6 Places to Find English Speaking Jobs in Switzerland

Whenever I ask people what their biggest issue during their career transition is, the top answer is almost always that they don’t speak German or French and that this seems to be a major demand in the job market. 

When you look at the market out there, I am guessing that you are mostly looking at job boards and therefore I have to agree with the fact that German and French is in huge demand. 

However, if I count in the fact that somewhere around 80% of all the jobs that are filled in the market never make their way to a job board, I would argue that the data that comes solely from the job boards is very misleading.

Another fact is that most of my personal coaching clients don’t speak German or French and get happily employed by companies who value their personality over seeing their lack of local language skills or work permit situation as an issue.

In this article I give you some example places where you can find English speaking jobs in Switzerland. 

Due to the fact that only around 20% of the jobs are advertised on job boards, I am mentioning both here, the hidden job market and job boards.

 

1. My List With 122 Companies That Hire English Speakers in Switzerland

A while ago I created this list of English speaking organizations in Switzerland from the top of my head as I have come across so many of them, big and small. This list is the most popular blog post at jordico.com and I highly suggest you see if there are companies you could include in your job search campaign.

 

2. LinkedIn Jobs

Unfortunately on most job boards or websites you can’t see a contact name in the job advert and in some cases nothing more than an apply now button. 

The big benefit of LinkedIn jobs is that you can see who posted the job as well as who in your network may know this person. I think this is huge and most people simply don’t use it correctly. If you use the same approach to apply for a job on LinkedIn as you use on any other job board, you miss out on that massive benefit.

Before you ever apply for a job on LinkedIn you need to do some decent research. First, see who the person is who posted the job and how she relates to the organization. 

I just did a search for “business development” in Basel and the first English speaking job that pops up is posted by the Chief Business Officer, likely to be the hiring manager himself. How great is that? It gets better. 

Because most people simply ignore the fact that they could establish a connection with this person first and find somebody who can introduce them, your chances for success dramatically increase if you get out of your comfort zone and actually do the hard work of connecting.

In this case of the Chief Business Officer, I actually see that a good friend of mine is connected to him so I would simply reach out to my friend and ask him how well he knows the hiring manager and if he feels comfortable introducing me.

In case I ask for too much, I can still ask my friend to at least use his name in my conversation with the hiring manager if he knows him well.

 

3. Company Websites

Especially smaller companies are not advertising many of their positions on job boards because they rely on mouth-to-mouth marketing for their job search. 

The hiring manager first asks around his circle of friends if somebody is interested in the job and then asks his employees to look into their network of contacts for potential co-workers. 

This works so well at smaller companies because they don’t have a large HR or recruitment department that insists on following procedures and corporate policies when starting the hiring process. The hiring manager is much more independent to choose his new employee based on a personality and his trust in the person instead of a static sheet of paper.

Finding these small companies that hire English speakers is not as easy as jumping on one job board that has all the jobs advertised. But as one of my favorite Scrubs characters, Dr. Kelso, used to say “Nothing in this world worth having comes easy”.

 

4. Your Company List

In my Ebook Career Excellence Through Relationships I mention the importance of having a company list before you start your job search. It provides you with a focus and helps you to get work at a company that you will actually enjoy and fit into instead of applying for random job ads online.

You can download the 1st chapter of the Ebook with the company list exercise in the Career Excellence Toolkit.

Many of the companies on your list may not have jobs advertised right now, however, that does not mean they are not hiring. As an estimated 80% of all the jobs filled are not advertised, you will never know if they are hiring for exactly what you are looking for if you don’t pro-actively reach out to people at those organizations.

Even if the company does not have jobs posted on their website or on job boards, you have to reach out to your peers, hiring managers and HR people to make sure you increase your visibility and remind them constantly that you are the right person for their organization. Of course follow up is a core key to success here.

During my recruitment career I have had many candidates placed at companies that did not have the job advertised or in some cases even created a job for the right person. Especially smaller companies are likely to be flexible in hiring people on the fly.

 

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5. Jobserve.com

This job board is an international one with many English speaking jobs posted in Switzerland. I used it myself intensively during my recruitment career whenever I was recruiting English speaking candidates. Jobserve is especially valuable for technology driven jobs.

 

6. Experteer.com

This is another tool I used during my recruitment career, especially when hiring for highly skilled experts and executives. It provides a range of English speaking jobs but comes with a hook. To access the full capacity of the job board, you have to be a premium Experteer member and that can seem costly for some. I recommend you have a look at it and maybe even test it for a short period of time to see if it fits your needs.

 

My conclusion and recommendation to you is you should not rely on job boards as an English speaker. They only represent the minority of the job market and can be very misleading.

Focus on building meaningful relationships with other English speakers at your target companies, reach out to people even if there is no advertised job, follow up and your success rate will increase dramatically.