show what you can do
Have you seen an interesting job advertisement, and are you convinced that you're the right person for the job? If so, impress the personnel department and other responsible persons with your application documents. Our tips and tricks which can be quickly implemented will make you stand out from the crowd of applicants and draw attention to yourself. Turn your standard application into a very interesting one – and make an impression.
Score points in your next application and use our checklist as a guide for your application documents:
Read the job advert properly
Are you the right candidate for open vacancies? You can easily find this out by reading the job advertisements properly. This will allow you to see whether you can fulfil the required tasks and have the necessary qualifications.
As well as information about the company and the industry, you will find out what will be important in your future job. Compare the requirement profile with your qualifications, and check out whether you're the right person for the advertised job.
Wording such as "mandatory" (you must have these qualifications) or "ideally" (you do not necessarily have to have this knowledge) will provide you with some orientation and help you to evaluate your skills. Have you found some matches to your profile? Great, because your chances of getting an interview will increase if you have many contact points with the vacancy.
Writing an application correctly – impress with your wording in the letter
The first impression matters – particularly when it concerns your professional future. You should therefore use the cover letter to impress your contact person right from the start. There are no limits to your creativity when doing this. Design your cover letter personally and individually, but still in such a way that it is appropriate for the position you are applying for. You will not only demonstrate your expertise, but also reveal some of your personality in this way.
Focus on the fact that you are the ideal candidate for the advertised position. You know that better than any personnel department. Now it's just a matter of showing it. The best way to do this is to compare the requirements of the job advertisement with your experience from previous jobs, your training and/or your previous career. You can provide two or three relevant examples from your professional experience to do this. In this way, you immediately show that you have sufficient expertise in the required areas.
As well as presenting your qualifications, you should also pay attention to formalities. It always makes a good impression if you address your application to the designated personnel manager(s) by name. The tone of your cover letter should also be appropriate for the advertised position. Depending on the industry, it can therefore make sense to use a more conservative style – if you are applying to banks or insurance companies, for example. However, if you are more interested in the creative sector, you can show this by being more informal in the structure of your application documents and the wording of your cover letter. If you are unsure which style is appropriate, then take another look at the job advertisement and use it as a guide. The tonality on the website of your future employer can also help you by taking a look at the "career area". You can often find out quite easily whether you should use a formal or informal form of address in the application letter.
Many companies want a motivation letter in addition to the cover letter. When you are composing this, it's not so much about presenting your qualifications, but much more about putting the focus on your personal goals. Why are you exactly the right candidate for the job? The application letter creates the link between the advertised position and your motivation.
Tip: Keep it as short as possible. Your cover letter should not be a multiple-page pamphlet - a single DIN A4 page is sufficient.
Recruiter’s insights: all of the tips for a perfect letter
You have already described in detail which experience you are bringing with you for the new position in your application letter. However, in order to provide a uniform picture of you, the stages of your career and your qualifications, you should list all of the important points in your CV in an orderly manner. The HR department will be able to assess whether you are a suitable candidate quickly and easily using this information.
There are no fixed rules to follow when you are creating your CV. However, there are several standards which you should adhere to. Particularly if you have previously created your CV for German employers, there are some small differences in comparison to Switzerland. It is usual in Switzerland to present your personal data with the most recent experience first, use an attractive photo and list your qualifications, hobbies and honorary posts (if you have any). But when it comes to the length of the CV and your school grades, every Swiss HR manager will know where you come from. In Switzerland, your CV should be at least two pages long, but no more than three. Fill in the space in your CV with information about your qualifications. Use keywords or brief explanations of relevant jobs. In this way, you can also show which of your qualifications are relevant for the position you are applying for in your CV.
And the Swiss school grading system is exactly the opposite to the German system. A six is the best grade, whereas one is the worst. Be honest about your expertise and your language skills. For example, if you state that your knowledge of French is "business fluent", you should be able to prove this in the interview.
Structure your Swiss CV as follows:
- Contact details with photo (if you wish to anonymise it, then without photo)
- Professional experience
- Professional experience including internships
- Education (grade 6 = very good, grade 1 = poor)
- If applicable: Volunteer service
- Training and further education
- Special knowledge and capabilities such as IT knowledge, foreign languages and soft skills
- Leisure activities/volunteer work
Our tips: If you already have a residence permit for Switzerland, be sure to indicate this in your personal data. This will definitely give you brownie points with the decision-makers. By the way, listing your personal interests and hobbies can also get the interview off to a good start.
Your CV can do much more
Is your CV already perfect? We are sure that there will still be plenty to do. Because even if your career doesn't change, you can certainly still make a few adjustments which will make your CV even more attractive. Find out where hidden potential lies, and where you can optimise your CV.
Sample CV for downloading free of charge
You can download our CV templates quite easily and free of charge. You can then edit them in Word and enter your qualifications.
Personal references or certificates?
Whereas it is usual in many countries to receive a job reference no later than when you change jobs, in Switzerland it is the personal reference that counts. The contact details of previous employers are often noted at the end of the CV. Future employers then like to ask about your applicants on the phone. It is therefore all the more important that former superiors can present a positive and credible picture of you.
You should mention two to four contacts in your CV. In Switzerland, the opinions of your former superiors are particularly important, and can be decisive when it comes to getting a job.
Application photo - present yourself as being professional and personable
Is your hair neat and tidy, and do you look professional? Even though application photos are no longer a must in an application, if you decide to include one it should be a good one.
Show your professionalism with your application photo – both in your appearance and in the quality of your photo. Show yourself from your best side without giving a false impression. Because nothing is stranger than applicants who look completely different from their picture at the interview.
Depending on the structure of your application documents, there are several positioning options for your application photo. If you use a separate cover sheet, put the photo on this as well. If your CV is the first document which your future employer receives, position your picture at the top left or right of this page.
Application channels – your application can go in many directions
There are many ways of submitting an application nowadays. Even though many applications are still posted in Switzerland, there are an increasing number of companies via whom you can apply by e-mail, via the company's own applicant portal, the profile database of an online job market or via your own social media profile. The nature of the application may differ depending on the channel. We will give you valuable tips and guidance when choosing the channel for your forthcoming application.
Regardless of the channel, you should ensure that you put your application documents in the right order:
- 1. Cover letter (motivation letter if applicable)
- 2. Curriculum Vitae
- 3. References
Your postal application letter
If you apply in the classic way by post, the design of your documents already provides valuable information about you. In order to make a professional impression, it is best to put your application documents together in a folder. In this way, you can lay the foundations for a successful application.
Applying by e-mail
Submitting application documents by e-mail is becoming increasingly popular. This is also ideal for speculative applications.
Here too, put your CV, cover letter and attachments together in an orderly manner. You save all these documents in a PDF. Ideally, you should name the file using your own name, and it should be no more than three megabytes in size. If you have it, enter the reference number of the advertised position or the job title in the subject line. The accompanying text can be kept brief and refer to your application.
When you send the application, be sure to use the e-mail address and the contact person(s) who are mentioned in the job advertisement.
Use the company's own applicant portals or the online job market
Some companies, particularly large corporations, even have their own applicant portals on their website. You will be guided through a form in which you should answer all of the necessary questions. Go through this form step by step. This restricts your design creativity, but in return the employer receives all the information in the form that it requires.
You can make use of the free text input option to express your personality. Here you can use skilful formulations to show who you are and what you are made of.
Go in a completely new direction and apply via your social media profile
LinkedIn and Xing are known as career networks. Here you can set up a personal profile, store your fields of activity and interests and build up your own network. You can use this platform to apply to the company of your choice and receive additional information.
However, companies also use these platforms as a recruiting tool. HR managers search for suitable applicants on these platforms (active sourcing). You can use the settings in your profile to determine the keywords under which you wish to be found. Recruiters can contact you quickly and easily via the message function within the network, and offer you an attractive position.
Our tip: Your future employer will also be interested in how you spend your free time or your weekends. You should therefore keep in mind that your social media activities from other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Co. will also awaken interest. Because nowhere else do the majority of candidates freely share their most personal moments, often with the entire world.
If your profile is public, the content can also be viewed by future employers. Are you sure that everyone can see your posts and still get a positive impression of you? If not, be on the safe side and check your privacy settings. In this way, you can be sure that your holiday pictures or photos from the last family reunion are only visible to your friends and acquaintances.
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