Preparing yourself

Looking for a job and preparing an application takes time. It’s therefore advisable not to wait until your thesis is finished before getting started.

Job offers
Only 10% of job offers are advertised in the press. The personal network plays a very important role in keeping abreast of the « hidden job market ». In some fields, headhunters, recruitment agencies and job fairs also play a significant part.

Subscribing to distribution lists is a way of keeping informed about job vacancies.

Lastly, even if unsolicited applications rarely lead to a job immediately, they are a way of getting known and making contact with a company or institution that can sometimes prove fruitful.

Draw attention to experience and skills
Make enquiries about the type of CV required in the professional fields envisaged. Where necessary, universities offer free courses on how to compile a CV and a covering letter and prepare for an interview, etc.

According to the type of post targeted, take advantage of training and continuing education courses offered by the university where you are enrolled or working to fill any gaps in your skills (languages, IT, project management, etc.). Such courses are generally less expensive than in the private sector, and sometimes even free.

The certificate of employment plays a very important role in Switzerland and forms an important part of your application. Don’t forget to ask the professors you have worked for to provide this document. An employment certificate may be requested at any time.

Be prepared to highlight the skills and work experience acquired during the doctoral period since the doctorate is not always recognised on the non-academic job market. This is particularly useful during job interviews, but also, if necessary, when negotiating/establishing a starting salary.

At the time of appointment, the number of years of work experience is a criterion that determines salary. If the doctorate and / or postdoctoral period was financed entirely or partly by grants and subsidies, it’s probable that the employer will underestimate the work experience by not taking (fully) into account the doctoral or postdoctoral periods financed by grants and subsidies when calculating years of employment.

Some resources
Most universities offer guidance and advisory services, such as the EPFL Career Centre, which can prove useful.

If a person wishes to create a start-up, the EPFL Industrial Relations Service has published a guide for researchers on its website.

ETH-Get Hired (ex-Telejob), the electronic job market created by the intermediary staff association of the EPFZ (AVETH) publishes advertisements of particular interest to graduates in all fields.

The Swiss Portal for Research and Innovation, myScience.ch, provides scientific news and practical information, including a jobs portal, calendar of scientific events or continuing education portal. Direct address for jobs for researchers and graduates.