked in team , good boy etc.. another one i have is just 2 lines " we state that xxx worked here form xx til xx , if you need more info, contact me ".
I've ran this by various Job Agencies and they all said it is ok, as long as you have a record on paper that you worked with them.

If you don't have a reference for it, it doesn't exist for them.

Some kind words on headed paper always do well.

Hope it works

Good luck with the job hunt

Joey
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Old 31.12.2010, 06:38
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Re: Letters of reference

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Hello. I am working on compiling letters of reference from my previous employers in the Unites States.

Is it advisable for them to write the typical American reference letter or should it be structured somewhat like a 'Zeugnis' (am I getting that right?)...with bullet points of my responsibilities, etc? I could provide them a template based on some previous threads I saw on here.

What do you think? Thanks in advance for your help.
You could be navigating a mine field.

Most employers in the US will not write a letter with extremely positive
information because of lawsuits.

Most companies will only write:

"Mr. Smith was employed from January 1, 2008 to December 31,2010 as
a Senior Accountant."

You may get the company to include your detailed duties as well.


This could, however, be the mine field. Neutral references in Switzerland are seen as bad references.

You will have to stress this point with your potential employers so
they will not see a neutral letter as bad. Otherwise, you are wasting
your time and effort.

If you can get your employer to write a very positive reference letter in
the form of a Zeugnis, then it would be helpful.

Good luck!!
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Old 31.12.2010, 06:52
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Re: Letters of reference

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You could be navigating a mine field.

Most employers in the US will not write a letter with extremely positive
information because of lawsuits.
To "solve" that little problem when I first came out here, I had a few coworkers write personal letters of reference as well. I then sent the employers the official one, followed by some of the personal letters from very experienced colleagues, and that seems to have worked.
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Old 31.12.2010, 08:15
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Re: Letters of reference

Good luck and let me know how these other references go!
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Old 31.12.2010, 09:15
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Re: Letters of reference

I think most decent employers and recruiters know about how US works around work references etc and would not pressure you for them. There are always professional references they can use.

This whole business of Zeugnis is such crap in DE and CH and few other countries. Glad to hear it is slowly becoming less important.
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Old 31.12.2010, 09:33
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Re: Letters of reference

Thanks for your feedback....It's very helpful.
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Old 10.03.2011, 18:42
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Re: Letters of reference

Hi everyone, I'm new to Switzerland (from the UK) and have applied for a couple of jobs since I got here but no luck (but to be honest I didn't try that hard) and now I'm applying for a job I really really want and I'm putting together my application which I have to submit tomorrow. I have just read somewhere that in my application I need to include letters of reference or Zeugnisse from previous employers and now I've read something similar in the previous posts in this thread.
I didn't know that I needed to do this here. It's so different from the way things are done in the UK where you just include names and contact details for referees and then the prospective employer contacts them for a reference once they decide to offer you the job, and the reference is written with the job in mind that you're applying for. I have no idea how I'm going to get these Zeugnisse sorted out, and especially not by tomorrow. Asking all my previous employers for these when I haven't even been offered a job. Is there any way around it do you think or will the company not even consider me unless I have them? What if I explain that they don't exist in the UK but I can try to get them next week or something? How did other people from UK get around this when applying for jobs in Switzerland, or were you really well prepared and brought the Zeugnisse with you?
Panicking slightly...
Thanks in advance for your advice people.
Lara
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Old 10.03.2011, 18:49
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Re: Letters of reference

When I was new here, from the UK, knowing that I would be looking for a job, it was pretty obvious to me that the employers here wouldn't necessarily be getting in touch with my ex-employers in England - especially as, in those days, far few Brits spoke German and far fewer Swiss spoke English than they do these days. I just told the folk I might be looking for a job here and would probably need references. Still got them!

I can only suggest you make the best of a bad job.
If I were you I'd make a really nice list of your schools with the name of the headmaster or whatever they have in the UK these days and the name as much info as you can get together about your various ex-bosses. Then I'd get on the phone to those people and say what you'd done.
Other folk whom you might consider as referees, ring them and ask pronto.

You've got all evening.
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Old 10.03.2011, 18:54
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Re: Letters of reference

Ok, thanks for your advice. I'll do my best.

Out of interest, what did you do about the references being in English - did you submit them in English or translate them into German? Are you allowed to translate them yourself or do you have to get them translated by somebody impartial?

Thanks again.

Lara
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Old 10.03.2011, 19:11
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Re: Letters of reference

I think I submitted them in English and my future employers probably pretended they could understand them.
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