After a month-long break, PWG returned strong: our first meeting back from summer vacation “Tips and tricks to make an outstanding application for the Swiss job market” was hosted by guest speaker Silvia de Belis, CTC Recruiting expert, and accompanied by fellow CTC Recruiters Estefania Cordova and Madhu Singh, sparking an unexpected Q&A session during which many interesting points were raised.
Basel is an incredibly competitive place to look for a job, especially in the pharmaceutical sector as the headquarters of the world’s largest pharma companies are located here. Then there are the intricacies of the Swiss CV, the added hurdle of learning the German language (and Basel dialect) to contend with, and the daily quirks of Swiss life that one would face if they chose to move to Basel.
Silvia de Bellis, CTC Recruiting Expert and PWG’s guest speaker for our September main meeting, had all the answers for the myriad questions that arose from our attendees last Wednesday evening – there were so many questions, in fact, that we’ll share a few here with Silvia’s response to each one.
If a job description requests a specific age range and the applicant is not within that range, should she continue to apply?
If the applicant’s skills and experience are a great fit for the position, of course she should apply! HR personnel would be silly to turn away a candidate if age were the only requirement not met.
I’ve heard that networking is important for job-hunting in Basel, but I’m new to Basel…
Networking is a long-term project, making valuable connections in Basel takes time and effort. Join organizations, attend events, get involved in the Basel community in as many ways as you can – but most importantly, don’t give up!
Is the cover letter necessary when applying for a job in Basel?
Yes! Some companies don’t look at the cover letter,but unless you know which companies those are, you don’t want to risk your chance of getting an interview by not writing a cover letter. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but competition in Basel is incredibly high too.
How do I deal with a gap in my CV?
Having an employment gap in your CV is only a problem for HR staff if your timeline jumps months or years with no explanation – in other words, if you didn’t work for a period of time, indicate that period and put something like “career break” rather than leave it blank.
In my country, asking interviewees about their age, marital status, if they have children, etc. is completely forbidden, but not in Switzerland – how do I answer?
These kinds of personal questions are commonly asked during interviews in Switzerland – don’t take it personally, just think of it as another quirk of daily life in Switzerland and respond honestly.
PWG extends a warm thank you to Silvia, Estefania, and Madhu for their insights into this very relevant – and not so simple – topic, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the next meeting!
Authors: Christine Li Yu and Liz McCreary