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Old 23.10.2006, 11:18
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How to write a Swiss CV?

Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on how to write my CV to the standard which is expected by a potential Swiss employer. I did a search on the internet, but it came up with mostly rubbish, but I thought there would be a lot more relevant information from here anyway.

So far I have heard all sorts of things, from putting in a photo of yourself to attaching school reports. I would love to know what they actually want to see, I mean just how many years of school reports do they want? (How many years could I even find?)

So if anyone has experience and advice, or even a rough template which people could view to get more of an idea it would be really appreciated.

Also if you have any tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd here please share!

Thanks for your tips and advice


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Old 23.10.2006, 11:26
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on how to write my CV to the standard which is expected by a potential Swiss employer. I did a search on the internet, but it came up with mostly rubbish, but I thought there would be a lot more relevant information from here anyway.

So far I have heard all sorts of things, from putting in a photo of yourself to attaching school reports. I would love to know what they actually want to see, I mean just how many years of school reports do they want? (How many years could I even find?)

So if anyone has experience and advice, or even a rough template which people could view to get more of an idea it would be really appreciated.

Also if you have any tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd here please share!

Thanks for your tips and advice


I just use my UK style one.

I still have my UK-style attitude to agents when it comes to supplying references. Sorry BoyD, you know what I mean...

I can supply chapter and verse if they ask... but no-one has yet.

Personally: I reckon (and there are far more experienced bods than me here) that the UK style CV is OK for the multi-nationals who are used to them.
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Old 23.10.2006, 11:34
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

"David's honeymoon is over. He really must buckle-down and put in a great deal more effort if he expects to succeed in the coming term..."

A few degrees later...

dave

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I mean just how many years of school reports do they want? (How many years could I even find?)
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Old 23.10.2006, 11:36
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

I'm the same. I just don't have a Swiss style CV. I admit that I'd mostly only used it for contracts or for positions where the person hiring (i.e. not HR) is more interested in a few key points rather than the thickness of thing.

I think for the majority of jobs in Switzerland, and the majority of employers, that a Swiss style CV (including stating your religion!!) is expected.

I hope that I never have to send one, because I just don't have all my school reports anymore ;-)
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Old 23.10.2006, 11:38
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

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I hope that I never have to send one, because I just don't have all my school reports anymore ;-)
I bet your mum has them in the loft - mine has
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Old 23.10.2006, 11:40
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

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I bet your mum has them in the loft - mine has
I expect she probably burned them so as not to bring any shame on the family

Anyway, I guess we should get to the heard of the matter. I'm sure Richard, if he isn't in the arcade, will come along shortly and give us the low down on exactly how to make a Swiss CV.
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Old 23.10.2006, 11:42
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

The school I attended had a mark for Achievement A..F (Outstanding..Zero) and a mark for Effort 1..5 (stellar..none)

The holy grail was to get a A/5 on your school report. Outstanding results with no effort expended. Rumour has it that someone did it once, but they have since died in a mysterious gardening accident.

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I bet your mum has them in the loft - mine has
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Old 23.10.2006, 12:47
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
I just use my UK style one.

I still have my UK-style attitude to agents when it comes to supplying references. Sorry BoyD, you know what I mean...

I can supply chapter and verse if they ask... but no-one has yet.

Personally: I reckon (and there are far more experienced bods than me here) that the UK style CV is OK for the multi-nationals who are used to them.
No need to apologize, you are right to be cautious. I've heard all sorts goes on in some places, references only being asked for to chase leads and so on, not ideal practice, not at all!

Oral refs should be checked before starting work, I personally like to do it between the telephone interview and the face-to-face, helps with getting a quick, positive decision in my experience.
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Old 23.10.2006, 13:05
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

CV - UK versus Swiss

Hmmm, I don't think the actual style of the CV is that much different.

Shooting from the hip I'd say that big plus points go to those that use no more than 2 fonts, don't bold/italic text in the body of job descriptions to make things stand out, contain short but relevant description of EACH project and the applicant's ACTUAL role in that project (eg: "Developer" not great, "Java/J2EE Developer" better, "Front-end/GUI Java/J2SE/J2EE Developer" ideal), fill in the blanks (2004-2005 - Took a break to travel, for example), skills list is good but only if you know the tools/apps/etc well, oh and last but not least - contact details are always handy.

Flashing text is the devil's work......I have no idea why that is or has been or will ever be a good idea...

Hope that helps, very IT focused but that's what I (kinda!) know.....

What is key, and this applies mainly to permie roles, is that you DO supply all the relevant documents at the earliest possible stage.

This means uni/college degrees/certificates and preferably a final or "zwischen" reference from all employers listed on your CV. Nothing more is required, no school reports for example.

If you are coming from abroad and have never had written refs then I'd always explain this in the mail/application letter and, at the very least, offer to provide the names of referees in each position.

The above is assuming that you are applying direct to the client.

Of course if you use the services of a reputable and talented agent/agency then they'll aid you with all of the above!
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Old 23.10.2006, 13:16
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
Of course if you use the services of a reputable and talented agent/agency then they'll aid you with all of the above!
Dare I? You've left yourself open here...

Nah, this post is enough

No seriously, good points. Thanks.

Edit:
What are your views/practises on scanned and OCR'd CVs?
There are some agencies that do over here and I get a headache trying to follow them...
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Old 23.10.2006, 13:16
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
Hi all,

I'm looking for advice on how to write my CV to the standard which is expected by a potential Swiss employer. I did a search on the internet, but it came up with mostly rubbish, but I thought there would be a lot more relevant information from here anyway.
Okay if I am being asked here is the answer to the wrong question. I do not think you are wanting to know how to write a c.v. but how to write the job application - ie a (German word) Bewerbung.

Presentation and information - assuming this is direct to an employer will get you everywhere.

Firstly the Swiss will think nothing of spending up to 10 Francs on getting the right type of folder to put your application in - no joke.

This will be a fold out on two or three sides . ie it will either be like a book left leaf, right leaf or like a fancy restaurant card - left leaf, right leaf & middle leaf.

This will then allow you the opportunity to separate out the key parts of the application which are - the cover letter, which will be separate on the book style folder, the c.v. and the references.

Lets now look at references. References can go chronologically forwards or backwards and can include all the shit of the world. I have had some applications that have been practically books The principle of the Swiss reference is to back up any claim made in the c.v. and it is a useful exercise when writing your c.v. to cross reference the references. Do not forget it is entirely possible in Switzerland to get a job based entirely on the written reference, which is why it is SO important that they are accurate and fair. The Swiss reference is not a simple affair but you can search this forum for what I, and others, have written on that...

Included under the word references is also "other documents". As a foreigner you MUST include a copy of your permit. Also expected will be school, university and professional results, certificates, diplomas etc. Here some also go to the effort of including training attendance certificates, but I would only do that if you do not have any other wares to offer.

Typically the references go on the right hand side of the application and if you want to ignore the folder part, then they go at the very back.

To the c.v. - this goes on the left hand side of the application or to the front for the folderless.

Firstly you have a MAXIMUM of two sides excluding the cover - what another cover! It is expected that you have a title page that will basically look like mine which I have attached.

Your c.v. should then be split into several sections that must start with personal information. This will "normally" then be quite detailed personal information such as Date of Birth and Age, Nationality, Permit type, marital status and situation, Children and their ages. Contact details are of course not duplicated they are on the front cover.

The next thing is almost a free choice and is perm any one from education or work. By education I also mean professional titles as well. If you choose the work then you go in reverse order ie latest job first with ever decreasing detail but anyway cross referenced to the references. DO NOT write an essay - it is keywords that are being searched out, so make it easy. I have even seen that just listed these as relevant for the particular role ie

ABB 90-96 Manager
Programm Management
Partnermanagement

Qualitätsmanagement

CS 97- 2004 Senior manager
Programm Management
Partnermanagement

Qualitätsmanagement
Mitarbeiter Coaching
Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung

Note the word coaching is English. This is entirely normal to use business commonly used english words and phrases even in spoken business German. I cannot speak for the French or Italian regions, but I would guess that is the case in the Suisse Romande but not over the border.



It is normal to include in the style of a new job any internal job changes or promotions even if they are with the same employer and no location change. The employer will also have their address included. So for example Credit Suisse would not be good enough it would need to be Credit Suisse 8045 Zürich. Although you might be writing it in English do include the German spellings for German words and similarly for French and Italian ones.

For education you need to specify that you basically finished school ie you went to this secondary school and got x o levels etc. For university similar that you went to university and got a degree in Dynamics. The certificates should be included in the references, but to be honest as long as you have a few years under your belt then forget the school ones as they are meaningless to a Swiss employer - I actually have no idea where my "O" and "A" level certificates are.

And finally as an option you can add a section other relevant information if you have any or hobbies and interest. I often include a bit under there just to demonstrate I have a personality in the cupboard which I can pull out occassionally.

And then there is the cover letter which goes in the middle of the three leaf folder or separate to the application documents if you have a two leaf or folder file. This should basically repeat the job requirements but saying that you have done that elsewhere. Do NOT ASSUME the person reading your file will make the effort to even open your c.v. if you do not say in the cover letter you can do 90% of what they want. Also do not assume that they will be offended if you repeat their exact terms in your cover letter.

And finally try and make yourself different. I have my c.v. mainly in two columns one with the company and date details for the jobs and one for the very short job highlights descriptions, however it is all right aligned.

Furthermore be very sure you have a good idea who your target audience is. If it says write the application in English then do that and add more c.v. detail, although not too much, but don't forget the style itself does not change irrespective of the language.
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Old 23.10.2006, 13:31
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
Dare I? You've left yourself open here...

Nah, this post is enough

No seriously, good points. Thanks.

Edit:
What are your views/practises on scanned and OCR'd CVs?
There are some agencies that do over here and I get a headache trying to follow them...
"left yourself open here" - Fire at will Monsieur! Just remember that my gun is also loaded!

No probs.

Scanned and OCR'd? Don't get it.

You mean an "uneditable" nasty looking block of text?

Good god, do they really? Seriously, that's got to be horrible.

Must be some attempt to stop you cutting and pasting the nice ones into your own "CV"....
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Old 23.10.2006, 13:58
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
Firstly the Swiss will think nothing of spending up to 10 Francs on getting the right type of folder to put your application in - no joke.
This brings about another important point in making an application: Email vs Snailmail.

Different HR Managers have difference preferences. Some like the ability to "flick" through a hard copy, others like the convenience of email. (ie they don't clutter the desk, and take 10% as much time to respond to, especially the declined ones). I used to share an office with the HR Manager, and she spent god knows how long copying, stamping and returning applications by post.
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Old 23.10.2006, 14:03
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Both. It gives you two bites of the cherry:

a) electronic to allow easy distribution to and within target company, but with downside of easy deletion.

b) snail-mail for a real physical application that must be dealt with in some way and is far more tangible and visible to the recruiter.

dave



Quote:
This brings about another important point in making an application: Email vs Snailmail.
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Old 23.10.2006, 14:27
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
This brings about another important point in making an application: Email vs Snailmail.

Different HR Managers have difference preferences. Some like the ability to "flick" through a hard copy, others like the convenience of email. (ie they don't clutter the desk, and take 10% as much time to respond to, especially the declined ones). I used to share an office with the HR Manager, and she spent god knows how long copying, stamping and returning applications by post.
This is relatively simple. Unless it says email applications only or email preferred send it physically. This puts an onus on the HR manager to do something with it which at least involves opening it. I also put a tiny drop of glue between the two c.v. pages I have so that I know if they have at least read it. You would be amazed how many thank you for the interesting c.v. and have never even read it
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Old 23.10.2006, 14:51
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

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I also put a tiny drop of glue between the two c.v. pages I have so that I know if they have at least read it. You would be amazed how many thank you for the interesting c.v. and have never even read it
Nice one!
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Old 23.10.2006, 15:07
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

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Nice one!
we're talking Prittstick not No More Nails or Superglue, litey
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Old 23.10.2006, 15:10
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

Quote:
...I also put a tiny drop of glue between the two c.v. pages I have so that I know if they have at least read it. You would be amazed how many thank you for the interesting c.v. and have never even read it
No wonder they never read it, the pages were glued together!
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Old 23.10.2006, 15:24
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

There is nothing specific to worry about because this is Switzerland. The classic corporate UK / US model is fine. I'd simply not bother, should the employer be Swiss-German, write it in German, since these folks are at least as comfortable communicating in English as they are in High (Germany's) German.
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Old 23.10.2006, 17:58
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Re: How to write a Swiss CV?

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we're talking Prittstick not No More Nails or Superglue, litey
Damn, I wasted my money on this :

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