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Employer Portrait: Federal Administration

As one of the largest public administrative bodies in Switzerland, the federal administration maintains intergovernmental relationships, creates good general conditions for society and the economy, provides infrastructure and ensures the security of the state and its citizens. The various functions range from A to Z.

Information on the employer

Public service
Bern and other locations in Switzerland
Number of staff
New hires/year
1,500 and 400/500 internships
Required specializations
Desired degrees
from the start of a degree program, after a bachelor’s degree, after a master’s degree

Direct employment:
master’s degree, PhD

Special information

The federal administration promotes equal opportunity between men and women and language groups. Applicants from all parts of the country have the same opportunities.

... and how are things for the staff?

Job description

I work for a small branch of Political Department 3 (UN) at the FDFA. The department is responsible for elections and nominations for international organizations. We manage affairs for the Swiss candidates (such as Joseph Deiss as president of the UN General Assembly or the Human Rights Council), plan the various election campaigns and coordinate lobbying efforts.

What I particularly like about my job

What I like about my job is the daily contact with the wide range of international organizations and potential candidates as well as the “tangible” aspects of this kind of work: because it deals with elections and nominations, you’re constantly faced with the concrete results (election outcomes) of your actual work and know exactly whether you did a good job or not.

My career path

I studied history and German philology at the University of Basel and finished with a licentiate degree in 2009. I started off as a university intern at the FDFA and was offered a permanent position after half a year.

My goals and perspectives

My current position never ceases to intrigue me, and there are still many projects and ideas I want to realize in the coming years. But whether or not I will stay at the FDFA in the long term remains to be seen – the professional perspectives for employees who are not pursuing diplomatic careers aren’t especially promising. I can definitely picture working for the UN abroad at some point in the future.

My tips for starting a career

The best way to get your foot in the door at the FDFA is a university internship. These internships offer recent university graduates a glimpse into the activities of the department over the course of three to twelve months. They can either work abroad or at the head office in Bern.

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