Working

Working in Switzerland offers you a high salary and good working conditions. However, before you start working you should be aware of the working habit in your professional field – Swiss people are hard workers!

Official regulations in Switzerland
If you are a citizen of a EU or EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) member state then you can move freely to Switzerland and work here. If you work for longer than three months you will need a residence permit. In order to receive the residence permit you need to submit a valid ID or passport and an employment contract. If you are a third-country national you should consult this page. Due to a law that was accepted in 2016, third-country nationals may only be hired if no one with equivalent qualifications can be found in Switzerland or in a EU/EFTA member state. However, try your luck in finding a job in Switzerland!

EURES is the European Job Mobility Portal. So if you happen to be a citizen of Europe we recommend you having a look at that page (it is in many different languages available). Check out the EURES data bank on living and working conditions in Switzerland. Here on EURES you find more information about minimum wages, working hours and social security.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland collected a link list with international job search engines to find a job. There is also sector-specific information available to easily find the job that best suits your interests.

How to Apply to a Swiss Job
In Switzerland it might differ from your home country which application documents are requested and how to structure your CV and motivation letter. We help you with that.
At EURES you find more information on the application process in Switzerland.

Application Documents
When applying for a job, in Switzerland it is important to send a motivation letter, CV, and certificates from former working experiences.

  • Motivation letter: in the motivation letter it is important to address the person responsible for the application. If no name was given write “Sehr geschätzte Damen und Herren” (dear sirs and madams). Bring up the points that were mentioned in the job ad. You should be short and concise and say why you are the best candidate for this position and what your reason for application is. The letter shouldn’t be longer than one A4 page. You can close the letter by suggesting an interview.
  • CV: in Switzerland it is still custom to put a profile picture in the CV. Be aware that in some job ads it is implicitly stated not to put a photo in the application. Then you should remove it of course. Your CV should cover the following points: name, surname, address, e-mail address, phone number, date of birth, nationality (residence permit), general education (schooling and training) working experience, voluntary experience, linguistic knowledge, IT knowledge (if applicable), general interests (hobbies etc).
  • Certificates: every certificate that states skills that you need for for new job, you should upload in your application. It is best to put all the certificates from language schools, voluntary work etc., as well as references into a separate file, which you attach in your e-mail in pdf-format.

It is not necessary to send an extract from your police record – only if it is specifically asked for. If you finished your work in Switzerland you shouldn’t leave without being given a certificate. You are entitled to an appraisal of your work. Job applications are sent electronically if it is not specifically asked for a hard copy. Make sure that it is always easy for the HR people to come back to you, so state your phone number and e-mail address not only in the CV but also in the text in the mail you sent for the application. EURES provides a document of how to apply which provides more detailed information.

Online platforms for job search (all in English available):
Jobs.ch
Alpha.ch
Jobwinner.ch
Jobup.ch
Monster.ch

Teaching as a Language Assistant
If you are a citizen from a country with English, German, French, Italian or Spanish as national language you can join the Sprachassistenzprogramm in Switzerland. It is run by Movetia, the Swiss agency for exchange and mobility, which advises a minimum gross wage of 3200 CHF. In the Sprachassistenzprogramm board and lodging is not included, neither are insurances or the travel costs to Switzerland.

If the aforementioned languages are not your mother tongue and you are not a EU-citizen or a Swiss abroad, you are not eligible for the Sprachassistenzprogramm. However, you can check specific Swiss schools directly – often they are in need of language teachers who are proficient speakers of the aforementioned languages. If you have any questions on how to become a language teacher in Switzerland just ask us.

First Working Experience with an Internship
Internships are your first step into business and help you find a job after school or university. Also they are of great help for you personally to find out if you want to stay in that field of work or not. Doing an internship abroad shows your ability to cope with a different culture, language and working environment.

Internships vary not only from country to country but also from organisation to organisation. So before you start your internship (Praktikum in German) you should be aware of the conditions of your internship for they could be different from the ones you know from your home country. You also have to check if you are being paid and if the salary is enough for you to make ends meet. The cost of living the ETH Zürich is presenting seems to be a good indicator you can take as point of reference.

Working as Au Pair
As an au pair in Switzerland you will be working for a family and look out for their children. You are in charge of childcare while the parents are not home and also you are supposed to do some housework like cleaning, laundry or cooking.

Switzerland offers a perfect set-up for your unique au pair experience. Though it is a tiny country it offers four different language areas to further develop your language skills. Decide on which of the following languages you would like to improve: (Swiss-) German, French, Italian or Rhaeto-Romanic. By knowing your preferred language you can narrow down the search for your family.

Au Pair – Requirements
Unlike most other countries, in Switzerland you can start doing au pair at the age of 15. Limit is 25 years. The duration of your au pair experience ranges between 3 to 12 months. In a personal contract you can decide with your host family on how many hours to work and what your salary will be like. Normally au pair work in Switzerland consists of 30 working hours per week.

Ideally you have time from August till the following July. Due to the academic school year a lot of families prefer you to stay during that time. However, feel free to inquire personally. You should be able to reasonably speak the language of your area you’re going to be au pair in. Concerning administrative work, you have to apply for a residence permit at least three months before your departure to Switzerland.

Au Pair – Costs
Costs vary according to the placement agency which helps you find your au pair family. However, we advise you to use an agency in order not to have a rude awakening in Switzerland. The agency fee is about 500 to 700 CHF per stay (without warranty). Sometimes travel costs from your home country to Switzerland are split between you and your host family. The costs for a language course (if desired), visa fees (if necessary) and insurance (accident, health & liability) are to be paid by yourself.

For more information visit these pages (the following pages are not available in English):
Multikultur (DE): helps you find the perfect family in the French speaking part of Switzerland. They charge a fee of 165 Euros. Start is always possible.
Profilia (DE /FR / IT): responsible for cantonal and regional au pair mediation.
Aupair-suisse (DE / FR / IT): is the Swiss umbrella organisation for au pair mediation.