After almost three years in the IT recruitment industry (and 15 years in Switzerland – click here if you want to know why I moved here), I’ve helped many professionals land their dream job in my local market, Switzerland. After having analyzed thousands of CVs from Swiss and global candidates, I’ve identified the following common mistakes that may be impacting your chances at landing that elusive job here in Switzerland. In no particular order, here they are:
1. No nationality
One of the first things recruiters (and HR people) assess is whether the candidates are able to work in the local market. If you hold a Swiss, EU passport do not forget to include this information at the top of your CV (preferably under your name).
2. No work permit information
If you hold a valid Swiss work permit, don’t hide this very important piece of information -include it with your entry on nationality. For more information on work and residence permits in Switzerland, visit www.experis.ch/career-resources/work-and-residence-permits-in-switzerland.
3. Unprofessional picture
I’m pretty sure YOU think you look great wearing that polo shirt on the beach in Cancun, but I would rather you include a photograph of yourself wearing a professional outfit without a distracting background. It is expected in the local market that you include a picture of yourself so don’t waste this precious opportunity to make a solid first impression with the hiring manager. If you do not have a picture, it is highly recommended that you invest the time and energy to get one done professionally.
4. No date of birth
Many CVs from outside Switzerland omit to include the candidate’s date of birth. When I spot this on a CV, logically the first thought that comes to my mind is that the candidate is trying to mask their age. Companies in Switzerland expect this information to be included next to your entry for nationality, as this is common practice, so I highly recommend you to include it.
5. No work certificates
In Switzerland, as opposed to other EU countries, an applicant should include all relevant past work certificates. One of the first things a recruiter looks for on a CV are the professional references and how well you performed at your previous company. If you come from a country where it’s not standard to receive a work certificate, skip this but do make sure you have recommendations or endorsements you can point to on LinkedIn (if possible).
6. No link to your social media profile(s)
Job seekers in Switzerland can benefit tremendously by having up to date and relevant social media profiles. If you don’t have an entry on Linkedin (and Xing if you’re located within the German-speaking part of Europe), you’re less visible to the recruitment market and could possibly be missing out on being contacted for new jobs. Invest time to market yourself by having your status updated to reflect the fact that you’re on the market for a new exciting role.
If you can’t spell, use auto correct. If you have trouble spotting spelling mistakes in your own CV, get one of your acquaintances to read through it. Nothing says “I’m not professional” like grammatical mistakes in your CV; avoid this at all costs.
8. Only listing tasks and not including achievements
A CV should not just include a laundry-list of tasks you performed in your previous role, but also give an overview of your achievements. Put the focus on what you really achieved and try to illustrate this by using facts and figures.
9. Bad layout
Some CVs don’t paint the real portrait of the candidate. In Switzerland, a simple layout is appreciated, so stick to standard fonts and colors.
10. Gaps in employment
There may have been times in your recent past where you were not employed. Do not try to hide this fact because recruitment professionals know how to read a CV and can pick up on this quickly. Rather, have an explanation ready for the periods you were not working. It’s not as bad as you think, especially if you work as a contractor (temporary assignments); clarity and transparency are key.
Once you’ve optimized your CV to include the details above, I guarantee that you will receive more positive feedback from potential Swiss employers.
If you’re in the IT sector and looking for an exciting new challenge in Switzerland, do reach out to me either on Social Media or on https://www.experis.ch/eric-schuster.