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Old 07.01.2020, 09:26
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

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Get a job with an international who has an office in CH and internal transfer?
Just be aware that the days of the Mother Ship sending non-EU experts to Switzerland (the reason many of us came over 20 plus years ago) are if not over, then waning.

Some of the larger MNCs here, especially IT, have for years been moving jobs out of Switzerland, not bringing people in. Simply put, in a global world fewer jobs need to be in Switzerland. Especially in a global market under cost pressure.

The stark reality today is that Swiss wages for a number of jobs are too high vs value produced to justify keeping them here. In an MNC with access to global markets if a job can be done elsewhere, or automated, it has been or will be. (In an ironic twist of fate, some of the biggies have for years been offshoring to the US in pursuit of lower costs.)

The much publicised lack of qualified local labor - again, the reason many of us were sent here decades ago - has been a factor in this exodus. In a more global world, why go to the time and expense of bringing people to high cost Switzerland if a job can be done elsewhere?

Bringing an American over adds additional costs, thanks to US taxes. Another barrier to your idea of an international transfer.

Those that are still bringing in non-EU folks en masse are often doing so via low cost bodyshops to replace more expensive employees already here. (But that's a separate discussion.) And those jobs (supposedly) have limited tenure.

So while your strategy might work, be aware it's a longer shot than you might imagine.

There are still opportunities here, but they are harder to find. I'd keep applying directly to Swiss jobs rather than hoping for an international transfer.

---

I worry when I read of an American wanting to move here for ideological reasons. Just please be aware that the reality seldom matches the myth. If you have already seen that as a tourist, the much harder day to day life as a resident could be a disappointment to you. Please pay attention to Jim's comment on the collective, rather than individual, organization of Swiss society. It's an eye opener for many Americans.

If your move is driven by a desire to get out of the US, why choose one of the countries most difficult to immigrate to as a non-EU citizen, a society that is decidedly immigrant unfriendly?


Good luck with your dream... but do keep a dash of reality on hand, and a Plan B.
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  #22  
Old 07.01.2020, 10:52
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

Hey, OP is 20 YO. It's OK to travel the world and experience other cultures. The worst can happen is that he returns home happier after trying something different.

I'm quite surprised you did not landed a job after the ETHZ masters. Did you go to employment fairs? Polymesse? Geospatial information science and data analytics make me remember insurance companies that offer jobs on risk management, catastrophe modelling, natural hazards, etc. Large insurance companies often have programs for people fresh out of Masters where you spend 2-3 months in several teams around the company until you find your better fit.
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Old 09.01.2020, 20:42
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

My advice if you're attached to Switzerland but not region, is to apply everywhere in the country to the largest companies that you are best suited to. Each canton makes its own decisions and allows a certain number of permits. When I was hoping to get the company I worked for in the US to sponsor my permit in CH, I learned that Zurich was almost impossible (I'm told mostly the permits go to Google employees - so if you can get a job there a tour might be possible), but Zug and Basel were on the table if I had the right industry needs for those areas (especially if a company with clout like Novartis benefited from my employment).

Agreed that as a 20-something American who doesn't speak the local language most cities here will be somewhat boring, and Zurich/Geneva are probably the best.

If you have any chance of gaining citizenship to an EU country via your parents/grandparents do that - it'll make it easier to get to Switzerland. And if you're just trying to get out of the US for a bit, several countries (including Ireland and Australia for sure) have very easy short-term live/work permits for people under 30.
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Old 09.01.2020, 21:53
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

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but I'm open to other regions if my chances of success are better.
Canada?
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Old 09.01.2020, 22:34
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

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Welcome to the Forum. I don't have many suggestions but here are a few.

1. When applying to jobs here, make sure your CV is in the "Swiss" format - photograph, nationality, marital status, hobbies, etc. Any potential employer needs to think they must have YOU, not some Swiss or EU citizen or another non-EU. The employer has to spend time and money to go through the hiring process, so show them why you're worth it.

2. Work on your language skills and get a certificate to prove them. This will help you to apply and interview in German and also gives you a slight leg up over the other thousands of non-EU applicants that don't speak German.

3. Research what companies do the type of work you do or would like to do and keep applying to them.

Several dozen is a drop in the bucket. When people are on unemployment here, they're expected to apply to at least 10 jobs per month. If you're not doing at least that many, you're probably not applying enough and the odds of getting a favorable response are much lower.
When I applied for my current job in Basel, my CV was totally non-Swiss style, i.e. no photo, no nationality, no marital status, no hobby. I know zero German but the interview panel did not even ask about it.

That said, the company I applied to did not follow the Swiss style as it is US company. After two months of working here, I feel that what they concern most (up to 90%, I guess) is my technical skills. English is the medium of instruction/communication here.

PS: No offense, 3Wishes. I just offer another perspective.

PS: I am a non-EU chemist working in Basel since last November.
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Old 10.01.2020, 07:26
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Re: IT Professional US>Zurich LF Advice

I’ve been closely involved in the past with looking at IT engineer CVs and the interview / hiring process. The photo and marital status is normally the last thing I look at - if ever. Most important is the CV lists the skills we asked for or something close / equivalent, plus gives details of projects where these skills were learned / used.

I also look for evidence that the candidate has a breadth of experience - which means there is more chance they are able learn on the job and dig into something new that might not be in their core skillset.

My experience is the RAV-style two-pager efforts give too little information to be able to make a judgement.

The other point is to make sure the skillset specified for the job is mentioned clearly near the start of the CV. I rarely bothered to read cover letters in the past.

Also make sure spelling and punctuation is correct - in many IT jobs, attention to detail is important and a CV with glaring spelling mistakes, misplaced apostrophes etc does not look good in this regard.

In the end, the purpose of a CV is to get you past the HR drones and onto the desk of the project team manager, and to convince the PM to invite you for an interview. Often we’ve received dozens of CVs from agencies and again, it helps if the skills we asked for are on or close to the front. Be prepared to tailor your Cv for each job to emphasise the things that are being asked for.

PS. One route might be to apply for jobs in the US with larger companies that have a presence in Switzerland and work towards an internal transfer to Switzerland. e.g. pharma, finance. The larger companies are more likely to have the resources to arrange work permit, visa etc.

Often in such companies you end up collaborating with overseas colleagues and that is where the opportunities for foreign travel / relocation can open up.

Cheers,
Nick

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When I applied for my current job in Basel, my CV was totally non-Swiss style, i.e. no photo, no nationality, no marital status, no hobby. I know zero German but the interview panel did not even ask about it.

That said, the company I applied to did not follow the Swiss style as it is US company. After two months of working here, I feel that what they concern most (up to 90%, I guess) is my technical skills. English is the medium of instruction/communication here.

PS: No offense, 3Wishes. I just offer another perspective.

PS: I am a non-EU chemist working in Basel since last November.
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Last edited by nickatbasel; 10.01.2020 at 07:46. Reason: merging posts
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