One of the most important elements in the search for a working position in Switzerland is the Arbeitzeugnis. Each time you go through a company, for a short or a long time, the company needs, when requested to deliver, to give the Arbeitezeugnis. But, let’s look at parts, before explaining exactly what this document is, let’s understand the selection process in Switzerland.

The Swiss people, in general, are very linked to the processes, their stages, and procedures. Hence there, in parts, the quality of their products and services. With this respect to the process, each task has its descriptive of procedures, necessary documents, generated documents, and tasks. That is to say, all those guides of conducts, of good practices of production, of regulation, kept in numerous folders are taken in absolute seriousness by the companies herein Switzerland.

Today, this is a practice followed by all companies in all their fields. This culture is directly linked to insurers companies and the condition of their premiums in case of problems. So, this seriousness in obeying manuals, including manuals to everything, including manuals on how to produce manuals, is taken very seriously because it avoids negative results in justice problems and insurance requests.

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As a psychologist, I had in college, the subjects related to Human Resources, in 1997, was called “Organizational Psychology”. Also, I had the opportunity to teach these subjects in the Administration course (between 2010 and 2012). And just like other sectors of a company, the Human Resources sector also has its processes, documents, regulations, and procedures.

Well, with that in mind, we have added rigor to the procedures and documents typical of Switzerland with a process that is brutally bureaucratic, the selection of new employees.

See, when we put a dossier for the application for an open vacancy we put together several documents:

  • A letter of motivation: The letter of motivation should state why you are charmed by this job, by these tasks, by this company, at this moment of the world, in this place of Switzerland.
  • The letter of application: addressed to the person in charge of the selection or the vacancy, this letter briefly presents the candidate and the structure of the application, how he found the vacancy and what his competences are for that.
  • The Curriculum: In it, different from what we do in the rest of the world, we do not simply separate into skills and competence versus academic and professional activities. Here are sessions within the curriculum: Candidate data (with recent photo of good quality and age?!?!?!), Then the session of professional activities (including company, position, contact and major achievements and tasks performed) , then comes the academic training session (from kindergarten through all post-college and vocational courses), language sessions, personal skills sessions (computing, cutting-and-sewing), and hobbies and activities volunteers.
  • The Arbeitezeugnis: Of all the companies (or at least the most recent ones) mentioned in the professional activity session.
  • Diplomas: In this part, they attach copies of all the academic certificates or diplomas, or at least the most important ones, from the certificate of the Excel course to the MBA and P.h.D.

Most job search sites have an uploading session where these documents can be arranged in their sessions. Then, when you apply for the job, you just have to write a motivation letter and a presentation letter. The heavy of the files is already saved in the site’s cloud. This speeds up a bit of the process. But for small companies, most of the time, you have to create an email, with the link that you access on the site, and, with all these attachments, send the application directly.

So, going back to the original subject, the Arbeitzeugnis is the statement made by the companies where you worked previously. In it, in general, the activities you performed, your achievements and objectives fulfilled and evaluation about your relationship with the work are written in. It is a complicated document because it is mandatory in the selection process. So, what workers usually do, is to require the document, more or less, annually, even if there is no prospect of a job change, because, the opinion of the company may change after the employment contract is interrupted.

The Arbeitzeugnis session is fundamental because you will be checked in many of the references you offer. And, the fact that the document appears in the dossier makes it easier for a selector and often prevents him from contacting the employers listed there.

The second complication is that in general, when we come from Brazil when we bring statements from the companies where we worked, we have these documents in Portuguese or translated into the languages ​​here. This takes off the credibility of the document. Also, they consider important that you already had an Arbeitzeugnis from Switzerland. That is, you already had a job in Switzerland, a work experience here.

That’s where the roller coast starts, the endless vicious cycle. As you may have read in a previous post that the local language is fundamental, it is a basic requirement. But German, for example, is very difficult to achieve a minimum fluency without being immersed in a country that speaks German. So when you get here, at a minimum you need to upgrade your German. This is expensive (like everything in Switzerland) and takes time (like everything in life).

But along with that, it’s like you are at zero in on your work experience. So you need to get a job to restart with urgency to re-grow in the experience line. Solution: McDonalds, Burger King, bars, cleaning services, restaurants, and other heavy-duty jobs. After a while, the Arbeitzeugnis is requested and the search for employment in parallel is returned.

But these jobs require many hours of work to make good money and therefore consume a lot of time and energy. They make time to develop their native language in school. Without time in language school, a certification becomes quite difficult.

The cycle is closed: if I work, not study, without study without a job, without a job without declaration, without declaration …

A portion of the people can evolve in German simply by working. This is not my case, I am a bit shy and rather introspective, the work environment ends up closing me. But, this is a very particular issue. The work environment favors communication and therefore the development of the native language. But, there is no time for certification, it requires the leveling tests and, almost certainly a good German course.

Raul de Freitas Buchi

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