How to get a job in Switzerland if you don’t speak German

How do you get a job in a country if you don’t speak the language? I find this one of the most burning questions asked every week. In this post, I want to focus on some unconventional ways to get around the hassle of blindly sending CVs to companies and applying for positions, you never hear back from.

 

It is essential that you plan before you move to the new country. This is not always possible because sometimes your spouse get’s a job offer in a foreign country and you need to act immediately.

If you are in the position where you can plan your efforts I suggest you do the following things:

 

1. Start networking with people on LinkedIn

Before you move to the new country, start talking to people on LinkedIn. It is easier than ever to get in contact with people through Social Media. Make sure you use it to your benefit.

 

It is often very difficult for people to network with others without a specific purpose, a mutual interest or expertise. So what can you do about it? Find one!

 

Working for the same group or holding

If you work at a global player the chances are high they have a subsidiary in your desired country. Maybe your company belongs to a corporate group or holding. Find out what other companies belong to this group and suddenly you have a mutuality. You can then start talking by introducing yourself and letting the other person know you belong to the same corporate group.

 

Same expertise or industry

A very good reason to connect is always a similar industry or experience. If you are in Software Development, get in contact with other SW Developers, some Department Heads and Teamleaders in Software Development. When you connect with them, tell them in the message that you are open for opportunities and that you would be more than happy if they could let you know when they hear about a job opening. This way you build a network of job scouts that can be your ears and eyes. And since you are in the same industry or have similar experience, you share common interests.

 

Example LinkedIn invitation message

Hi Bob

I am a .NET Developer and I saw on LinkedIn that we work in the same industry. How about we connect? Maybe we can benefit from each other in the future.

 

Best Regards

Daniel

 

 

After sending this message you can follow-up some days or weeks later with:

 

Hi Bob

 

Thank you very much for accepting my invitation.

If you hear about job opportunities in your company, I would be more than happy if you could send me a quick note. If there is anything I can do for you just let me know.

 

Best Regards

Daniel

 

 

Mutual interests

It is also possible that you find people with similar interests. Connect with these people as well if they are in a position that you could benefit from. This could be anything from golf to bungee jumping or collecting antique items.

 

 

2. Find out which companies are looking for English speakers

You can do this by checking the local company directories. In Switzerland you can find a list with the biggest companies here . Maybe this can be helpful too.

 

A great way to find international companies is to know a recruiter. They are usually very aware of what companies are open minded to hire English speakers. If you don’t know any recruiters, start connecting with them on LinkedIn. Remember that the best way to reach out to people is to give something of value first. If you need a recruiter to tell you which corporations would consider English speakers, why don’t you provide them with some high quality leads of candidates first?

I talked about how to get in contact with recruiters in this article.

 

The English Forum is a great place to ask other expats for advice. Maybe you find what you are looking for through their search function. Just try it.

 

 

3. Join local events

This is probably the most effective way to get a job in a foreign country if you are there already. In Switzerland, there are many meet-ups you can attend. Check the following services:

 

 

I attend events regularly from these services and I always meet many expats and potential employers. Even if you don’t meet somebody that will hire you immediately, you build your network.

It is very important to stay in touch with the people you meet. If you do not do that, all efforts of building the network go to waste.

 

Did you already join the Career Network Switzerland on LinkedIn? If not, you can do it here!

 

If you need more help with getting a job in Switzerland, contact me here!