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Old 17.02.2009, 06:51
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How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Hello EF,

I am writing everyone for advice/opinions/job leads/words of hope/etc with regards to finding work in Switzerland. I am American, living in Chicago, and need some help.

I have been actively looking for a job in Switzerland, specifically in/around Zurich, for about one month now.

There is more to the story as well - my girlfriend received the opportunity of a lifetime to move to Zurich a couple of months ago and work for a large accounting firm there. She is there for 2 years. I am obviously trying my very hardest to move there too and be with her again. It is something I am putting my ALL into at the moment. As the majority of my reasoning for moving is for love, it is also out of being part of a place that I love and fit in.

Is there ANYTHING that I should be doing that I'm not at the moment to make this a reality for me!! What recruitment agencies worked the best for people?

I can move either to Geneva or Zurich (or any place in between) and have great work experience in sales/marketing/pr/writing and everything but the financial world. But even in that, I would be willing start at the bottom just to have a company sponsor me.

So please, if anyone out there has any advice, words of wisdom, job openings, I am all ears. Please send me a PM if you would like to see where my work experience lies or would like to speak further.

THANKS!!
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Old 17.02.2009, 07:24
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

I want to clarify as well that I am planning on being in Switzerland for much longer than 2 years. My girlfriend has the flexibility as well so I didn't want to come off like I was only going to be there for that amount of time Also, even if things don't go as planned with her, I still will stay in Switzerland just because I know that it is one of the best places to live in the world!
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Old 17.02.2009, 09:20
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

If possible I'd say the first thing would be to be in Switzerland, in order to meet people and actively network.

For how long have you been working ? In which industry ? Does your current company, or a former one, have activities, suppliers, customers or partners in Switzerland that might be interested by your skills ?

If you're not yet on LinkedIn this is also a great way to find out who in your network could connect you to a contact or a job in Switzerland.

Assuming you don't speak French or German you might find this list of English speaking companies useful.
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Old 17.02.2009, 09:46
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

The market at the moment is absolutely woeful. In the first few weeks of being here, I had a job secured- but because of visa processing delays couldn't start immediately.

The job was offered to someone else because they needed an immediate starter. And I began searching again. Just getting into interviews is proving really bloody difficult right now. I'm not saying its not possible- but I'm very well qualified, I have great experience and I'm pretty certain I come across positively. But I've been looking for about 2 months seriously (discounting christmas period) etc, and I haven't found a job.

LinkedIn is a good idea. So is calling in all the favours you can to get nominated for a job from within. A lot of roles aren't being advertised- as an example, UBS recently decided to let go of 2000 people, so any available roles they'd be trying to fill in-house.

You have to stay focussed, apply to everything you can. Initially, almost all my applications were through recruiters- now I'm controlling the situation a lot more. Individual cover letters for roles, amended CV's highlighting relevant past experience. When a market is this tight, I figure I have to do everything I can to make myself stick out.

This is all from within Switzerland. Outside Switzerland, I can just reiterate- LinkedIn, and start calling favours. Contact recruiters. I've found Adecco particularly good (for financial services), Michael Page particularly awful- but my husband found his role through MP, so maybe I just had bad luck.
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Old 17.02.2009, 09:57
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Reverse the role as if someone from EF asking for your advice on finding work in Chicago/Illinois.

What other parts of the forum have you searched for employment links?

Contacted the Swiss/American chamber of commerce?

US embassy in CH?

Bear in mind only specialists have a chance of being approved for permits, what specialist skills and experience do you have?

To what extent are you familiar with the requirements of a typical Swiss job application (from your girlfriend)? Have you all the supporting documentation prepared? Expect incomplete applications not to be accepted.

Oh, and finally what are your local language skills/what are you currently doing to improve them? Do you have certification if a non-native speaker?

Last edited by magyir; 17.02.2009 at 10:15. Reason: additional remarks
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Old 17.02.2009, 10:03
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Quote:
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I want to clarify as well that I am planning on being in Switzerland for much longer than 2 years. My girlfriend has the flexibility as well so I didn't want to come off like I was only going to be there for that amount of time Also, even if things don't go as planned with her, I still will stay in Switzerland just because I know that it is one of the best places to live in the world!
Don't want to be too nosy, but is marriage in the cards? That way, you
will have at least a work permit.
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Old 17.02.2009, 10:05
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

I'd have to agree with alaind, ive just moved over from australia and applied to quite a few jobs while i was still there. I had no positive responses but as soon as I got here that all changed (although im still in the interview process). Ive found that alot of the larger recruitment firms e.g. Adecco, simply match your profile with whats on their books and if it doesn't fit an existing position they don't help you much after that.
My advice is don't be too picky and like any other country be prepared to write a whole lot of cover letters / Cv's etc.

Best of luck!
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Old 17.02.2009, 18:33
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Hi,

I wrote about how I found a job in Switzerland as well as some tips awhile back on my blog if you are interested:

http://onebigyodel.blogspot.com/2008...itzerland.html
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Old 17.02.2009, 18:44
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

I don't know your job area but I would first try the internal transfer route, especially as you have a fairly good reason for wanting to go there, not just some urge to see the world (which is great but employers might not look as greatly on it). Second route, is networking, networking, networking, your gf must have some contacts already. In the current environment, it will probably alot of time and effort to land something especially as a company must apply for a work permit for you (this is where the marriage thing would help)
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Old 18.02.2009, 07:12
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Thank you everyone for your help with this!

I have checked out most things but from what I am gathering, it seems like I just have to make the move to Switzerland and see how I fare. I am quite timid due to the fact that we are in an economic downturn and have a job at the present. The only internal relocation would be to London, which I am in the process of doing as well, but would just love Switzerland moreso.

But, without risk, there can be no reward. Thank you again and any other leads or job opportunities for a motivated, hard working American in sales/marketing/market research/communications/publishing/writing/pr, please let me know!
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Old 27.05.2009, 20:46
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

If you love her, then just do it. The rest will fall into place.
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Old 27.05.2009, 21:19
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

Hi

You mention you are from Chicago. Baxter Healthcare have their US/Global office in Chicago and their European office in Zurich. I used to work for them ages ago when I was in the UK.

Maybe you could approach their American office first and get a contact for Europe? I know they have sales/marketing functions based in Zurich,

Good luck

Annie
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Old 27.05.2009, 21:39
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

I would also recommend taking some German course before coming, it will make things easier for you
And be persistent try www.xing.com is like linkedin.com but more orientated towards European market, especially Germany, Austria, Switzerland.

hope this helps

Cheers,

Christian
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Old 28.05.2009, 18:14
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Re: How do I find a job in Switzerland while living in the US?

I do not know what kind of sales experience you have but if you have anything in the medical pharmaceutical areas there always seem to be some positions available selling equipment for labs and the like, most of these employers are willing to deal with someone who does not speak the language.

I am in California and just got an offer in Zurich, in the above mentioned sector. I do have the added benefit of having EU citizenship but you really need to start looking at multinationals in the area and go to each of their websites and see who they looking for, I had little or no luck on the larger job sites or with recruiters but always at least got a reply when I applied directly, I also applied in English but mentioned my taking language classes.

I would be willing to tell any prospective employer that you are willing to even fly yourself there for an interview, I presume you may be going there anyway to see your GF.

Very best of luck and I will send a PM if I spot anything,
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