Starting work

Advice from recruiting consultants and employment specialists:

According to these HR professionals, it is difficult to get a job with just a secondary school-leaving certificate; but it is possible.

Intermediary university degrees as such currently have no value on the employment market. They only serve to certify the knowledge acquired.

If you do decide to get a job, there are several issues to be considered:

Assess your situation

What have you gained by studying at EPFL? What are your new objectives? What means are you prepared to use to get there?

These questions must be answered, either on your own, using the tools on this site (self-assessment), or with the support of a career advisor.

Think vocational training

As your school-leaving certificate does not prepare you for work, learning a trade – even quickly – could well be an option.

Remain open to fast apprenticeships, in-company training or evening classes. 


Do not send job applications immediately to everyone. Take time to think about the various sectors of interest to you or even discover different fields. Target the companies which appeal to you and offer career prospects. You may get in through the back door, but think of your future career within the company if you have potential. Target your covering letters by putting together a file specific to each job opening.

Put yourself forward

Do not demean yourself (“I only have a maturité”, “I only studied for two years at EPFL”). On the contrary, using the form “Making the most of your experience“, think of everything you have learned in life (association activities, summer jobs, internships, event organisation, etc.) and at EPFL (workshops, specific knowledge, working methods…). Even if you take these skills for granted, put them forward, as well as your youth and eagerness to work! These assets could single you out from other candidates.

During a job interview, the recruiting person will probably ask about your failure, but only to understand the underlying personal reasons. So make sure you think ahead! What employers are interested in is your global progress and not a single failure.