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Find your first job in Germany

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Recently graduated, how to favor your employability in Germany? This article drops the veil on what you need to know to start your career in the country.

A favorable economic situation

Germany is a promising place for young expatriates. It has the largest national economy in Europe, and is ranked fourth on the global scale. Not only Germany's unemployment rate, up to about 4,7%, is the lowest of the 28 EU member countries but Germany also has the lowest youth unemployment rate of all EU member states with 7.1%. The country has one of the highest labor productivity and a highly skilled labor force. Furthermore, the level of standards of living is high. Many factors will make you enjoy working in Germany which has regained its competitiveness and its attractiveness for a dozen of years now and embodies the second immigrant's favorite destination in the world today.

The most promising fields of activity

German companies recruit more and more foreign workers because of the population decline and the lack of labor force. The first recruiting field is the tertiary sector. The most promising fields are numerous and offer many jobs in education, sciences, research and development as well as in health sector. The motor industry, agriculture and export make part of the flourishing working sectors in Germany. High technologies also contribute to foreign workers employment, especially concerning energy and environmental issues.

SMEs recruit more foreigners than the big companies as small and medium-sized enterprises are the driving forces of the German industry.

The most promising profiles

You will have more opportunities to find a job in trade if you come from one of Germany's main economic partners i.e. France, the United-States, Italy and the United-Kingdom.

If you are graduated from a Business School, you are advised to participate in the V.I.E International Internship Programme, especially if you would like to work in the commercial sector.

Web developers and engineers are greatly prized profiles in German companies.

If you are an apprentice or a bachelor, don't worry. To the German recruiters, you do not worth less than former students who hold a Master's degree. In Germany, holding a Bachelor's degree is often sufficient.  The wage gap between Bachelors and Master's degree holders only accounts for 10%.
Nonetheless, remember that the higher your level of qualifications is, the more you will draw the attention of German recruiters.

Holding a double degree could be another asset once arrived on the German labor market. This post-bachelor degree affords you to simultaneously earn degrees from two different universities of two different countries. The double degree course thus confirms your good command of two different languages. German language prevails over English in the German Business world, so you would be well advised to speak German if you want to compete with the local applicants. In adddition, health sector is the most demanding concerning language requirements.

Some organizations offer the possibility to improve your German once arrived in the country, such as the Goethe-Institute which provides German courses to immigrants.

 Important:

Meeting locals and talking with them is important to improve your German. By asking for information or by sharing your experience you will start to create your own network composed of people who will be likely to help you find the perfect job.

Do not hesitate to get acquainted with the expats already settled in Germany thanks to our Germany Forum.

Application

Surfing on the Internet, replying to job ads and sending unsolicited applications remain to be the best ways to apply for a first job in Germany. Don't forget to write your CV in German, add a photo and stick to a two-page format. Then attach your cover letter.

You can also contact employment agencies that provide a useful help.

Wages

In Germany, minimum wages can differ from one and another depending on the job's nature, the type of contract, the size of the company, the area in which the company is set and the field of activity. The level of qualification and experience also contributes to the amount of wages.

Working time on a weekly basis could reach until 41,2 hours on average.

 Good to know:

Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich are the fourth German cities where wages are the highest.

Recently graduated workers' average salaries usually account for 42,379 euros during the first year of working life.

The fields of activity in which you will find the highest wages mainly come from the industry branch. Engineering (with almost 47,877 euros for the annual average salary and can amount to 58,180 euros), medicine (47,005 euros), mathematics and the IT sector (46,351 euros) offer the most promising jobs to young graduates.
You can also expect to earn a high salary if you are planning to work in retailing or in a consulting firm.

 Good to know:

Once you have been hired, you can negotiate the amount of your salary with your employer. But you are advised to do it only after having carefully analyzed your role and situation in the company.

  Useful links:

Expat.com - Job offers in Germany
Jobborse - Job offers in Germany jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de
Make it in Germany - Job offers in Germany www.make-it-in-germany.com
Toytowngermany - Job offers in Germany www.toytowngermany.com
Jobpilot - Job offers in Germany www.jobpilot.de
Monster - Job offers in Germany www.monster.de
IAB - Institut für arbeitsmarkt- und berufsforschung - The Research Institute of the Federal Employment Agency www.iab.de

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See also

V.I.E, the International Internship Program in Germany: the most promising fields, conditions and procedures.
Summer jobs, seasonal jobs, part-time jobs and how to proceed are the main themes you are going to find in this article.
Foreign nationals, except European Union citizens, have to obtain a specific visa or permit to be authorized to set up a business in Germany.
Skilled foreigners wishing to settle in Stuttgart, one of Germany's major cities, are quite likely to be recruited by many large firms.

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