Application guide

Application guide
Application Guide
for ETH students and doctoral students
Who am I?
What am I good at?
What do I want?
Fields of activity
Job profiles
Entry-level positions
Starting salaries
Potential employers
Job search
Proactive job search
Job advertisements
Application documents
Applying abroad
Alternative selection procedure
Closing remarks
Application Guide | Introduction
The transition from university to professional life — a milestone!
Your imminent graduation and the search for your first “real” job mark the
beginning of a new and significant stage in your life. The goal of a job search is
to find an occupation that will be both challenging and enjoyable, in an environment in which you feel appreciated and comfortable — in short, a job that you
find satisfying in all respects.
But what does “a satisfying job” mean, and how do you find one? Before you can
answer these crucial questions, you need to take a close look at yourself and
also at the job market. Despite the job market situation, the important point is
that you are clear about what you want and which skills you can contribute to
your future job.
This practical application guide is intended to help you to make the best out of
every market situation and achieve a good start in your career. The application
guide provides advice and encouragement on how to assess your current situation and your professional opportunities and offers numerous tips on the application process.
The guide is conceived as a manual and offers you space to put your thoughts
and ideas on paper. It is structured around the four phases of the application
– Analysis: Who am I? What am I good at? What do I want?
– Exploration: Which are the industries and companies in my field?
– Focusing: Which companies would suit me?
– Application: How do I present myself to my best advantage — in my application
material and in interviews?
The Career Center offers comprehensive services in these four areas of the
career entry process and collaborates closely with other ETH organizations. We
offer you individual advice during the career entry process and at special events
we give you relevant information and offer you valuable contacts.
The application guide is one of the Career Center’s many offerings for students
at all stages of their studies at ETH. For more information please visit
Please note: Wherever in this document the masculine pronoun (he) is used
for the sake of convenience, the feminine pronoun should, of course,
be understood to be included.
Application Guide | Chapter
Who am I?
What am I good at?
What do I want?
Application Guide | Analysis
The three crucial questions
Careful self-analysis is the first step in the application process. It is the basis
for exploring your professional possibilities and opportunities, for focusing on
specific sectors and companies, and for the application itself. An intensive selfanalysis will help you to focus on the organizations and career opportunities
that match your personal goals. This will help you to have a competent appearance and self-confidence when meeting potential employers.
The purpose of the self-analysis is to form a clear idea in your own mind of your
interests, skills and values:
– Who am I? — What are my interests?
– What am I good at? — What are my skills and strengths?
– What do I want? — Which values are important to me and what do I expect
from my future employer?
The following pages offer a number of questions and exercises on self-analysis.
They are intended to motivate you to think about yourself and to identify your
interests, skills and values. To make the most of this self-analysis, find a quiet
spot where you will not be interrupted and take as much time to complete it as
you need.
Application Guide | Analysis
Who am I?
Your interests
The first step is to define where your interests lie. Interest is a crucial motivational factor and directly influences work satisfaction. The more we enjoy what
we do, the more willing we are to raise our commitment and improve our performance. Our interests play a role in all aspects of our life, not only in our
leisure time, but also at work.
What are your main interests and what motivates you? Take your time answering
the following questions and take many different aspects of your life into
1. What are your main interests? — Note three topics that occur to you spontaneously.
2. What were you doing the last time you felt “this is really interesting”?
3. What do you like doing in your leisure time?
4. What do you like to read and talk about?
5. What are/were your favorite subjects at university/school?
6. Which social topics and problems concern you?
7. W
hich tasks/activities do you become so absorbed in that you completely forget about time?
8. Which successes make you particularly proud?
9. With whom do you like working/spending time?
10. O f all the people in the world, whose job would you most like to have?
How did you feel answering these questions? Was it easy for you to analyze
yourself? Did you discover things about yourself that you were previously unaware of? If possible, discuss your answers with your family or friends and ask
them for their opinions. It is important that you keep this list and your answers
in mind throughout the application process. It will be a constant reminder of
what you want, of what inspires you, and in which private and professional
contexts you feel comfortable.
Application Guide | Analysis
What am I good at?
Your strengths and skills
The second step of the analysis is to clarify where your abilities and skills lie.
We all tend to take our abilities for granted. Usually we are capable of a lot more
than we realize. In submitting an application it is important to know what you
are good at. In every application and every job interview you must be able to
highlight your technical and social strengths, and also to know what your weaknesses are.
Skills are usually classified into two groups:
– Technical skills
– Soft skills
Technical skills
Technical skills refer to technical or applied knowledge. This includes the knowledge that you have acquired at ETH, at school or in further education, and can
easily be confirmed with grades and certificates. However, owing to the rapid
progress of technology and science, this technical knowledge can very quickly
become dated. Hence, it is important to continually refresh and expand this
expertise in accordance with the principle of life-long learning.
Soft skills
Soft skills are important and desirable in both professional and private life. You
make constant use of them and continually improve them on a daily basis. They
are more difficult than technical skills to assess because we lack precise instruments to measure them.
Application Guide | Analysis
Your technical skills
Technical skills acquired at ETH include, for example, your knowledge in mathematics, physics or chemistry. Other examples of technical skills include a
knowledge of processes, methods, manufacturing, materials, business management and norms and a command of computational tools, databases and
simulation software.
Making use of all your school and university certificates, employment references
and language qualifications, list all of your technical skills in the following table.
Confirmations of internships, vacation jobs and voluntary activities may also be
evidence of special qualifications. Drawing up a list of your skills is not only an
essential component in positioning yourself, but also helps you to analyse job
offers and write your CV (see chapter “Focusing”—“Job advertisements”).
Analysis of my technical skills acquired at ETH and other schools:
My strongest subjects:
Subjects I was weaker in:
Technical skills acquired through internships, part-time jobs and other
Technical knowledge that I have successfully applied and expanded:
Technical knowledge that I have had difficulty applying:
Application Guide | Analysis
Your soft skills
Soft skills are expressed in your behavior, lifestyle and attitude to life. They
determine how you tackle tasks (methodical skills), how you react in interpersonal situations (social skills), and how you organize your life and behave (personal skills). They are apparent in your decision-making behavior (decisionmaking skills), in your ability to motivate yourself (motivational skills), and your
ability to monitor yourself (self-assessment skills).
The following list of selected key competences is intended to help you make a
self-assessment of your soft skills. Read each item on the list and mark whether
you think the skill applies to you or not (single competences can be enclosed in
several competence groups). Afterwards, with each item try to work out in which
situation, from which person, in which job or through which experience you
acquired, have applied or enhanced the skill in question.
Methodical skills
Ability to take decisions
Analytical thinking
Conceptual planning
Combinational thinking
Efficient work planning
Presentation technique
Systematic approach
Willingness to learn
Social skills
Ability to cooperate
Ability to listen
Ability to motivate
Integrative ability
Negotiating skills
Readiness to compromise
Preference for teamwork
Power of persuasion
Team player
Assess your soft skills using the following scale:
+ + completely applies
+ generally applies
– generally does not apply
– – does not apply at all
Application Guide | Analysis
Personal skills
Ability to accept criticism
Ability to solve problems
Risk taking readiness
Leadership ability
Sense of responsibility
Willingness to take charge
Decision-making skills
Ability to delegate
Ability to make decisions
Ability to represent others
Ability to work under pressure
Concern about safety
Joie de vivre
Risk tolerance
Stress tolerance
Willingness to delegate
Motivational skills
Frustration tolerance
Readiness to identify with something
Work motivation
Self-assessment skills
Ability to be self-motivated
Ability to work under pressure
Leadership motivation
Sense of responsibility
Application Guide | Analysis
Global soft skills
Ability to define goals
Cost-benefit awareness
Entrepreneurial thinking
Healthy materialism
Labor efficiency
Physical fitness
Psychological health
Systematic organization
This self-assessment gives you an initial overview of your non-technical skills.
We recommend that you ask third parties for their opinions and compare how
you see yourself with how others see you. Suitable people for testing your selfperception include your family and friends. Employment references and testimonials should also offer some indication of how former employers appraised
your soft skills.
Take the lists of soft skills ascribed to you by your family and friends and enter
them in the following table:
Soft skill
Confirmed by
This compilation of your soft skills will prepare you well for a later phase of
this application process: in job advertisement analysis it will help you to
compare your skills with the job requirements described (see chapter
“Focusing”—“Job advertisements”).
Application Guide | Analysis
Practical examples of your soft skills
Citing specific examples of your soft skills acquired in certain situations will
make your CV — a later step in the application process — more compelling. In
interviews potential employers pay attention to applicants’ soft skills and are
interested in learning about the activities in which you acquired, applied and
enhanced your skills. Thus, during your studies it is advantageous to have a
diverse range of interests and to steadily improve your soft skills.
You can acquire soft skills in numerous academic and extracurricular
– Studies/doctoral studies
– Further and advanced training
– Vacation jobs/internships
– Sport/hobbies
– Work experience abroad/travel
– Voluntary and community service
– Military service
Particularly useful soft skills such as budgeting, organizational ability and leadership are often learned through extracurricular activities.
Take the lists of skills and try to find specific examples of each in your life. Enter
them in the following tables. Pay particular attention to the following:
– What have you done well? What do you regard as your personal achievements,
successes, results?
– What did these teach you? How did they equip you for subsequent stages in
your life? Which skills do you think will be important for you in the future?
– Which skills would you like to develop further?
Example: President of a student association
Used soft skills
Lead the student association
Planned and organized events
– Time management
– Self-discipline
– Stress tolerance
Aquisition of sponsorship
– Presentation techniques
– Communication skills
Team player
Willingness to take charge
Ability to manage conflict
Activity 1:
Used soft skills
Application Guide | Analysis
Activity 2:
Used soft skills
Activity 3:
Used soft skills
Application Guide | Analysis
How employers see soft skills
Employers have clear ideas of the soft skills they expect of ETH graduates.
Below we list some examples of interdisciplinary skills that might be expected
of you.
Employers expect, among others, the ability1:
– to develop problem-solving strategies
– to communicate with interlocutors — superiors, colleagues and customers — in Switzerland and abroad
– to approach projects methodically and coordinate process flows
– to develop creative ideas methodically and argue points with
– to discuss the quality of one’s ideas and accept criticism
– to see the bigger picture and act accordingly
– to recognize and quantitatively assess risks and take responsibility for
further courses of action
– to independently familiarize with new areas of work
– to work in interdisciplinary teams
From the presentation “ETH-Ingenieurprofil 2030” on the occasion of the
150 years anniversary of ETH Zurich, published by Engineers Shape
our Future
After you have analysed your soft skills in detail and know what employers expect
of you, it is time to take stock.
The following questions are intended to help you to identify the skills you already
possess and those you feel need more attention:
1. Where are your soft skill strengths and weaknesses?
2. Where are your strengths and where are there noticeable gaps?
3. W hich skills would you like to use in your future work?
4. W hich skills do you need to develop further for your future work?
Application Guide | Analysis
What do I want?
Your values
The third and final step in the analysis is concerned with identifying your values.
The relevant question is: “what do I want?” or “which values are important to
me and what do I expect from my future employer?”
Your values embody your ideals and ideas. The closer the correspondence between your professional life and your values, the greater the likelihood that your
job will bring you success and satisfaction. Work situations that clash with our
values can lead to internal conflicts.
Use the following questions to work out which values guide you in everyday life
and which are particularly important for you. Then decide which values your job
must be compatible with and which you want to realize in your leisure time.
When answering these questions, think of as many aspects of your life as
1. W hat is particularly important for you in life, what gives you satisfaction?
2. W hich people do you admire and why?
3. W hich values were you taught by your family and which of these do you want to maintain?
4. W hat does success mean to you?
Application Guide | Analysis
5. H ow important is your private life for you (family, friends, leisure time) and how important
is it in relation to your work?
6. H ow do you see your future career?
7. Which corporate values are important to you?
The following is intended to help you to assess the values that are important
for your professional career. At the end, mark the five values that are most
important to you. Add your own personal values to the list as needed.
Achieving concrete results
Career prospects
Compatibility with family life, part-time work
Financial security
Assess your values using the following scale:
+ + completely applies
+ generally applies
– generally does not apply
– – does not apply at all
Values (continuation)
Good working atmosphere
Income and prosperity
Influence, power
Meaningful tasks
Pioneering work
Prestige, esteem
Scientific work
Scope for own decision-making
Self-reliance and independence
Self-fulfillment / self-realization
Variety of tasks
Variety of demands
Application Guide | Analysis
Is it possible to work out your ideal job from this summary of your values?
What do you expect from your job and from your employer?
Basis for the next stage in the application process
The lists you have drawn up of your interests, skills and values in this chapter
form the basis for the next steps in the application process. Your values will
influence your choice of potential employers and, like your interests and your
skills, will be part of your application material and your job interviews.
Tips: Analysis
– Compare the results of the analysis with your personal development.
Study the relevance of the weak spots you identified and decide how you
can improve them. Pay special attention to your strengths; you need to
maintain and if possible enhance these.
– Grasp every opportunity you can to define, test and apply your interests,
skills and values, such as conversations with colleagues and active involvement in organizations.
– Keep the results of your analysis in mind throughout the application process. Remind yourself before every application of who you are, what you
are good at, and what you want.
ETH Career Center Service: Analysis
– Career Events
– Individual counseling to determine your interests, skills and values
– Resource center with manuals, magazines and brochures
Information: — for students and doctoral students
Application Guide | Chapter
Fields of activity
Job profiles
Entry-level positions
Starting salaries
Application Guide | Exploration
The purpose of the exploration is to help you get an overview of your job opportunities. Many ETH graduates are unaware of how broad the spectrum of potential areas of activity is that they can choose from.
Before you can apply to a company or an institution, you must be clear about
the business environment and the type of activity you want to work in. Your
interests (see chapter “Analysis”), your major fields of study and the topic of your
bachelor or master thesis should give you some idea of your preferences.
The following tables provide an overview of private sector industries and public
institutions usually looking for ETH graduates. Mark the industries that you find
particularly interesting. Please note that the following table provides a broad
but not complete overview.
Private-sector industries (examples)
1. priority
2. priority
3. priority
Aerospace industry
Architect offices
Automotive industry
Banking / Finance / Insurance
Biomechanics / Biotechnology
Biomedical industry
Building industry
Chemical and process engineering
Consumer goods industry
Drive and control technology
Electronics and consumer electronics
Engineering and planning agency
Extractive industry
Fertilizer, feed and crop protection industry
Food industry
Health care industry
Information and communications industry
Machine industry
Medical technology
Metal processing
Application Guide | Exploration
Packing industry
Pharmaceutical industry
Plant engineering
Power generation, transmission and
Production and automation engineering
Semiconductor, micro and nanotechnology
Sports- / Fitness- / Wellness industry
Textile industry
Watchmaking industry
Public institutions and non-profit companies
Agricultural advisory service
Development cooperation / NGOs
High schools, universities of applied sciences
and universities
Public administration
Public energy sector
Public transport sector
Research institutes
1. priority
2. priority
3. priority
Fields of activity
How to identify them
You now have an overview of the sectors and institutions that interest you and
can turn your attention to the kind of job you would like to have within this environment. The decision in favor of a specific activity sets the course for your
future career. This does not mean that you cannot change your mind later, but
for the moment the decision must be the right one.
Following sources can help, to identify different fields of activities and specific
job profiles:
– On the ETH-website you can find fields of activities for all study programs (in
German only: ETH Zürich / Studium / Bachelor / Studienangebot / Studiengang /
Berufswelt). Some study programs have integrated specific job profiles in
their study program brochures.
– The „Schweizerische Dienstleistungszentrum für Berufsbildung, Berufs-,
Studien- und Laufbahnberatung“ has listed different fields of activities for all
kinds of study programs on their website (German,
French and Italian only: Studium / Universitäten und ETH / Berufsfelder).
– Some ETH departments provide brochures with specific job profiles in pdfformat. These are available online and can be found using following key words:
– D-BAUG: Bauingenieur, Bauingenieurin, Der Beruf
– D-MAVT: Berufe für kreative Köpfe, Maschineningenieure haben Zukunft
– D-PHYS: Job-Universum Physik, Einblicke in die Vielfalt der
– D-ERDW: Perspektive, Berufe in Erdwissenschaften
– D-USYS: Perspektiven, Berufe in Umweltnaturwissenschaften
– D-HEST: Range of Motion, Berufsfelder der Bewegungswissenschaften
Application Guide | Exploration
– The search for specific job advertisements on online job portals with general
key words such as “physics” or “environment” can result in finding fields of
activities that interest you.
– A good source of insights regarding the different activity fields is via an ETH
Alumni. Opportunities to meet with Alumni and discuss with them are various,
at ETH Career Center and ETH Alumni events as well as in private.
In the following table enter the industries and fields of activity that particularly
interest you. Do further research in the internet and in journals and use your
network to find appropriate companies.
Fields of activity
Job profiles
Specific examples from
Application Guide | Job profiles
Trainee bei ABB
Jasmin Bernasconi, 27
Warum haben Sie sich für ABB als Arbeitgeberin entschieden?
Ich konnte durch das Femtec-Programm, das Studentinnen technischer Fachrichtungen fördert, Kontakte zu Unternehmen wie ABB knüpfen. Am Unternehmenstag überzeugte mich ABB als modernes Unternehmen, weshalb ich mich
für das ABB-Traineeprogramm bewarb. Ich merkte, dass ich mich hier weiterentwickeln kann. ABB ist ein Global Player und bietet die Möglichkeit, ins Ausland zu gehen. Und ich wollte unbedingt mit Menschen aus verschiedenen
Kulturen zusammenarbeiten. Das passte einfach.
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei ABB?
Ich bin in meinem ersten Assignment bei Power Automation im Bereich Service
tätig. Dabei bin ich für die Weiterentwicklung des Service Portfolios zuständig.
Konkret beinhaltet meine Tätigkeit das Aufsetzen eines neuen Service Vertrags
mit der nachfolgenden weltweiten Einführung.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei ABB?
Als Trainee werde ich sehr gut betreut und konnte von Anfang an Verantwortung
übernehmen. Ich bin voll in mein Team integriert und habe die Möglichkeit, mit
Personen aus unterschiedlichen Bereichen und Nationen zusammenzuarbeiten. Das ist sehr spannend und ich konnte so bereits ein grosses Netzwerk
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Überlegt euch, in welcher Umgebung ihr arbeiten möchtet. Die ETH bietet so
viele Möglichkeiten, Unternehmen kennenzulernen – nutzt diese. Geht gut vorbereitet an Messen, stellt den Unternehmensvertretern konkrete Fragen und
vergesst nicht, deren Namen und Telefonnummern zu notieren.
Changing the world not just experiencing it.
ABB ist weltweit führend in der Energie- und Automationstechnik und beschäftigt rund 150’000 Mitarbeitende.
2013 wurden wir erneut zur beliebtesten Arbeitgeberin
von Studenten (Engineering) gewählt. Starte deine
Karriere bei ABB Schweiz und erfahre mehr über uns: oder
Our ambition.
Your legacy.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Commissioning Engineer (WSC) at Alstom Power
Martin Aeppli, 29
What made you choose Alstom?
My goal was a career in engineering in which I would not just be confined to a
lab in some basement or in front of a computer screen. Then, at the “Polymesse”
trade fair, I came into contact with a Line Manager of Commissioning, which
caused me to begin to consider this career option in more detail. The subsequent
interview showed me a very positive image both of Alstom as an employer and
of the position I was seeking.
What does your job at Alstom involve?
As Commissioning Engineer I commission gas and steam combined-cycle power
plants all over the world. I am specifically responsible for the water-steam cycle.
In a broad sense, commissioning ranges from tests and checks of all measuring
points of such a power plant to startup and subsequent detailed test runs of the
complete system.
Since no international projects are starting at the moment, I am currently working
in engineering. There I am busy with the preparation of documentation and
planning of upcoming deployments.
What do you particularly like about your work at Alstom?
The “internationality” of the company, both in terms of working abroad and the
generally very international composition of the departments, even at Alstom
Switzerland in Baden. In addition, the working atmosphere is very pleasant.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
To anyone who would like to work internationally: send in an application; ETH
degrees are always welcome here.
Shaping the
future today?
Yes, your ideas and our technologies can contribute to economic, social and environmental progress. Alstom
is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the
benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest
capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services
for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of
solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,000 people in around 100
countries, and had sales of € 20.3 billion in 2012/13.
Motivated Graduates (m/f)
Engineering and Business Studies
We are always looking for graduates who can demonstrate a spirit of innovation, who are keen to take on
responsibility early in their career and who are internationally-minded and mobile.
If you are looking for an internship, a hands-on topic for your Bachelor/Master thesis, a tailor-made career entry
program or a job in an international environment working with cutting-edge technology, why not join our teams
in Switzerland or abroad?
Internships or Bachelor/Master Theses
For vacancies in Switzerland, check our careers page ( For international opportunities,
register with IAESTE, an international internship exchange program, and check their webpage (
© Photo Alstom - Alstom 2007
Permanent Positions
Check our careers page ( and learn more about our exciting job opportunities.
Find more information or the relevant contact person and apply online – create your individual career account
on our new e-recruitment system which allows you to upload your CV, match your profile with our openings and
monitor the status of your application. Discover the opportunities Alstom offers at:
Application Guide | Job profiles
Associate Consultant at Bain & Company
Lovro Soldo, 26
MSc ETH Mathematics
What made you choose Bain & Company?
While I was in the fourth year of my studies at ETH, I started to think about my
future career path. I had a lot of open questions I was hoping to find answers
to at the “Polymesse”. I was particularly impressed by Bain’s career fair appearance. The “Bainies” I talked to seemed to be as energetic as they are pragmatic,
down-to-earth, and fun. Furthermore, I was fascinated by the combination of
challenging case work with people from around the globe and the scope for
self-fulfillment, interdisciplinary approaches as well as personal growth.
What does your job at Bain & Company involve?
No two days are alike. My responsibilities differ from case to case and I work
on projects across industries with people from around the globe. I observe
market trends, benchmark competitor information, model forecasts in Excel,
and prepare presentations of these results. One of the highlights of my work at
Bain is that I participate in the preparation of important client workshops and
that we work together with the team on long-term sustainable solutions.
What do you particularly like about your work at Bain & Company?
Bainies are passionate for people and results. Above all, I enjoy working together
with smart, unique, and fun individuals, with an emphasis on teamwork and
trust. Furthermore, I am excited by the diversity of our projects!
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Gain practical experience while you are at university! Internships are a great
opportunity to get insights into the working environment and make the transition
to professional life easier. Before choosing your first job, talk to as many employees as possible. You will have plenty of opportunities to exchange information with employees at every stage during the recruiting process. Do not hesitate
to find out what they like and dislike about their job and why they decided to join
the company. This will help you to identify your personal best place to work for.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Lab Team Leader Synthesis, Global Insecticides Discovery at BASF SE
Pascal Bindschädler, 34
Dr. sc. ETH, Dipl. Natw. ETH
What made you choose BASF?
Upon completion of my studies and PhD at ETH and a postdoctoral stay at
Harvard I was given the opportunity to join BASF’s crop protection business in
Ludwigshafen. The prospect of working on chemically challenging and interdisciplinary projects was the prime driver for me to join BASF. Moreover, BASF
as the world’s biggest chemical company offers a wealth of future perspectives
— be it expert careers in research or even a career development beyond
What does your job at BASF involve?
Together with my team I am responsible for planning and carrying out organic
chemical syntheses. Our goal is the discovery of new insecticidal actives. As a
project leader of a global project team I am coordinating the evaluation of these
actives against insect pests. The goal is to develop an insecticide that can be
applied with no harm for humans and the environment.
What do you particularly like about your work at BASF?
The diversity of my job: besides taking care of my core tasks I am dealing with
many additional aspects of crop protection such as registration and patent
issues. Working in global teams is very inspiring but also challenging!
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Dependent upon your field of study and your career aspiration you may consider
continuing your education to obtain a PhD. Industry internships and stays abroad
were enriching experiences for me personally and are competitive advantages
for your job application.
challenges love solutions
We think there’s a solution for every problem. That’s why BASF researchers from all disciplines
always work on innovations with passion. Help us, in a modern environment, to find not just
products but comprehensive solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. That’s how we create
chemistry. At BASF. Find out more now and apply at:
Please apply at
BASF Services Europe GmbH
Recruiting Services Europe
P.O.Box 110248
10832 Berlin, Germany
Phone: 00800-33 0000 33
E-Mail: [email protected]
Career site:
Application Guide | Job profiles
Consultant bei The Boston Consulting Group AG (Switzerland)
Dominique Cina, 26
MSc ETH Mathematik
Warum haben Sie sich für BCG als Arbeitgeber entschieden?
Für meinen Berufseinstieg waren mir zwei Dinge wichtig: Was ist der Inhalt
meiner Arbeit und mit wem werde ich arbeiten? Bei BCG herrschen flache
Hierarchien, schon als Berufsanfänger hast du die Möglichkeit viel zu bewegen,
die Lernkurve ist sehr steil und das Umfeld ist innovativ und kreativ. Die zukünftigen Kollegen waren ebenfalls ein entscheidender Faktor.
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei BCG?
Es ist die Vielfalt der Themengebiete, die ich an der Beratung schätze. Jedes
neue Projekt kann in einer anderen Praxisgruppe angesiedelt sein, unter Berücksichtigung meiner Interessen. Bis Dienstag ein Konsumgüter-Projekt in
Genf, ab Mittwoch Solarwirtschaft in Südamerika. So erhalte ich stets Einblicke
in neue Industrien und sogar Kulturen und entwickle mich täglich weiter.
Die Fragestellungen sind ebenso vielfältig: Soll eine Firma fusionieren, neue
Märkte erschliessen, oder seine Prozesse optimieren? In Zusammenarbeit mit
unseren Kunden entwickeln wir neue Erkenntnisse, erarbeiten strategische
Ansätze und helfen bei der Implementierung. Meistens bewegen wir uns direkt
auf Geschäftsleitungsebene, was für Berufsanfänger eine interessante und
einmalige Erfahrung ist.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei BCG?
In der Beratung funktioniert nichts nach Rezept. Für die anstehenden Herausforderungen ist immer ein massgeschneiderter, kundenspezifischer Lösungsansatz nötig. Meine Lernkurve ist extrem steil, ich erhalte tägliches Feedback
und entwickle mich schnell weiter. Besonders schätze ich auch, dass bei BCG
der Einsatz der Mitarbeiter honoriert wird. BCG ermöglicht mir zum Beispiel
einen MBA an einer der weltweit führenden Business Schools.
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Lernt durch ein Praktikum die Welt der Wirtschaft kennen und macht euch mit
einer neuen, kreativen Denkweise vertraut. Das Wichtigste in einem Unternehmen sind die Leute, daher unbedingt vor einer Entscheidung mit vielen Personen
Application Guide | Job profiles
Sektionschef Bautechnik im Bundesamt für Verkehr BAV
Thomas Peter Lang, 48
Dipl. Bau-Ing. ETH
Warum haben Sie sich für die Bundesverwaltung als Arbeitgeber
Die Bundesverwaltung bietet mir in meinem Berufsumfeld Stellen, welche in
der Schweiz einzigartig sind. Neben der nationalen Tätigkeit ermöglicht die
Bundesverwaltung mir auch eine interessante Zusammenarbeit mit Kollegen
ausländischer Behörden und Organisationen. Schliesslich bietet mir die Bundesverwaltung als verlässlicher Arbeitgeber konkurrenzfähige Lohn- und
grosszügige Sozialleistungen.
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei der Bundesverwaltung?
Als Sektionschef Bautechnik leite ich das Kompetenzzentrum für die Publikumsanlagen, die Ingenieurbauwerke und die Fahrbahn der Eisenbahnen. Ich
pflege mit meinen Mitarbeitenden den Erhalt und die Weiterentwicklung des
Fachwissens. Wir beurteilen Baugesuche für Eisenbahnanlagen in fach- und
sicherheitstechnischer Hinsicht. Weitere Schwerpunkte bilden die Normentätigkeit und Einsätze in der Sicherheitsüberwachung.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei der Bundesverwaltung?
Meine Tätigkeit als Sektionschef ermöglicht mir, sowohl ein Team von ausgewiesenen Fachspezialisten zu führen als auch meine eigene Ingenieurkompetenz im vielseitigen Umfeld der Bautechnik von Eisenbahnanlagen einzubringen.
Gleichzeitig bin ich auch immer wieder mit interessanten nicht-technischen
Aspekten des Gesamtsystems Eisenbahn konfrontiert.
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Suchen Sie sich für den Einstieg eine Stelle mit einem möglichst vielseitigen
Tätigkeitspektrum. Seien Sie lernbereit und offen für anspruchsvolle Aufgaben;
Mit Ihrem Studienabschluss haben Sie die besten Voraussetzungen, diese erfolgreich zu meistern!
Application Guide | Job profiles
Senior Project Analyst, CFO Program Services at Credit Suisse
Anna-Katharina Maschek, 26
What made you choose Credit Suisse?
I was fascinated by the idea of working in an environment of change such as the
banking industry. Additionally, Credit Suisse as a leading global financial services company offers an international and dynamic working environment.
What does your job at Credit Suisse involve?
I started the 12-month trainee program in October 2012. My current role is
Senior Project Analyst at CFO Program Services. At CFO Program Services we
are engaged in bank-wide key initiatives involving strategic consulting, program
and change management projects. These projects enable the bank to tackle the
current challenging industry environment.
As Senior Project Analyst I am responsible for developing results and conclusions through information analysis, preparing key engagement documents and
interacting with subject matter experts.
What do you particularly like about your work at Credit Suisse?
The international working environment in combination with the opportunity to
work with people with diverse backgrounds on all levels is one of the most interesting challenges we face every day.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Internships and discussions with employees of the company of your choice help
to match job expectations and help to get a better idea of job requirements.
Choosing the right industry, company and team to work for should be a wellthought through decision.
Calling all:
Industry Shapers
Agile Entrepreneurs
Client Champions
We look for a wide range
of interests,
backgrounds and
degrees. We look for
future leaders.
Credit Suisse is committed to providing a professional and inclusive work environment where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.
Credit Suisse is an equal opportunity employer. Copyright © 2014 CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Research Engineer at ETEL
Ambroise Krebs, 34
Dr. Sc. ETH
What made you choose ETEL?
The opportunity to discover a new field of research. Design and control of precision positioning systems for the lithography industry is something I hadn't
had the opportunity to tackle during my Ph.D. and the field is highly technologically demanding.
Also ETEL, part of the HEIDENHAIN group, is a non-stock company with a strong
sense of its social responsibilities. Accordingly, being part of a group that contributes to our society is very important to me.
What does your job at ETEL involve?
I work in the Advanced Development department where applied research is
conducted. I am personally involved in quite a large variety of activity. This is
great as it allows me to see every aspects of a complete system. Concretely it
means I spend time behind my computer, using MATLAB to help me design or
model a system, as much as physically building and testing prototypes.
What do you particularly like about your work at ETEL?
The technology and the people. The strong focus of ETEL on the technology has,
as direct consequence, that around 35% of its employees are engineers, with
experts in many fields. For example, the Advanced Development team is formed
by 15 people of 9 different nationalities. The cultural diversity, various technological background as well as open atmosphere make this company a place
prone to personal development.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Be creative! You'll need it to meet the goals of the engineering profession.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Direktor Technik für die Deutschschweiz bei Losinger Marazzi AG
David Mastrogiacomo, 44
Dipl. Bau-Ing. ETH
Warum haben Sie sich für Losinger Marazzi als Arbeitgeber entschieden?
Losinger Marazzi hat mich sofort mit seinen interessanten Projekten, seinem
internationalen Arbeitsumfeld und der Zugehörigkeit zum Bouygues-Konzern
überzeugt. Eine soweit vernetze Firma bietet Zugang zu einem grossen Kompetenznetzwerk, auf das man jederzeit zurückgreifen kann und es gibt damit
intern zahlreiche Möglichkeiten sich weiterzuentwickeln und Neues
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei Losinger Marazzi?
Als Direktor Technik bin ich für den reibungslosen, technischen Ablauf während
der gesamten Projektphasen verantwortlich. Ich stehe in permanentem Austausch mit der Projektentwicklung, Akquisition, der Ausführung, den internen
und externen Fachspezialisten.
Meine Tätigkeit setzt sich aus Projektmanagement, Koordination der Fachspezialisten und HR-Management zusammen.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei Losinger Marazzi?
Die Entwicklung eines Projekts vom weissen Blatt bis zu seiner Entstehung
miterleben und -gestalten zu können und dabei mit sehr verschiedenen Menschen im Austausch zu stehen, ist sehr motivierend.
Die Vielseitigkeit der Projekte (z.B. nachhaltiges Quartier, Büroturm, Spitalbau)
bietet langfristig spannende Perspektiven, und erlaubt es, fachlich sowie persönlich, wertvolle Erfahrungen zu sammeln.
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Stets offen und vielseitig interessiert zu sein, Fragen zu stellen und zuhören zu
können - dann kann eigentlich nichts schiefgehen.
Lösungen für ein besseres Leben
Das Nachhaltige Bauen ermöglicht es, ökologisch und ökonomisch leistungsfähige Lösungen für den gesamten Lebenszyklus eines Gebäudes
zu finden. Indem wir gemeinsam mit unseren Kunden lebenswerte und
zukunftsfähige Projekte gestalten, tragen wir zum Wohlbefinden aller bei.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Fellow at McKinsey & Company
Simon Weiher, 27
What made you choose McKinsey & Company?
I've always had very wide-ranging interests and I simply couldn't imagine working solely on the engineering of individual technical components. I chose
McKinsey because I knew I would get a deeper insight into business management. As an engineer, I can also gain experience in a variety of sectors.
What does your job at McKinsey & Company involve?
From the very outset, I've been involved in McKinsey projects as a full team
member. The work is extremely varied, and no two days are ever the same. I
meet clients frequently, carry out analyses, organize workshops, perform research, gather experts’ opinions, or prepare presentations. Besides project
work, I also perform exciting tasks in the Zurich Office, such as supporting
recruiting activities or training new hires.
What do you particularly like about your work at McKinsey & Company?
The variety of tasks. I get deep insights almost every day into a wide range of
companies. Also, I am regularly entrusted with new, exciting tasks to perform
on my own, which allows me to understand the big picture and present my
findings and opinions convincingly. I find it motivating to work in such a dynamic,
inspiring environment.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
It's important that you take the time to reflect on your true interests, your
motivations, and the career objectives you would like to achieve in the long term.
It's essential that you listen to other people’s opinions on this. Friends, relatives
and colleagues can give you an honest, outside perspective on your own plans
and might even be able to put you in touch with potential employers. They can
help you to assess how realistic your ideas are.
Application Guide | Job profiles
TechOps Graduate Program, Engineering at Novartis
Shabnam Ebrahimi, 29
MSc Chemical Engineering
What made you choose Novartis?
I was already interested in the pharmaceutical industry when I was a student.
The prospect of helping patients directly through the production of medications
was a big motivator for me. Novartis has an extensive product range, with many
of its medicines developed in-house, which underscores the company’s innovation. I was attracted to this type of environment.
What does your job at Novartis involve?
As a participant in the global trainee program I’ll have the chance over the
course of two and a half years to work in three different areas, such as controlling, drug manufacturing optimization, and system planning and automation.
This will provide me with in-depth insight into the production of drugs and
medicines. There are numerous opportunities for personal development during
the trainee program (e.g. leadership and social skills, technical know-how, etc.).
The program concludes with a year abroad in order to introduce trainees to the
intercultural aspects of the company.
What do you particularly like about your work at Novartis?
Thanks to global and cross-departmental activities I’m able to fully and completely realize my development potential. The high level of interconnectedness
along with the cultural diversity of my colleagues enriches my day-to-day work.
I particularly appreciate the flexible working hours because it allows me to align
my personal and business needs.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Students should learn about the business world as early as possible either by
being an intern or completing a bachelor and/or master’s thesis. This will allow
them to learn about complex corporate structures as well as job descriptions,
which will help them set priorities for their own career planning. In addition,
practical experience is highly regarded by companies when workers begin their
Caring and curing
At Novartis, we want to discover, develop and provide high-quality
healthcare solutions to address the evolving needs of patients
and societies worldwide. We believe that our diverse healthcare
portfolio, our dedication to innovation, and our responsible
approach will enable us to fulfill our mission to care and to cure.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Energieingenieur bei Siemens Schweiz AG
Chari Toloumis, 30
Warum haben Sie sich für Siemens als Arbeitgeber entschieden?
Während dem Studium fand ich es schon immer eine spannende Vorstellung, für
das weltweit grösste Unternehmen für Elektroingenieure zu arbeiten. Da ich
mich unter anderem auf Energiewissenschaft spezialisiert habe, war Siemens
die perfekte Wahl.
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei Siemens?
Ich arbeite bei Siemens im Bereich «Energieeffizienz». Wir verringern den
Energieverbrauch und die Treibhausgasemissionen unserer Kunden. Unser
Team befasst sich mit der gesamten Wertschöpfungskette von der Beratung
über die Umsetzung bis hin zu den entsprechenden Dienstleistungen. Wir helfen
Städten, nachhaltig zu werden und zu bleiben.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei Siemens?
Ich schätze das internationale Umfeld. Siemens Schweiz ist dabei ein gutes
Beispiel. Neben der Regionalgesellschaft mit Sitz in Zürich verfügt Siemens in
Zug über den internationalen Hauptsitz der Division Building Technologies. Ich
schätze auch, dass Siemens eines der wenigen Unternehmen ist, das die Welt
nachhaltig verändern kann. Unsere Gebäudeautomationssysteme beispielsweise sparen Energie und senken somit die Treibhausgasemissionen. Das macht
mich stolz. Es gibt Tage, an denen man alleine arbeitet. Dann gibt es Tage, an
denen man mit Kollegen Konzepte bespricht. Und dann gibt es wiederum Tage,
an denen man zu Kunden in ein anderes Land reist, um an einem lokalen Projekt
mitzuwirken. Diese Abwechslung macht die Arbeit spannend.
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Bleibt hartnäckig und verfolgt Euren Traum. Und gebt nicht auf, wenn Ihr
Schwierigkeiten habt.
Application Guide | Job profiles
Software Engineer bei Swisscom (Schweiz) AG
Andrea Grössbauer, 33
MSc ETH Inf.-Ing.
Warum haben Sie sich für Swisscom als Arbeitgeberin entschieden?
Die Swisscom ist eines der wenigen grossen Unternehmen in der Schweiz, in der
IT eine wichtige Rolle spielt. Trotz einer Vielzahl von IT-Systemen und Strukturen,
muss ein Projekt, zum Beispiel eine neue App Release oder ein neues Produkt,
schnell am Markt sein. Die Firma ist deshalb gezwungen, sich stetig zu wandeln.
Dadurch ergeben sich für mich immer wieder neue Chancen mich einzubringen.
Unsere Kunden haben grosse Erwartungen an das Resultat meiner Arbeit. Zudem habe ich die Möglichkeit, Teilzeit oder von zu Hause aus zu arbeiten.
Was beinhaltet Ihre Tätigkeit bei der Swisscom?
Mein Team macht Abklärungen für den Produktmanager wie und mit welchem
Aufwand ein neues Vorhaben technisch umsetzbar ist. Mit einem groben Software und User Interface Design setzen wir die Anforderung um und präsentieren
das Resultat alle zwei Wochen. Wir vereinbaren zusammen mit dem Produktmanager, was die nächsten zwei Wochen umgesetzt wird. Zu dem eigentlichen
Resultat zählt auch die Dokumentation und die Qualitätssicherung. Falls es
Kundenprobleme gibt, analysieren wir die Ursachen, und leiten allenfalls Sofortmassnahmen ein. Wir überprüfen die Feedbacks der Kunden, um allenfalls
Verbesserungen in neue Releases einfliessen zu lassen.
Was schätzen Sie besonders an Ihrer Tätigkeit bei Swisscom?
Ich arbeite in einem Team, das interdisziplinär zusammengesetzt ist und die
Entscheidungswege sind kurz. Ich kann mich in aktuellen Themen weiterbilden.
Die Möglichkeiten mich bei der Swisscom einzubringen sind grenzenlos. Ich
habe die Chance, mehr als einer Million Kunden das Leben einfacher zu machen,
und sie positiv zu überraschen. Themen wie Soziales und Umwelt/Nachhaltigkeit
kommen nicht zu kurz trotz dem hohen Tempo der Branche.
Was empfehlen Sie unseren Studierenden für den Berufseinstieg?
Mut haben und an den Herausforderungen, die die Berufswelt stellt, weiter zu
wachsen. Zudem empfehle ich stets, den Kontakt mit Unternehmen an Messen
zu suchen. Ich zum Beispiel, bin so auf die Swisscom aufmerksam geworden.
technische Projekte»
Nora Kleisli, Wirtschaftsinformatik, Business
Angenommen, dein Badezimmerspiegel
sagt dir, wo und wann es heute regnen
wird. Schon weisst du – bevor du richtig
wach bist – welche Kleider du am besten
Noch kann das dein Spiegel nicht, aber
vielleicht schon bald. Gestalte mit uns
die Zukunft und entwickle innovative
Lösungen, die unsere Kunden begeistern!
Informationen zu Trainee-Programm,
Praktika und Stellen:
Application Guide | Job profiles
GTP Business Analyst at UBS
Gilad Geron, 28
What made you choose UBS?
I chose UBS as it is an attractive leading bank with a global reach. The GTP
program matched my career objectives as it allows me to develop my skills and
try out different roles in the bank. Moreover, the GTP program offers many
training opportunities and the possibility to advance professionally in a corporate
What does your job at UBS involve?
I started off as an IT Business Analyst, working on Business Intelligence projects
for the IT systems of the bank. Additionally, I created a mobile site for internal
use and started a group in an UBS internal social media channel to help communication and communication sharing.
Recently, I went on a rotation in a different department. As part of my current
role I am in charge of creating complex financial models and business cases
for senior management.
What do you particularly like about your work at UBS?
I like the fact that even as a GTP, I get to interact with senior management who
trust me and give me responsibilities and credit for my work. I also enjoy being
able to travel as part of my role.
What advice do you have for students starting their professional lives?
Look into different areas to find out where your place is at the company. It is an
exciting opportunity to try something completely different. A bank has a lot to
offer, you just need to dare and the rest will follow.
You’re full of energy and ideas.
And that‘s just what we are looking for.
Looking for a career where your
ideas could really make a difference?
UBS’s Graduate Training Program and
internships are a chance for you to
experience for yourself what it’s like to be
part of a global team that rewards your
input and believes in succeeding together.
Wherever you are in your academic
career, make your future a part of ours by
visiting /graduates.
We will not rest
© UBS 2014. All rights reserved.
Application Guide | Exploration
Entry-level positions
It is not always clear at first sight whether a job offer targets university graduates
or people with experience. However, many companies and institutions also have
internships, trainee programs and career-entry positions specifically designed
for students and recent graduates.
Terms that help identify career-entry positions include “junior”, “starting position” or “young professional”. Positions include:
– Junior product manager
– Career-entry mechanical services
– Mechanical engineering graduate
Career-entry as an assistant of a senior manager:
Assistant positions are a particularly suitable means of gaining an overview of
a company. As an assistant you will be your superior’s right-hand, supporting
him in any daily business matters by collecting and evaluating information,
ellaborating decision basis and take on project tasks. This type of position requires strategic and business thinking skills, problem solving competences,
ability to work under pressure, flexibility, as well as analytical and structured
working behavior.
Career-entry trainee programs:
Large companies often offer special career-entry trainee programs. Usually
lasting 12–18 months, they provide an opportunity to learn about all aspects of
the company. They include involvement in the day-to-day business of each department and responsibility for small tasks, often as part of a larger project.
You will be prepared, e.g. for executive or project management tasks and at the
end of the program, successful trainees are often able to move into full-time
jobs with the company. Trainee programs are usually available for bachelor and
masters graduates. Ask companies for full details of their programs and age
limits, if any.
Starting salaries
They depend on the industry, the company
and the starting position
We cannot give you exact details about career-entry salaries, as these vary from
industry to industry, company to company and starting position to starting position. Moreover, there are also pronounced regional differences.
When looking at the salary it is essential to contemplate the total compensation.
The total compensation can roughly be divided into the following components:
– Basis salary (annual salary incl. 13th month salary)
– Performance bonus
– Fringe benefits (exemplary)
– Pension fund contributions
– Number of vacation days
– Contribution towards public transportation (e.g. Half-Fare travelcard)
– discount on company products etc.
Example A
Example B
Annual Salary CHF 70 000
+ 25 vacation days
+ special rates for company
+ discounts at personnel
+ Employer pension contribution
above legal minimum
+ overtime compensation
+ further education
Annual Salary CHF 82 000
+ 20 vacation days
+ Employer pension contribution
at legal minimum
+ special rates for company
+ no overtime compensation
≈ CHF 95 000
≈ CHF 85 000
Application Guide | Exploration
When evaluating the salary, all compensation components have to be considered. There are a number of statistics regarding entry salaries, which shall only
be used as indicators. E.g. “Beschäftigungsstatistik” of ETH, Swissengineering,
Swiss ICT etc. The compensation is only one of many criteria when choosing
your future employer. The job content, team, company culture, development
opportunities and further education are further important aspects, which are
crucial for the decision. The focus on each aspect is also very individual.
Basis for focusing
Your exploration has now given you an important overview of possible branches,
areas of work and job profiles. You can, as a result, move forward with your job
search in a more goal-oriented way. The compilation of the branches and areas
of work that interest you provides the basis to enable you to focus on individual
companies and job advertisements. This will save you a lot of time and energy
in the search for a job. You should now be able to decide much more quickly
between job offers which would suit you and those which would not.
Tips: Exploration
– Gather knowledge from as many specialists as possible (your professors,
former ETH students via Industry Contacts of ETH Alumni, working friends
and professionals) so as to obtain a range of information about different
sectors and professional career-entry points.
– Take the time for regular detailed research of web sites and of specialist
and trade journals in the fields in which you would like to work.
– Compare the information from your exploration with the insights you
gained in the “Analysis” chapter to make sure that the sectors, fields and
occupational descriptions you favor really do match your personality,
your strengths and your values.
– Always remain flexible in your choice of industries and employers so that
you have alternatives, regardless of the state of the economy.
Application Guide | Exploration
ETH Career Center offer: Exploration
– Individual sessions to determine branches and fields of activity
– Career Sandwich events with companies to obtain an insight into different
activity fields as well as to establish contact with company representatives
– During our Panel discussions company representatives discuss specific
topics and talk about experiences within their company
Information: — for students and doctoral students
Potential employers
Job search
Proactive job search
Job advertisements
Application Guide | Focusing
Potential employers
Your employer and job preferences
In this chapter we show you how to transfer the industries and areas of work
that interest you to specific employers and job profiles.
Criteria for employer and place of work
The following table contains all the important criteria that you should take into
account when choosing a job. For each point, think about what is important for
you concerning your future employer and your work.
1. Type and size (national or international company, SME, start-up, ETH spin-off 5):
2. B usiness offering (products, services):
3. S tability (financial situation, competition):
4. O rganizational structure (flat, hierarchical):
5. C orporate culture (dynamic, traditional, conservative):
ETH start-ups and spin-offs also offer graduates an attractive career entry.
The tips in this Application Guide also apply to such emergent companies.
6. People development (entry-level positions, training programs, career prospects):
7. Job content (function, duties/responsibilities):
8. Other job attributes (salary, travel, etc.):
Tips: Research of potential employers
– Company web sites (annual reports, organizational charts, media releases,
career information)
– Chambers of commerce and industry and other professional associations
– Business section of daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines
(information about companies and their management)
– Networking (see chapter “Focusing”—“Proactive job search”)
This list of your requirements will be useful later as a criteria template when
considering specific job offers. In addition, it will be also a useful preparation
for job interviews (see chapter “Application”—“Interview”).
Application Guide | Focusing
Job search
Different types of job search
There are different ways to find a job. The most successful strategy is the multichannel approach.
The following section presents different approaches to looking for a job. The
addresses and hyperlinks are intended only as a first step in your research and
are by no means exhaustive.
Jobs on online platforms
Companies post job offers on a huge number of internet platforms. Always check
that internet job offers are current. Use the auxiliary services, such as setting
up a search assistant or placing your CV online. Remember, some companies
use the internet to search for young talent in order to save the cost of expensive
print or online advertisements. If you place your CV online, make sure that it is
always complete and up to date.
General job portals:
Branch / Sector specific job plattforms:
– Architecture/Construction:
– Banking:
– Geology:
– Geomatics/Planning:
– IT:,
– Engineering:
– Life Sciences/Chemistry:
– Mathematics:
– Public Sector:
– Physics:
– Pharma/Healthcare:
– Environmental/Nature conservation:
– Non-Profit Organisations:
Job offers in newspapers
Employers looking for new employees in a specific region generally advertise
the positions in regional newspapers. Hence, it pays to regularly review the
newspapers of the region where you would prefer to work. If you see a job offer
in a newspaper that interests you, you must apply within 2–4 working days.
Therefore, always send your application by A-Post or e-mail.
Job offers on company web sites
Most companies publish job vacancies on their own corporate website. To avoid
a rush of applications, these vacancies are often not published on other job
platforms. Review the websites of companies you would like to work for and
look for jobs that fit your profile. If you do not find any suitable listings, you can
always apply on the off-chance that something is available (see chapter
“Focusing”—“Proactive job search”).
Job search through recruitment agencies
Recruitment agencies have mostly special contracts with companies and recruit
people for management positions or expert roles which are normally difficult
to find on the employment market. Entry level or doctoral graduates are seldomly being recruited via recruitment agencies. Therefore you should not only
rely on this type of recruiters.
Application Guide | Focusing
Proactive job search
According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, only 25% of vacant posts
are publicly advertised. The other 75% are either filled by people in the company
or through personal networks. For this reason, you are advised to take the initiative and apply to possible employers on the off-chance that they may have
suitable positions.
As the name “proactive job search” indicates, this type of job search requires
commitment and a degree of creativity. The proactive job search may not be as
easy as a classical job search, but it may be the more effective route to your
goal. An essential element in this approach is activating and expanding your
personal network.
Networking at conferences and campus themed events
One way to establish new contacts with the business world is to attend (scientific)
conferences, career sandwich or panel discussion events. Over a drink it is
possible to get into conversation with interesting representatives from the business world.
Networking with students in higher semesters / Alumni
Another approach is to cultivate contacts with more senior students. One way
is to maintain contact with the students in charge of your tutorial groups or
practical courses after the semester ends. Another possibility is active involvement in student organizations, which attract students from all semesters. You
can learn who is in the process of applying for positions or who is already in an
entry-level position; these contacts may become important sources of information
for you in the future.
Online networking
Professionally operated websites such as and,
on which you can post your own profile and search for others, offer the oppor-
tunity to establish new and interesting contacts. As these platforms were specially developed to exchange job and interest-related information, as a rule the
registered members are prepared to answer questions. Use these platforms
actively, don’t publish your profile only to be part of the game.
Student society networking
If you would prefer not to leave networking to chance, you can also join the
existing networks of ETH students. Most of them also cultivate a range of contacts with companies and political organizations. In addition, playing an active
role in them can help to broaden your soft skills for your application.
Here is a selection of associations that you may find interesting:
– VSETH: Student Association of the ETH Zurich
– Student associations: Associations by department
– AVETH: Association of doctoal students at ETH Zurich
– ETH Juniors: Consulting company run by students of ETH Zurich
– Polycareer: Student organization which organizes Polymesse, Polycocktail
and Polyinterview
– IAESTE: The International Association for the Exchange of Students for
Technical Experience organizes practical training exchanges for students in
technical fields
– Femtec: Career building program for future females in engineering and
natural sciences
Societies, associations and organizations
Interest groups are also useful points of contact for information about job possibilities, contact addresses, industry information, etc.
Following some examples:
– Information for engineers about careers, training and
further education, and job platforms
– Directory of all Swiss professional associations
– Association for professionals in Civil and Environmental
– Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects
– Swiss association for Chemistry, Pharma and Biotechnology
Application Guide | Focusing
Trade fairs and conferences
Job fairs, such as the Polymesse at ETH and trade fairs, and conferences offer
ideal opportunities of approaching interesting employers. Companies present
themselves at stands or in talks and most have a number of representatives
from their range of activities.
To create a professional impression it is important that you prepare yourself
well for your visit to a job fair or conference. Inform yourself in advance about
the companies that you would like to visit and draw up a list of competent
The most important job fairs are published on the event calender of the ETH
Career Center website.
Interesting and relevant trade fairs and conferences for you:
Tips: Fairs and conferences
– Research in advance which employers are sending representatives
to the fair.
– Select the employers that especially interest you and visit their websites,
in particular the jobs and careers pages.
– Print out job ads that you find interesting and take them with you to the
– Think about the questions you would like to ask the human resources
officer or the company representatives at the fair stand. This will enable
you to start a discussion.
– Prepare your CV and take several copies with you in neat folders that you
can hand to people if required (see chapter: “Application”—“Application
– Dress accordingly.
– Be enthusiastic about engaging people in discussion. Because of the crowd
of visitors at fairs, you usually have just a few minutes to present yourself
and your case. Introduce yourself politely and use well-prepared questions
to show enthusiasm and genuine interest.
An der grössten Recruitingmesse der ETH Zürich stellen sich während
drei Tagen über 120 Firmen den interessierten Studentinnen und
Studenten vor und zeigen Einstiegsmöglichkeiten auf. Zudem
werden CV-Check und Stilberatung angeboten. Die Messe findet im
Hauptgebäude der ETH Zürich statt.
ab März
Bei Firmenvorträgen werden Themen aus dem Alltag eines
Unternehmens diskutiert sowie aktuelle Problemstellungen
und Lösungskonzepte präsentiert. Zudem werden im Rahmen
des Polytrainings Bewerbungstipps gegeben und Themen zur
Firmengründung aufgegriffen.
conducted by
Zur Vorbereitung auf die Polymesse diskutieren Vertreter aus der
Wirtschaft, der Politik und Studentenschaft die gegenseitigen
Erwartungen an eine erfolgreiche Firmenmesse. Nach was suchen
Firmen und Studenten bei der Polymesse und wie muss man sich
verhalten um das zu kriegen, was man sucht.
for AndroidTM
Kommission des
or just search
for „polymesse“
App developed by
Job advertisements
Analysing job advertisements
Correctly analyzing a job advertisement can influence the success of your application. It is important to distinguish between mandatory (must have) and
optional (can have) requirements. The greater the agreement between your
skills and the required technical and social skills, the greater the likelihood that
you will be invited for an interview.
Mandatory requirements
Mandatory requirements are skills that the employer would definitely like to
have fulfilled. Candidates who fulfil fewer than 80% of these requirements are
very likely to be immediately rejected by the personnel officer on the assumption
that such applicants will probably be out of their depth in the advertised job.
The following formulations indicate mandatory criteria in job advertisements:
– Candidates are expected to have fluent business French and English
– You have at least five years of practical experience in project management
– The applicant must be willing to travel
– You have no difficulty using the newest IT applications
– We expect a knowledge of object oriented programming with UML
Job offers may also be published as a list of key criteria. The mandatory requirements are then listed under headings, e.g.:
– This position requires...
– Job specifications
– Conditions
Optional requirements
In reality, companies generally look for candidates who also meet all the optional
requirements. As it is often the case that candidates do not meet all the criteria
specified, less important criteria are sometimes given as optional requirements.
In other words, you do not have to have these skills, but it is an advantage if you do.
Application Guide | Focusing
The following formulations are typical of optional requirements:
– Experience in the industry is an advantage
– Experience in sales is desirable
– You already have experience in dealing with customers in this field
– You should have a solid knowledge of CAD
From newspapers, online job portals or corporate career websites choose 2–3
job advertisements that appeal to you and for which you could imagine applying.
Carefully read each advertisement a few times and then draw up a table of notes
on the mandatory and optional requirements and the skills that you can offer.
Example: Job advertisement
“Trainee Program
In the next few months you will graduate (from ETH, a university or a university
of applied sciences) with an excellent final grade in mechanical engineering
and a second degree in business management or a similar field, or you are
already working on your doctorate. Through a number of demanding business
internships you have already gained experience working in the private sector.
At least one foreign assignment lasting several months attests to your intercultural skills. In addition, you have played a leading role in a number of extracurricular activities and are open to new experiences. You get great satisfaction
from working on projects as part of a goal-oriented team. A good command of
English and interest in travel rounds off your well-balanced profile.”
Example: Analysis of the job advertisement
Mandatory requirements
Your skills
University degree in mechanical
Additional studies in business
MSc ETH in Mechanical
Two semesters of courses
in business management for
Excellent final grade
Final degree mark: 4.9
Business traineeships with
Three-month internship in sales
at Bühler AG in charge of
own projects
Two years working in controlling
at Huber & Suhner AG parallel
to studies
Intercultural skills
Semester abroad in Australia
Leading role in extracurricular
2 years board member in a student
Good command of English
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced
Interest in travels
Traveling desired
Optional requirements
Your skills
Doctoral degree
Application Guide | Focusing
Job advertisement 1
Your skills
Your skills
Your skills
Your skills
Job advertisement 2
Job advertisement 3
Your skills
Your skills
The importance of soft skills
Many job offers explicitly demand soft skills. This chapter deals with formulations and possible interpretations. Take care to deal with all required soft skills
in your letter of motivation and provide an example to support each (see chapter
“Application”—“Application documents”).
Required soft skills and possible interpretations:
– Employee able to work under pressure: The pressure of work may be
considerably greater than normally expected in the sector.
– Committed employee: The working hours may be irregular and overtime
may be the rule.
– Reliable employee: The firm has no interest in a job hopper. The applicant
should be prepared to stick with this job for several years.
– Autonomy/Self-reliance: Experience in the described field of activity is
absolutely essential. You cannot expect any technical or specialist support.
– Flexibility: Indicates a vaguely defined assignment or function.
Application Guide | Focusing
– Independence: The applicant must expect to work in different places. Travel
or changes of location are taken for granted. Children and family obligations
are not viewed favorably.
– Good business sense: Business pressures play an important role.
A knowledge of business management is an advantage. The interests of
several stakeholders will have to be balanced.
– Self-reliance: Performance requirements should be exceeded. The
candidate must be self-motivated and develop his own working targets;
he cannot expect praise or directives from his superiors.
– Loyalty: May indicate difficult working conditions and a moody boss.
– Part of a young, dynamic team: Older applicants (perhaps even over 30)
have no chance; nor do applicants with excessive salary expectations.
– Available immediately: Predecessor was possibly given or gave notice.
Leaves open the question of why the predecessor left?
Managing contact data
In the course of your job search, you will have to manage a lot of information,
appointments, and contact addresses. To keep an overview, we advise you to
keep a record of contacts.
You will find an example of what such a record could look like on the following
page. Make a note — preferably in a table — of all details of job advertisements,
contact people and the current state of your applications (see chapter
“Application”—“Application documents”).
Tips: Job advertisements
– Read through the text of the advertisement carefully. It normally contains
a description of the company, the job specifications, the field of work,
and possibly career opportunities.
– Draw up a table of the mandatory and optional requirements and alongside
them list your corresponding skills.
– Find out what type of employees the company is looking for. You will
usually find some information on the company website.
– If the job advertisement leaves questions open, clarify these directly with
the department that advertised the post. Contact the human resources
department first and insist on being transferred to the department
– Keep all information, dates, appointments and contact addresses in
a table of record.
Frau Irene Gut
Industrietech AG
Werkstrasse 37
Postfach 4587
8047 Zürich
Herr Felix Müller
Management AG
Viktoriastrasse 17
3013 Bern
Job advertisement
1st contact
Comment: Job
focus more on
processes than
on strategy
Mr Urs Meier
Senior Consultant
031 259 48 78
Phone call
Mr Fritz Müller
044 578 02 45
Mrs Sabine Huber
Human Resources
031 259 47 95
Delayed answer
because of
amount of
Mrs Sabine Huber
Human Resources
031 259 47 95
Follow up
Mrs Sabine Huber
Mr Urs Meier
1st Interview
Mr Urs Meier
2nd Interview
Application Guide | Focusing
Basis for your application
The analysis, exploration as well as the focusing are indespensable elements
for your job search. A thorough research about the future position, the analysis
of mandatory and optional criteria as well as a clear application strategy are
the basis for the actual application.
Tips: Focusing
– Prepare a folder in which you collect all the material that you print out
in the course of your job research (annual reports, job listings, media
– Simultaneously use as many different job-search strategies as possible.
In other words, combine traditional methods with the proactive job search
– Before writing an application, take the time to analyze the job advertisement
and to write out the mandatory and optional criteria.
– Draw up a record of contacts in the form of an Excel spreadsheet in which
you record and regularly update all details about the job advertisement,
contact persons, dates, and appointments.
– Save all interesting and suitable job advertisements on your computer to
remind you of which profiles to look for.
ETH Career Center offer: Focusing
– Individual counselling, workshops and trainings on application
– “Career Sandwich” events with companies to obtain an insight into
different activity fields as well as to establish contact with company
Information: — for students and doctoral students
Application documents
Applying abroad
Alternative selection procedure
Application Guide | Application
Application documents
Your business card!
It is extremely important that you know the value of your application material.
Your written application is the first impression that potential employers have
of you. This impression decides whether you proceed to the next step in the
application process or are rejected immediately!
Human resource managers often have to deal with 100 or more replies to a job
advertisement, from which they select between five and ten applicants for a
first interview. Obviously, no one is going to take the time to study each application in detail. In the pre-selection stage, each dossier will be allocated only
two or three minutes.
Persuasive application material
Your application documents are your personal business card. Both content and
form have to6:
– Arouse interest in you as a person
– Generate a desire to meet you in a personal interview
Employers’ selection criteria
The goal of human resource persons is to fill open positions with suitable candidates who not only fulfil the technical requirements, but also have the personality and the motivation to fit into the company and the respective team. In the
course of the selection process the question of technical qualifications will
gradually recede into the background as the focus shifts to personality and
motivation. In the end, the decisive factor will be the personal chemistry between
the future superior and the applicant.
Source: Hesse J., Schrader H. C.: Neue Bewerbungsstrategien für Hochschulabsolventen. Startklar für die Karriere. Frankfurt a. M.: Eichborn AG, 2005, p. 116
Application material
Your complete job application must consist of the following documents:
– A cover letter (letter of motivation)
– A curriculum vitae (CV)
– Copies of certificates from educational institutions (school-leaving onward)
– Copies of all employment certificates and/or letters of recommendation
– Copies of all further education, traineeships and qualifications (if relevant for
the position in question)
Your material must be sorted into the appropriate section in reverse chronological order, i.e. with the most recent document on to.
Criteria for assessing application documents
In the first round of the selection process the most important assessment criterion for human resource persons is the applicant’s CV. Unless this is persuasive, the other documents will be ignored! The applicant’s CV must make it
immediately clear that his qualifications meet the employer’s requirements.
Application Guide | Application
As was made clear in the introduction to this chapter, in most cases human
resources decides whether to invite the applicant for an interview on the basis
of the CV. Therefore, it is important that the information in your CV is properly
and clearly arranged.
The information in each section of a CV is usually structured in a tabulated
format. The information in each section is compiled in reverse chronological
order, i.e. with the most recent event at the top. A CV consists of the
– Contact details
– Personal details
– Education and training
– Work experience
– Language skills
– Computer skills
Your CV may contain the following points, if applicable:
– Military service
– Further education, traineeships
– Other activities (interests, hobbies)
– Scholarships and awards
– Relevant publications
Do not enclose references within your application documents unless specifically
requested. Either you will be asked to bring them with you to the interview or
they have to be submitted on request. It is however recommended to place a
note at the end of the CV that references are available upon request.
Contact details
Your contact details consist of your first name, last name, complete address
(with country if applying abroad), telephone number, and e-mail address.
– It is not necessary to list your middle names; as a rule, it is enough to give
the name you are known by (exception: first names that are not unambiguously
– As a telephone number give your mobile number to ensure that no one answers
the telephone without your knowledge. For your answering machine, use a
professional answering service or record a professional message.
– Your e-mail address should make a serious impression and include your first
and last names: e.g. [email protected], not: [email protected]
Ideally, group your contact details in the form of a letterhead that you can use
on all documents that you present to the company.
Personal details
Personal details in a Swiss CV include nationality, date of birth and marital
– Mention all citizenships held (e.g. Nationality: Swiss/French).
– If applicable, include your residence permit (e.g. Nationality: Chinese;
Residence permit: B).
– Use an official term for marital status (single, married, divorced, or
– List children only if you really want to (e.g. Marital status: married, 2
Under education list all graduation certificates, diplomas and degrees obtained
from and including the secondary school. In general final grades are only being
listed if they are above average. For consistancy, you will then have to list all
grades of graduation.
– Give the dates (months and years) you attended each institution.
– For each stage of your education or training give the name
and location of the institution and certificate, diploma or degree received or
for which you are studying.
– If relevant for the job being applied for, mention extension courses, specializations, major subjects and/or titles of theses or papers.
– Mention your high school orientation, if any, e.g. mathematics and science,
your major subjects and any relevant achievements.
– Cite foreign grades in relation to the highest possible grade (e.g. “Final
grade: 3.8 out of 4.0” or “3.8/4.0”; for Swiss final grades “Final grade: 5.8”
is sufficient).
Application Guide | Application
Since 10.2011 ETH Zurich, Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering
Specialization: Hydro Power
Expected graduation: April 2011
10.2008–09.2011ETH Zurich, Bachelors Degree in Environmental
Engineering (Final grade: 5.2)
Specialization: Water Systems
09.2008Alte Kantonsschule Aarau, School leaving examination
Major subjects: Mathematics and physics
School leaving project: Developed a robot that picks up
nails and goes around obstacles
Work experience
As a rule, work experience includes completed practical courses, internships,
teaching assistantships, part-time jobs and doctoral research.
– In each case, state the period of the work experience (months, years).
– For each period of work experience give the name of the employer, the
location and your function.
– Describe your responsibilities or at least two tasks that you accomplished in
your position.
– Write in the active mode using verbs (”Successfully developed new methods
for ...”) or substantive verbs (”Successful development of a new method to
...”) and, where suitable, adjectives and adverbs.
– Mention special accomplishments and successes.
Since 10.2012ETH Zurich, Tutorial Assistant in the Thermodynamics
– Head of tutorials in the Thermodynamics Department
– Responsible for organizing tutorials and examination
– Responsible for student advice and examinations
05.2011–11.2011 EADS, Astrium (Space Division), Germany, Internship
– Structural and fluid calculations for the “Space Station
Crew — Refrigerator Freezer Rack (RFR)” project of
the International Space Station (ISS)
Language skills
Language skills are usually described in terms of proficiency; include certificates where applicable. Common categorizations include: mother tongue,
business fluent, fluent, basic knowledge or self-rated as per the Common
European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR7.
German Mother tongue
English Effective operational efficiency (12.2012: Cambridge Certificate
of Proficiency in English)
FrenchGood knowledge (Level B2 of the CEFR)
Computer skills
It is useful to group computer skills by topic (program languages, operating
systems, graphic design programs, application software, etc.) and/or categorize
Europarat Portal ( – Education, culture and heritage, youth and
sport – Language Policies – European Language Portfolio – Levels or at under CEFR
Application Guide | Application
Operating systems: Windows, Linux, OSX
Engineering programs: Fortran, C, MatLab
– Extensive programming experience in Fortran, C, JAVA, MatLab
– Solid knowledge of Windows, UNIX and LINUX
Military service
For the purposes of chronological completeness, include your military service
under a separate heading. Details should include the length of service and the
rank attained.
Further education / training
Further education/training includes extracurricular training, such as participation in symposiums and conferences, trade fairs, language courses and
personal development seminars (e.g. public-speaking courses) — with month
and year, if possible.
Basic Management Skills, Zurich
Certificate: Seminar in Soft and Management Skills
Other activities
The heading “other activities” includes interests, hobbies and volunteer work.
The object of this section is to offer the reader personal, non-professional details
that round out your image and can also serve as interview openers. Suitable
activities normally include:
– Particular extracurricular activities
– Volunteer or community work
– Longer periods abroad
– Special accomplishments (e.g. playing a musical instrument, sports, etc.)
Since 07.2009 Trainer of the junior team of the Greifensee Football Club
Since 04.2007 Active member of the Zurich Chess Club
02.2007–10.2007Developed a business plan for the reorientation of the
family business
Notable scholarships or awards should be listed under a separate heading.
For non-scientific posts is it quite enough to include a selection of publications
and the following statement: “A full list of publications will be provided upon
request.” For scientific positions, always include a complete list of publications
as a separate page in your CV. In addition, if applying for a research post you
may include one or two relevant articles as samples of your work.
Although you are not required to include a photograph with your application,
many companies prefer (or some even explicitly request) it. However, only submit
a photograph if you have a recent portrait photograph taken by a professional
photographer or can have one taken. A 4.5 cm / 6 cm format is recommended
for application photographs. The photo can be added to your CV either in digital
form or glued on as a print.
A good application photograph is no guarantee that you will receive an invitation
for an interview, but an unflattering photograph will put an end to the application
process for you before your application has even gotten off the ground!
Application Guide | Application
Tips: Photograph
– Have a professional photographer take your application photograph.
– Practice smiling and posing in the mirror before your photo session.
– Make sure you look well-groomed (men: clean shaven!) and go to a good
hairdresser before the photo session.
– Dress as you would for a job interview.
Tips: CV
– Divide your CV into thematic blocks (modules) with a clean, pleasing layout
on max. 2 pages (excluding complete publication list and references).
– Formulate factually and concisely.
– Especially in the section of practical experience you can differenciate
yourself from your competitors. Therefore describe your tasks precisely
and significantly.
– Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.
– Use the same font for all modules and at most two different font sizes
(never smaller than 10 pt). Use bold type for headings.
– Submit only a recent photograph taken by a professional photographer that
creates a pleasing impression.
Application Guide | Application
Giorgio Buonarico
8610 Uster
Telefon: +41
E-Mail: [email protected]
[email protected]
25 Jahre
Seit 10.2012
Seit 10.2006
10.2003 – 09.2006
ETH Zürich, Masterstudium Maschineningenieurwissenschaften
Vertiefung: Energietechnik, Strömungsmaschinen
ETH Zürich, Masterstudium Maschineningenieurwissenschaften
Masterarbeit: “Aero-Thermo-Mechanical System Integration and
Vertiefung: Energietechnik, Strömungsmaschinen
of an Axial
Compressor in a High
Airship”and Design
2012Altitude Airship”
of an Axial Abschluss:
in a High
April 2008 Maschineningenieurwissenschaften
Vertiefung: Robotik und intelligente Systeme
ETH Zürich, Bachelorstudium Maschineningenieurwissenschaften
Bachelorarbeit: “Numerical Simulation of Unsteady Separated TwoVertiefung: Robotik und intelligente Systeme
Dimensional Flow around a Circular Cylinder”
Bachelorarbeit: “Numerical Simulation of Unsteady Separated TwoDimensional
Flow around
a Circular
Schwerpunktfächer Mathematik und Physik
Alte Kantonsschule Aarau, Matura
Schwerpunktfächer Mathematik und Physik
Praktische Erfahrung
11.2013 Berufserfahrungen
ETH Zürich, Hilfsassistent am Labor für Strömungsmaschinen
– D esign Studie und Planung der System Integration neuer
Seit 11.2007
Zürich, Hilfsassistent
am Labor für Strömungsmaschinen
für das Freistrahllabor
• Design Studie und
der System Integration neuer
– Installationsarbeiten
für das Freistrahllabor
– FRAP-Sonden
• Installationsarbeiten am Freistrahllabor
06.2013–10.2013 Limmat
Scientific AG,
Zürich, Industriepraktikum
• FRAP-Sonden
– W eiterentwicklung des Messsystems zur Lochsonden-FreistrahlLimmat
Scientific AG,und
der Datenerfassungshardware
• Weiterentwicklung
des Messsystems
Lochsonden– LabView
8.0 Programmierung
und Testen
– Messungen
und aerodynamischeund
– Erstellung
einer technischen Bedienungsanleitung
• LabView 8.0 Programmierung und Testen der Kalibration
• Markt,
und aerodynamische
von Lochsonden
Seit 10.2010
• Erstellung einer technischen Bedienungsanleitung
Kundenberatung und Verkauf (20%)
Mettler Toledo, Greifensee, Werkstattpraktikum
Mettler Toledo AG, Greifensee
Grundkurs für das Maschinenbaustudium
Werkstattpraktikum (3 Monate)
Montagemitarbeiter (2 Monate)
Seit 07.2007
Good News Productions AG, Glattbrugg,
Stagehand und Security
Auf- und Abbau von Konzerten sowie deren Bewachung
Example CV
Deutsch Italienisch Englisch Französisch Spanisch Muttersprache
Sehr gute Kenntnisse
Gute Kenntnisse
Betriebssysteme Windows, LINUX, OSX
Ingenieurtools Matlab, ANSYS CFX/ICEM CFD/Workbench
(Solidmechanics), Axcad, Unigraphics NX4,
Labview 8.0, C++
Anwendersoftware MS Office
Internet / Design HTML, Flash, Photoshop
Interessen / Hobbys
Aktive Mitgliedschaft im Fussballclub Greifensee als Spieler und freiwilliger
Mitarbeiter an Turnieren in der Gemeinde
Auf Anfrage verfügbar
Application Guide | Application
Daniel Kaufmann, PhD
Aubrigstrasse 47
CH - 8810 Horgen
Phone: +41 79 410 86 79
[email protected]
Swiss citizen, single, 02.05.1984
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), Zurich, Switzerland
Computational Laboratory
PhD thesis: «Investigations of Numerical Aberrations: Origins and Implications»
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
MSc in Computer Engineering, Final grade 5.25/6
University of Florida (UF), Gainesville FL, USA
Process Control Engineering, Diploma Thesis, Grade 5.5/6
– Did modeling and model validation for a small articulated robot
– Developed a modern predictive control algorithm using Matlab/LabVIEW
– Successfully implemented algorithm on real vehicle
Carniege Mellon University (CMU), Pittsburgh PA, USA
Electrical Engineering, Exchange program
Grade Point Average 3.9/4.0, on Dean’s List for both semesters
ETH Zurich, Computational Laboratory, Switzerland: Research Assistant
– Responsible for control systems engineering in an interdisciplinary collaboration
with GreatCorp., Basel, Switzerland
– Modeled and controlled Diesel injectors using Matlab/dSpace
– Developed advanced control algorithms (H∞ and genetic approaches)
– Teaching assistant for robust control and control experiments
– Supervised students writing semester theses
– Published research results, did presentations to management, attended conferences
Ford Motor Company, Kansas City, USA: Summer Intern
– Assisted the Ford Customer Service in the launch of the Ford Mustang vehicle
– Data-mining and Report generation for management using large data bases
– Served as a link between the customer and Ford engineering
GreatMachines Ltd., Stans, Switzerland: Winter Intern
– Completed design projects using Unigraphics Software
– Served as apprentice in the area of milling, turning, drilling, welding
Example CV
German: English: French: Italian: Spanish: Mother Tongue
Proficient (level C2 on European Language Scale)
Proficient (level C2)
Advanced knowledge (level B1)
Basic knowledge (level A2)
Matlab/Simulink, dSpace Control Desk, LabVIEW, Pascal, C,
I-DEAS, Unigraphics, ANSYS, LaTex, MS-Office
- Lorem I., Lorem B., Lorem F., (2011): „Dolor sit amet, egestas fusce amet ornare
feugiat vehicula ante, nulla ante pede et morbi. Et sed nam.“, 17, 1-2, 163–198
- Lorem I., Lorem B., Lorem F., (2011): „Dolor sit amet, egestas fusce amet ornare
feugiat vehicula ante, nulla ante pede et morbi. Et sed nam.“, 17, 1-2, 163–198
Mountaineering, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Reading
Available upon request
Application Guide | Application
Cover letter
Although a cover letter does not usually play a crucial role in the preselection
of applicants, it plays an important role in subsequent stages of the selection
process. A well-written letter that succinctly lists your accomplishments and
motivation increases your chances of being invited for an interview.
It is crucially important to formulate your cover letter to the company’s requirements. No two advertised positions are identical. Each job demands a unique
combination of technical qualifications and soft skills, so approach it accordingly
(see chapter “Focusing”—“Job advertisements”).
Your letter must address the following questions:
– Section 1: Why are you applying for the advertised position? What interests
you about this company?
– Section 2: What is your current job? What accomplishments can you offer
with regard to the required skills?
– Section 3: How strong is your motivation and drive? What are your goals?
– Section 4: Where do you want to go from here?
The example on the next page presents the formal structure of a cover letter
and the approximate importance of each section.
Stefan Leibundgut
Nelkenstrasse 198
8245 Feuerthalen
Telephone: 052 367 83 47
Email: [email protected]
Management Consulting AG
Mrs Felicitas Huber
Viktoriastrasse 17
3013 Bern
Zurich, 25 March 2014
Application for the position Consultant „Change Management“ – NZZ, 22/23 March 2014
Dear Mrs. Huber
Section 1: Lorem ipsum ut quod ferri definiebas quo, ius graeci laboramus honestatis ut, id ius
nullam soluta partiendo. Duo te corpora prodesset posidonium, velit doctus an quo, id vim inani
clita. No usu saperet appareat probatus, usu ipsum intellegebat ex.
Section 2: Dico graecis copiosae per cu, ex eros intellegebat nec, ad mea debet oporteat
repudiandae. Id vim graeci molestie takimata, quo nostrum conceptam an. Mei sale dicam eu. Sit
porro concludaturque ex. Summo mundi mei ad. Soluta facilis eam no, facilisis pertinacia eu vim.
Graece suscipit quo at, nominavi salutatus cu mel. Qui ut illum partem. Cu prima idque aperiri mel,
sed modo interpretaris ut. Sea dicta eloquentiam id, ea cum.
Section 3: Cu possit fierent intellegebat qui. Mei in vocent definiebas, cu assum convenire
necessitatibus has. Vis verear quaestio accommodare no, id vis repudiare splendide. Et quo vidit
dicam dolore, in sed velit eripuit pertinax. Eam ea dicat zzril, quo aeterno comprehensam cu, his
in enim vocent definiebas. Vivendo intellegat sea ut, et liber docendi.
Section 4: Unum liber mandamus ne est, omittam percipitur his ad. Nec ne quaeque denique
persequeris. Sit in partem nonummy disputationi perfecto.
Stefan Leibundgut
Application Documents
Application Guide | Application
Your cover letter must consist of a few sentences that briefly and concisely
explain your accomplishments and motivation. As a rule of thumb, it should
have just ten sentences, each containing at most 15 words and one statement — in other words: one page maximum. This is not a simple task! It is
estimated that you will need a full day to write your first, good cover letter. It is
sensible to spread the time spent working on the letter over several days. Ask
others for their opinions. This is a useful way to get going again if you hit a wall.
The style rule for cover letters is “describe, don’t evaluate”.
– Describe your skills and your accomplishments objectively without praising
– Be careful not to include lists of qualities without mentioning where or how
you were able to demonstrate them.
– Use the active mode and, where possible, verbs and adjectives rather than
nouns (see chapter “Application”—“Active verbs”).
Formal structure of the cover letter:
Return address
The return address is the same as in your CV: Your first name, last name,
complete private address (including country in applications abroad), telephone
number and e-mail address (see “Contact details” under “CV”). It is useful to
design your contact details as a header, which you can use both for the cover
letter and the CV.
The address consists of the full form of the company name (e.g. Inc., Ltd., etc.),
the complete address as it appears in the job advertisement or on the company’s
website, and, if possible, a contact person. Leave out obsolete forms such as
“c/o”, etc.
Management Consulting AG
Ms Felicitas Huber
Viktoriastrasse 17
P.O. Box
3013 Bern
Place and date
Every communication must include the place and date in the simple form: Zurich,
25 March 2014.
Subject heading
The subject heading consists of the advertised position or the heading of the
advertisement, details of the place of publication (name of the newspaper, URL
of the job platform, etc.), and, if applicable, date of publication, reference number, and reference to a personal conversation. Today it is usual to omit the word
“Re:” at the beginning of the line.
Application Guide | Application
– Your advertisement in the NZZ of 22/23 March 2014 — Our telephone
conversation of 24 March 2014
– Consultant “Change Management” — Your advertisement in the “Neue
Zürcher Zeitung”, 22/23 March 2014
– Application as Consultant “Change Management” — Your advertisement
in DIE ZEIT, 19 March 2014
– Advertisement on your homepage — Consultant “Change Management”
Form of address
An application should, if possible, be addressed to a specific person: “Dear Ms
Müller”, “Dear Mr Schulze”. Only if no contact person is mentioned and you have
not been able to ascertain one use: “Dear Sir or Madam”.
Section One — Introduction
It is very helpful, of course, if you can refer in your cover letter to a personal
telephone conversation with the contact person or another company representative. However, this does not imply that you should make unnecessary efforts
to establish telephone contact with the company. It is better not to ask questions
if you do not have any sensible ones — awkward questions can easily make an
unfortunate impression.
To ensure that the reader of your application documents continues reading you
must open your cover letter with a captivating sentence. Avoid superficial, conventional openings such as “I herewith respond to your advertisement in the
NZZ of 22/23 March 2014.”
– Thank you for the interesting telephone conversation yesterday. Your
information has increased my interest in the advertised position.
– The career opportunity described in your advertisement in the NZZ of
22/23 March 2014 really interests me.
– In the NZZ of 22/23 March 2014 I read that you are looking for a mechanical
engineer. Your advertisement really interests me and I would like to
present myself to you.
– Management Consulting AG has a reputation for innovative strategy
projects. I am very interested in putting my conceptual and analytical
skills in this field at your service.
Section Two — Technical qualifications
In the second section of your cover letter you should describe your current work
and provide information about the criteria stated in the advertisement. Describe
your qualifications for the advertised position and mention positions in which
you have used your skills.
– In February 2014 I graduated in physics at ETH Zurich. I am looking for
an entry-level job in management consulting.
– After completing my doctoral studies in applied physics at ETH Zurich,
I am looking for a challenging position in management consulting that will
make full use of my skills.
– During my studies I gathered experience in energy management and
power and automation engineering in training programs and internships
in Switzerland and abroad.
– My functions and responsibilities were primarily in concept development
and execution.
– At ETH Zurich I was in charge of the semester tutorials.
Application Guide | Application
Section Three — Motivation and suitability
In this section you should tell the reader how your work experience can benefit
the company. Present your qualifications and emphasize your motivation and
– Through my traineeships in Switzerland and abroad I have experience of
this type of work in an international environment.
– One of my strengths is my ability to grasp new concepts and assignments
– I am used to working independently and assuming responsibility for
– Finally, I have an excellent knowledge of English.
Section Four — Close
As a rule, the conclusion of the cover letter is brief and includes a request for
an interview.
– I am looking forward to hearing from you.
– Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. Perhaps you and
Management Consulting AG would be interested in discussing it further in
an interview. I look forward to hearing from you.
“Sincerely yours,” “Yours sincerely‚” or the more modern “Sincerely”.
If you are sending the application electronically you may either scan your handwritten signature or just type your name.
The indication of the term “Enclosed” is out-dated and can be left out.
Application documents
– Resume
– References
Tips: Cover letter
– Your cover letter should be in the same style as your CV. Use the same font
type and font size. The cover letter should be no longer than one page.
– Include your full contact details and use the same letterhead as in your CV.
– Develop your own style and avoid preformulated sentences in application
writing guides (including this one)!
– Give a brief, precise account of your qualifications, motivations and
– Describe your accomplishments without evaluating them.
– Use verbs and adjectives rather than just nouns (see chapter
“Application”—“Active verbs”).
– Use the correct full form of address (including titles).
– Check your letter for spelling and grammatical errors; ask a third person
to read it.
Application Guide | Application
The different forms of application
More and more companies demand job applications online through the company’s
own job platform. Compared to the traditional form of application by mail or
even e-mail, this form of information transfer is, as a rule, predefined.
Therefore, whenever you have the possibility, send your own preformatted CV
and cover letter as an attachment with the online forms. In this way, you can
influence the formatting and layout of your message and stand out positively
from the predefined pattern! In this case, in the “Remarks/Message” box you
need only to politely draw attention to your attached cover letter and other
The following checklist is intended to remind you of the most important points
of the different ways of applying for jobs.
Tips: Application documents in general
– Stick to company guidelines regarding form (mail, e-mail or online) and
required documents.
– Keep a record of all your job applications, e.g. in an Excel file (see chapter
“Focusing”—“Managing contact data”).
– Keep a copy of each job application so that, if invited, you can prepare for
an interview.
Tips: Applications by mail
– Sort and place your application material in an application folder.
– Use a fresh set of documents for each application (well-thumbed documents
do not make a good impression).
– Check that the documents are complete. Check the spelling and grammar
of each document.
– Mail the documents in a white C4 window envelope or in a neatly and
legibly hand-addressed C4 envelope.
– Check that the company’s name and address and the name of the contact
person are correct.
– Make sure that you have the right postage and that the stamps are lined
up neatly.
– Send your documents by A-Post (first-class mail). Do not send them by
registered mail.
Tips: Applications by e-mail
– Scan all documents that are not already in electronic form and divide your
documents into three pdf files:
1. Cover letter
2. CV
3. Certificates (school and university certificates, diplomas and degrees,
language diplomas, etc.) and work experience reference letters
– Check that the attached files are no larger than 2 MB.
– Check that the files are complete.
– Check the grammar and spelling of your cover letter and CV.
– Write a short, formal e-mail drawing attention to the attached files.
– Check that the details of the contact person and the company are correct.
– Include an electronic signature and your contact details in the e-mail.
– To help you archive e-mail applications, add yourself as a bcc recipient.
– If you notice a mistake after sending off the e-mail, correct it immediately
with a friendly follow-up e-mail.
Application Guide | Application
Tips: Online applications
– First read through the online form. Collect all information you are missing
before you start filling in the form (you do not always have the possibility
of saving data before completing the form).
– Prepare the documents that you can or have to attach in the desired format
and size before you start filling in the form.
– Check that all documents to be attached are complete; check their
grammar and spelling (in particular the company’s name and address and
the name of the contact person).
– Before sending the form check all grammar and spelling.
– If possible, print out the completed form and file it with your application
Active verbs in German
Prioritäten setzen
Lehre / Betreuung
instand halten
instand setzen
neu gestalten
Application Guide | Application
Active verbs in English
Teaching / Support
Applying abroad
Europe and USA
In content, there is little difference between applications in different European
countries. As in Switzerland, the focus elsewhere is also on a brief, precise
overview of accomplishments and the motivation for the application. However,
the formal details of applications differ from country to country and need to be
taken into account in each case. You will find more details on the webpages of
the local university career services.
Applying in the USA
There is no fundamental difference between the content of American resumes
and cover letters and European applications. However, you should be aware that
there is a difference in emphasis:
Application documents for non-academic jobs
As a rule, for a non-academic job8 you submit only your resume and a cover
letter. The resume is a concise summary of your education, work experience
and other relevant qualifications for the job being applied for. In the cover letter
you specify your reasons for wanting to work for the company and why you are
suitable for the position.
As for a European CV, the resume is divided into sections by topic, and the
contents listed in reverse chronological order. An American resume contains
the following sections and elements, all on one page:
– Contact details
– Short profile
– Education
– Work experience
– Skills
– Other activities (hobbies, voluntary/community work)
– Scholarships and awards
Curriculum Vitae for academic positions: See MIT Careers Office – Resume – Tip Guides
Application Guide | Application
Applications in the USA do not include a photograph, nationality, civil status,
sex or date of birth.
– Contact details:
Contact details consist solely of first name, last name, address, telephone number
and e-mail address.
– Short profile — summary:
This section is not essential; however, it helps the employer to ascertain the
relevant qualifications and what job you are looking for, at first glance. Formulate
your career objective in one short, precise sentence.
– Education
This should include only your college and university education:
– Give the dates of each period of education in months and years.
– Give the educational institution, place and the accreditation achieved or aimed for.
– List extension courses and lectures relevant to the job.
– Mention exceptional achievements and provide your final grades in relationship
to the highest possible grade (e.g. “Final grade: 4.0 out of 4.0” or “5.8/6.0”)
or categorize your result, e.g. “Top 5% of class”.
– Work experience:
– Give the dates of each period of work in months and years.
– For each job give the job title, employer and location (including the country).
– Write in the active mode.
– For each relevant activity, describe your function and the results — project,
activity, results (e.g. “Assessed profitability of expansion strategy in the biotech
industry; the results were used by the client to make market entry
– Skills:
Skills also include language and computer skills.
MIT Career Development Workbook 2011-2012
– Other activities:
These include hobbies and interests, voluntary or community work and nonprofessional leadership experience.
– Scholarships and awards:
These also include performance-related grants.
– Publications and References:
As a rule, publications are not mentioned in a resume. If a list of publications
is requested, write it on a separate page. References are provided only on
Cover Letter
As in Switzerland, the American cover letter is a short communication that
explains your motivation and qualifications clearly and concisely. It should be
structured as follows:
– Sender: Only address without nationality, date of birth and marital status.
– Date: e.g. “March 25, 2012”.
– Address: Contact person, title, company, address.
– Form of address e.g. “Dear Mr. Miller:”.
– Section One: Introduce yourself briefly and describe the type of job you are
looking for and why you are applying for this one.
– Section Two: Mention your qualifications and experience that you think is
relevant for the job and explain what you particularly like about the company/
– Section Three: Express your desire for an interview and give your contact
details (telephone no., e-mail address).
– Ending: “Sincerely,”
– Signature
– First name, last name
– Enclosures: “Enc.”
For further tips and examples, visit the MIT and Stanford University websites.
Application Guide | Application
Exemplary CV USA*
Mech Eng Masters Student
XXX Memorial Dr.
Cambridge, MA 02139
XXX-XXX-XXXX [email protected]
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA
Candidate for Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, June 2007.
Relevant coursework: Entrepreneurship Lab, Product Design, Preliminary Venture Analysis,
Applied Math for Engineers. GPA: 4.8/5.0
South Dakota State University (SDSU)
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, June 2004.
GPA: 3.97/4.0.
Brookings, SD
People’s Friendship University
Moscow, Russia
One year course in Russian Language (92-93) in preparation for an MD in Medicine.
Edelman Lab, MIT
Cambridge, MA
Examined implantation of a medical device (stents) in human arteries. Identified the
contribution of the geometry as well as material properties of the arterial walls. Drew
interpretations by assessing the response of arteries to these devices using numerical
techniques (finite element methods).
Gas Turbine Lab, MIT
Cambridge, MA
Analyzed a propeller connector (hub) for a vertical test stand to be used in the study and
control of flow patterns around propellers. Calculated design parameters, and strength
evaluation using software such as Patran. Created models using computer aided design
tools (Pro-Engineer).
Computer: Fortran, Matlab, HTML, UNIX, some JAVA and Visual Basic; Computer aided
design: Pro-Engineer, Ideas; Numerical analysis: ADINA, Patran;
Language: Proficient: English, Hindi; Conversational: Russian; Basic French, Korean,
Managed 150 students as a Resident Assistant at SDSU. Columnist at South Dakota State
Univ; Wrote articles in the MIT campus newspaper. Published poem in anthology of new artists.
Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi engineering Honor societies; Sigma Pi Sigma outstanding
Physics student of the year 2000-2001; Perry W. Williams Prize 2002-2003; Wilton
McCown Scholarship 2001-2002.
* MIT Career Development Workbook 2011–2012,
Application Guide | Application
How you present yourself
Congratulation! Your application material has made a convincing impression
and the employer would like to meet you. This probably puts you among the
5–10 best of the 100 or more applications usually received for a job. You can be
proud of this achievement, as you are now a great deal closer to your goal. But
the most important part still lies ahead of you: the interview.
Your goal in the interview is to confirm the good impression that your application
materials have made. In this section we focus on how best to prepare yourself
for your interview, which questions to expect and what to do after the interview.
In the days before the interview go over the following checklists and
Preparing for the interview
– Gather as much information about the company as you can: read press releases
and annual reports on the company homepage and research the trade press.
– On the basis of your research think of questions you would like to ask the
company. Jot these down on a notepad that you take into the interview with you.
– Find out who will interview you and try to find background information about
the person(s) in question (function, CV, responsibilities).
– Read the job ad thoroughly. Make a list of the requirements for the job and the
skills that you can offer for each of these functions, with concrete examples
if possible (see chapter “Skills”—“What am I good at?”).
– A few days before the interview ask friends or family members to conduct a
mock interview with you. Go through each of the interview phases and the
corresponding questions and answer them as though it were the real thing.
Tips: The day before the interview
– Prepare the material that you are taking to the interview: CV, diploma,
certificates, reference letters, copy of the job ad, notepad with
your questions, pen, possibly copies of technical articles and company
– Ensure that you have an attractive carrier for your materials (e.g. leather
briefcase, black folder).
– Lay out your clothes; they should be appropriate for the industry and you
should feel comfortable in them.
– Study the map and directions or train and bus timetables once again carefully, so that you will arrive punctually.
– Have the contact and telephone number of the company or interviewer in
case of emergency.
Tips: The day of the interview
– Make sure that you are well rested and freshly shaven or decently made
up; use a long-lasting deodorant and an unobtrusive perfume.
– Eat a balanced meal; avoid carbonated beverages and coffee, which can
cause stomach problems and bad breath. Carry some mints in your pocket
just in case.
– Switch off your mobile phone.
– Allow yourself enough time before the interview to take a few deep breaths
and relax. The more relaxed you are on entering the interview, the more
poised you will seem.
Although there is no clear rule about how you should dress for an interview, it
is crucial that you make a well-groomed and respectable impression. It signals
that you respect the company and its personnel and that you are serious about
your application. It is generally better to be slightly overdresses than
Application Guide | Application
If you are not used to wearing a suit, trouser suit or jacket and skirt, it is advisable that you wear your “business dress” once or twice before the interview.
During the interview it is important that you feel at ease.
Tips: Interview outfit for women
– Well-fitting trouser suit or jacket and skirt in black, grey, dark blue
or brown.
– Properly ironed white blouse for a formal interview, otherwise an elegant
turtleneck or shirt with stand-up collar is also permissible (no tops with
spaghetti straps!).
– Well-polished black or brown closed pumps or shoes (flat or low heels,
no high-heels).
– Dark, fairly opaque stockings, without pattern.
– Belt to match trouser suit or coat and skirt.
– Only restrained, elegant jewelery (no large earrings or rocks around the
throat or on fingers!).
– Freshly washed, neat hair.
– Discrete make-up.
Tips: Interview outfit for men
– A single-color, well-fitting suit.
– Properly ironed shirt, in white or pale blue for a formal interview, with a
tie. In industry and manufacturing, shirts may have a restrained stripe or
check and be worn without a tie.
– Business ties: no bright colors or figurative motifs.
– Well-polished leather shoes, either black or brown to match the suit.
– Well groomed appearance.
Interview procedure
There are no fixed procedural rules for interviews. However, most human resources managers prefer a structured or semi-structured discussion. The individual phases and questions will, of course, vary from interview partner to
interview partner.
In general, an interview is divided into the following phases:
– Warming up
– The company presents itself and the position to be filled
– The applicant introduces himself
– More details about the job
– Applicant’s questions
– Possibly discussion of the contract conditions
– End of the interview
Warming up
In the first phase of the interview the company representatives seek to break
the ice and gain an initial impression of you. Take care to greet all interviewers
in an open and friendly manner and with a firm handshake. As a rule, the individual parties will introduce themselves and one will explain the order of the
interview. Follow closely and be aware of your body language.
The company presents itself and the position to be filled
Before you are asked any questions, it is customary for one of your interviewers
to say something about the company and the position to be filled. Listen attentively and with interest. If you have any questions, make a note of them for the
end of the interview, or ask politely if you may raise them immediately.
The applicant introduces himself
This is the crux of the interview, when you must persuade your interviewers of
your skills and strengths. In this phase, too, it is important to appear at ease
and to answer the questions of the company’s representatives briefly and to the
point. Speak in a clear and friendly voice and do not speak too quickly.
Application Guide | Application
The following examples should help you to prepare yourself optimally for the
interview phase. Prepare a good answer for each question and, if possible, hold
a practice question-and-answer session with friends or family members in a
mock interview format. The better prepared you are for the actual interview
questions, the less inhibited you will be and the more pleasant you will find the
exchange with your interviewers.
Questions about your background:
– Talk about your CV, emphasizing what you feel are the important points.
– What motivated you to choose your particular field of study?
Why did you choose that particular university?
– How would you describe your attitude to academic life?
– What aspects of your field did you specialize in, and why?
– Mention something about your bachelors or masters thesis.
– How do you see your future career, and why?
– Do you think that your studies have prepared you well for your professional
future, and in what way?
Questions concerning the motives for your application:
– Why did you apply for a job with us? What do you know about our company?
– Do you have any special connection with our company or products?
– What interests you particularly about this job?
Questions about your achievements and motivation:
– Why should we employ you rather than someone else?
– Which achievements are you particularly proud of?
– What has priority for you at work?
– Have you ever been dissatisfied with your performance and how did you
deal with it?
– If you got the job, what would you do in the first 30 days?
– Where do you want to be in five year’s time?
Questions about your personal and social background:
– How do you spend your leisure time?
– In a nutshell, how would you describe yourself?
Application Guide | Application
– What do you think your last boss would say about you?
– Have you ever had difficulties getting along with people, and what consequences did you draw from that?
– What three positive character traits would you like to further develop?
Questions about your professional skills and inclinations:
– How well do you know our profession?
– Which technical books and articles have you read recently?
– In which fields do you still have gaps and what do you intend to do about
Questions meant to challenge you:
– Why is there a gap in your CV?
– Why is the grade for your bachelors degree so poor?
– You realize that it is impossible to meet the deadline for a job because
members of your team are not reliable. What do you do?
– If I were your boss and I asked you to do something you had reservations
about, what would you do?
– Do you have other applications currently under consideration?
More details about the job
After the employer has asked his questions he will probably describe the primary
and secondary tasks of the vacant job in greater detail. This may include targets,
requirements, development possibilities and the training period. Listen attentively and with interest, and ask questions if you can.
Applicant’s questions
In this part of the interview you will be given the chance to ask any questions
you still have. This it the time to take out the notepad with the questions you
prepared at home — which demonstrates to your interviewers that you have
prepared yourself carefully for the interview. You may ask any product-related,
job-related or technical questions that were not answered in the preceding
discussion. What you may not raise at the first interview are questions about
salary. In many cases, salary is discussed only at the second interview, when
the applicant may broach the subject if the employer does not. Be prepared to
name a salary range for the expected annual salary.
Examples of the applicant’s questions:
– How does the department fit into the overall organization?
– With which departments will I work?
– What is the average age and educational background of the people with
whom I will work?
– How will my training period be structured?
– What other projects are planned?
– May I ask you how long you have been with the company and how you would
describe your experiences?
– Can you tell me something about your corporate and management culture?
– Is it possible to see the future work place and meet future co-workers?
– What further training programs do you offer?
– What are the next steps? Will there be further interviews?
– By when can I expect to hear from you?
Conditions of employment
It is possible that after your questions, the human resources manager will say
something about the normal conditions of an employment contract with the
company. This is also possible even if nothing has been said about salary. Pay
particular attention, as you are being given important information about your
possible employment contract, such as:
– A description of your functions
– Earliest starting date
– Probation period
– Period of notice
– Vacation regulations
– Salary policy
– Social security
However, these points, especially those concerning salary, are often dealt with
in detail only after you have been chosen for the job. If these points are not
raised, it is better that you do not ask any questions about them.
Application Guide | Application
Closing the interview
First impressions are decisive, but final impressions are lasting. Therefore, pay
as much attention to your behavior at the end of the interview as you did to your
behavior at the beginning. It is important that the next steps are defined: who
will contact whom until when. If this is not clear, ask. Thank your interviewers
for the interesting discussion and for their time.
Tips: Successful interview
– Remain yourself in every situation and in each answer. Once or twice you
can also admit to not having thought about, known or done something.
– Watch your body language, facial expressions and gestures.
– Keep eye contact with all interlocutors.
– Pay close attention to your interviewers’ remarks. Look them in the eye
and signal by nodding your head or comments such as “I understand” that
you are listening to what is being said.
– Think before you reply, and if you have not understood a question properly
ask the speaker to repeat it.
– Answer in short sentences and remain specific.
– Also quote examples to show what you are good at and what you want.
Refer to your CV, including your extracurricular activities.
– Leave out personal details. Your problems, worries and reservations are
no one else’s concern.
– Let your interviewer set the course of the conversation and do not
interrupt him.
– Reply using active verbs and positive and optimistic formulations.
Tips: Going over the interview
– Go over the interview in your mind: how did the interview go? Which
questions were unexpected? What did you do well and what could you do
better next time?
– Use your intelligence and intuition to make an overall assessment. On the
whole, did you feel comfortable? Did you like your potential superiors and
co-workers? Did the description of the function match what you had expected on the basis of the job ad? Do you think you are up to their standards?
What is your gut feeling: would you accept an offer?
– On the following day send your contact person a short feedback by e-mail.
Thank him once again for the interview, repeat your interest in the position
and say that you look forward to hearing from him again soon.
– If you do not hear anything about the interview by the agreed date, get in
touch with your contact person.
– If you are offered the job, ask for one or two days to think it over. Use this
time to discuss and clear up any doubts with a company representative
before definitely accepting the offer.
Application Guide | Application
Company assessment criteria
As an applicant you never see behind the scenes of the selection process. One
is often left in the dark about the reasons why an interview was a success or
failure. All that can be said is that you can only do your best and that the final
result is the sum of the impressions you created.
To give you an idea of the criteria that play a role, we list the most important
assessment criteria once again:
– What motivated you to apply for this job?
– What are your professional and soft skills?
– Are your appearance, manner and manners pleasing?
– What are your characteristic traits?
– How open are you to cooperation and team work?
– Are your ideas about the job realistic?
– Do your statements sound genuine and truthful?
– Have you given serious consideration to the question of why you are suitable
for the position?
– How developed are your intellectual powers?
– How good are your powers of expression and communication?
– In a nutshell, what attitude can the company expect from you?
– Would you fit into the company or institution or team?
Alternative selection procedure
Assessment Center
Some firms use assessment centers to find potential employees. Companies
that use this route to select employees are particularly interested in an overall
picture of the applicants. In other words, they are interested not only in technical
qualifications, but also, in particular, in the personality of the individual
Large firms sometimes use assessment centers to recruit young talent. If you
are applying for entry-level managerial positions in international companies it
is impossible for you to avoid this type of selection process. One advantage of
this intensive recruiting method is that several candidates can be assessed
simultaneously as they interact with one another. A team consisting of human
resource officers and line officers monitor the candidates for a day or two,
observing how they present themselves, communicate, behave in teams, and
tackle problems. However, this situation, where applicants are under time pressure and constant observation is also intended to test endurance and ability to
withstand stress and cope with frustration.
Companies’ evaluation criteria
The focal point for assessment centers is candidate evaluation.
Key qualifications include the following:
– Social skills
– Systematic, goal-oriented approach
– Activity potential
– Verbal and writing skills
A detailed description of the individual qualifications will be found in the chapter
“Analysis”—“What am I good at?”.
If you have to deal with an assessment center, try to sell yourself well without
exaggerating, and be as natural as possible.
Application Guide | Application
Structure of assessment centers
Core components of assessment centers are the following:
– Group discussion
– Presentation
– Interview or case study
– Conversation with a client or an employee
– In-tray exercise
Assessment center structure varies from company to company and may be
expanded to include other elements such as personality, intelligence and concentration tests.
Group discussion
The subject of the group discussion will either be a global topic (e.g. “Smoking
ban in the workplace”, “Pros and cons of phasing out nuclear energy”) or a
specific problem in the normal course of company business that needs to be
solved. The participants will often be assigned specific roles.
In a group discussion behave as follows:
– Look at the person who is speaking
– Pay attention all the time
– Be calm and level-headed in your reactions
– Be enthusiastic
– Speak slowly and clearly
– Argue rationally; do not become emotional
– Demonstrate your interest in promoting harmony in the discussion group
– Take arguments seriously and expand on them constructively
– Keep your arguments balanced
– Show that you understand others’ contributions before expressing your
own opinion
– Admit mistakes in your own thinking: “that’s right; I didn’t think of that”
– Be careful not to create the impression that you are a smart alec who
always knows best
– Throw your opinions into the ring for discussion: “I’d be interested to
know what you think of this”
Role playing
In role playing you have to put yourself in the position of a human resource
manager, a CEO, your superior or a team leader. You will be given between 5
and 15 minutes to prepare and then you will play out a typical conflict situation
with one of the company representatives (e.g. firing, motivation deficit, other
criticism). In role play you can use the pointers for group discussions in the
previous section.
Case study
Case studies test your intellectual, logical and organizational skills. Case studies
are often interactive, but may also be an individual assignment. They usually
deal with a complex problem involving one of the company’s fields of activity.
The object is to analyze the problem and develop potential solutions within a
predefined period. It is not the object of a case study to find the “right solution”
in a given scenario, but to develop approaches to solving problems that demonstrate your ability to employ various skills in completing the assignment. The
evaluation also monitors your concentration, your ability to familiarize yourself
with complex situations, how quickly you grasp situations and your ability to
work under pressure. In group assignments the main aim is to observe you as
a team player.
In case studies it is important to analyze the task systematically, to carefully
read and understand the assignment, to order the information and take all
aspects into account. In case studies in which direct interaction is part of the
process always share your train of thought with your interview partners. In group
exercises it is advisable to document the route by which you arrived at your
solution as this makes it more transparent for the evaluators.
With this exercise the company tests your rhetorical skills. You are given a topic
and a certain amount of time to prepare it, and then you must talk on this subject.
Often you have to support a certain standpoint and argue convincingly in favor
of it.
Application Guide | Application
The best way to prepare for the presentation is as follows:
– Take a differentiated approach to your topic and structure your arguments
– Attempt to present your thoughts in a lively, entertaining manner, and smile
while speaking
– Maintain eye contact with your audience
– If your mind suddenly goes blank, take a short break to think of something
to say; on no account start to “um” and “er”
– good time-management
In-tray exercise
The point of this exercise is to allow the assessment center observers to assess
your ability to work under time pressure, to organize work and set priorities.
You receive a pile of documents that you need to review and make decisions
about. Your task is to determine the order in which you would process the documents and to explain your prioritization.
The following decision matrix is a useful aid for this exercise:
Important and urgent
Not important, but urgent
Important, but not urgent
Neither important nor urgent
The assessment center interview is usually similar to a “normal” interview (see
chapter “Interview”). However, it can also be structured as a stress interview,
i.e. a specific theme, generally some weakness, is chosen as topic or you are
asked provocative questions:
– What is there to be said against our hiring you?
– Despite your resolutions, what have you not yet achieved in your
(professional) life?
– What is your biggest failure or disappointment, and what have you
learned from this?
– How do you define the concepts “leadership”, “responsibility”,
and “performance”?
– There is no red thread running through your CV!
Do not let questions in stress interviews disconcert you; just try to argue matterof-factly. Remind yourself that your interview partner is not interested in making
a fool of you, but in testing how you react under pressure.
Tips: Assessment Center
– Before your appointment with the assessment center get a good night’s
rest, and put on comfortable clothes (see chapter “Interview”—“Etiquette”).
– Be always authentic, do not try to convince the assessors of something
which is not compliant with your characteristic traits.
– Before the exercises start try to introduce yourself to the other
– Be open, friendly and alert at all times.
– Tackle all assignments with complete concentration and commitment.
– Do not let yourself be provoked, and respond in a businesslike, matter-offact way at all times.
– You won’t receive any feedback during the assessment, don’t let that
disconcert you.
– In team assignments always let other participants finish speaking before
saying anything and maintain eye contact.
– Do not forget that you are also being observed during breaks and meals.
Therefore, stick to small talk, steer clear of politics and involved, controversial or embarrassing subjects.
Application Guide | Application
Tips: Case Studies
– Take notes.
– Do not forejudge.
– Ask questions.
– Listen carefully to the answers.
– Maintain eye contact.
– Take your time.
– Illustrate your approach.
– Think aloud.
– Illustrate a logical and clear approach. If necessary and reasonable use
frameworks and concepts to structure your solution.
– Summarize your results briefly.
Application Guide | Application
Closing of the application process
The application itself is the last step in your application process. It is the culmination of all your efforts in the analysis, exploration and focusing phases.
Before you can assemble your application material and prepare yourself for an
interview, you need to have a thorough knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, be clear about your professional and private interests and what you
want, and have done what you can to establish contact with possible employers.
In this phase it is important not be discouraged by negative replies or a lack of
resonance. Each application is a learning process, and with patience and proper
preparation the desired success will soon follow.
Tips: Application
– Know the value of your application material; It decides whether you are
regarded as interesting enough to be invited for an interview.
– Invest sufficient time and money in putting your documents together;
Particularly in the case of your photograph, the expense is worth it.
– Attend your interview well prepared, properly dressed and in a relaxed
frame of mind.
– Take enough time to go over the interview and use the result to improve
your preparation for other imminent interviews.
– Carefully document all the steps of your application process; File copies
of job ads and set up an Excel file to record all contacts, applications and
the state of applications in process.
ETH Career Center offer: Application
– Workshops on CV and motivation letters
– Interview training
Infos: — for students and doctoral students
Closing remarks
Application Guide | Chapter
ETH Alumnus
ETH Alumna
ETH Alumnus
ETH Alumnus
Closing remarks
The basis of a successful application is an application strategy customized to
your unique requirements. We hope that the wealth of tips and pointers in this
application guide will help you to successfully pursue your transition to professional life.
In addition to this practical application guide, we offer:
– Trainings
– Workshops
– Company events
– Library including books on application
– Individual counseling
– Calender of events on with an overview of career
related events at ETH
In particular, we should like to draw your attention to the Career Sandwich- and
Panel discussion events and the Recruiting Days with company representatives.
The objective of these events is to gain a deeper insight into the professional
world, meet company representatives and prepare your career entry in an optimal way.
For further information about our offers at ETH as well as about our partner companies or other ETH organizations, please visit our
We wish you lots of success for your career start and are happy to support you
for these important steps.
Your Career Center Team
Eicker, Annette (Hrsg.): Jobguide. Engineering. Düsseldorf: matchboxmedia, 2007
Hesse, Jürgen; Schrader, Hans Christian: Neue Bewerbungsstrategien für Hochschulabsolventen.
Startklar für die Karriere. Frankfurt a. M.: Eichborn AG, 2005
Hesse, Jürgen; Schrader, Hans Christian: Die 100 wichtigsten Tipps zum Assessment Center.
Optimale Vorbereitung in kürzester Zeit. Frankfurt a. M.: Eichborn AG, 2006
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Careers Office (Hrsg.): Career Development Workbook
2011–2012. Chicago: College Recruitment Media, Inc. 2011
Püttjer, Christian; Schnierda, Uwe: Assessment-Center-Training für Hochschulabsolventen.
Frankfurt/New York: Campus, 2006
Schürmann, Klaus; Mullins, Suzanne: Weltweit bewerben auf Englisch.
Frankfurt a. M.: Eichborn, 2003
Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für akademische Berufs- und Studienberatung AGAB/
ASOU (Hrsg.): Vom Studium zum Beruf. Standortbestimmung, Laufbahnplanung und Stellensuche beim Berufsübertritt und bei beruflicher Neuorientierung. Aarau: AGAB/ASOU, 2002
Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für akademische Berufs- und Studienberatung AGAB/
ASOU (Hrsg.): Am liebsten würde ich... Ein Leitfaden zur Selbsterkundung Ihrer Interessen.
Aarau: AGAB/ASOU, 2006
Schweizerisches Dienstleistungszentrum Berufsbildung, Berufs-, Studien- und Laufbahnberatung (Hrsg.): Die erste Stelle nach dem Studium. Ingenieurwissenschaften. Aarau: SDBB, 2007
Schweizerisches Dienstleistungszentrum Berufsbildung, Berufs-, Studien- und Laufbahnberatung
(Hrsg.): Die erste Stelle nach dem Studium. Medizin, Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften.
Aarau: SDBB, 2007
STV-Verlags AG der Ingenieure und Architekten (Hrsg.): Saläre Salaires 2007/2008. Saläre für
Ingenieure und Architekten. Salaires des ingénieurs et architectes.
St. Gallen: Künzler Bachmann Medien AG, 2007
ETH Career Center
Universitätstrasse 19
8092 Zurich
[email protected]
ETH Career Center
Concept, Editorial Office, Text
Based on the Application Guide “Jump into your Career” published in
June 2008 by Academic and Career Advisory Program (ACAP) ETH Zürich.
Revised by Rahel Chopathar, Martin Ghisletti, Evelyne Kappel,
Inés Constantin Kleven, 2014.
Further formats
Pdf under
Visual communication
Atelier Landolt / Pfister, Zurich
Reprozentrale ETH Zürich
Print run
600 German, 400 English
April 2014 (3nd run)
© 2012 by ETH Career Center
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF