As in most European countries, if you want to work in Germany, your search will likely begin with a bit of online research. However, it’s important to adjust to your sector’s needs and consider taking your job search strategy offline. Here are five steps to help you find a job in Germany.
Do online research
Research general job portals such as Indeed or Monster and identify portals that specialize in your sector, for example in the medical field or IT sector. Also, consult job portals of German universities nearby your target location or within your area of expertise.
Send unsolicited applications
It is quite common to send an Initiativbewerbung (unsolicited application). Don’t forget to check for job openings on the corporate website of your target company before preparing your CV and cover letter.
In some cases, for example in hospitality and retail, it is quite common to ask for availabilities in person and to leave your CV with the shop manager, secretary or at reception.
Networking in Germany
Germany has its own professional online network and most German companies are active on XING. LinkedIn only recently gained popularity and is still developing in the German-speaking world. Check out both!
Moreover, there are about 200 job fairs every year in Germany. Find out at which job fairs or professional events your target companies will be present and ask for an appointment in advance to meet them. In Germany, it is common to prepare a Bewerbungsmappe, a folder containing your CV, cover letter, professional photo, copies of qualification and further education certificates, examples of your work, etc.
Needless to say, you should also use your personal network and let people know that you are looking for a job.
Traditional or specialised press
Consult local papers and leading professional magazines in your sector online and even offline. Nearly every area of expertise has at least one Fachmagazin, which also tend to publish related job openings.
German local agencies
As a German resident you can register as a job seeker with the local employment agency (Arbeitsamt) in order to consult job listings and benefit from employment counsellors’ advice. You can also consider contacting temporary work agencies (Zeitarbeitsfirma) such as Manpower or staffing agencies like Adecco or Michael Page.
Adapt your application to comply with the local requirements. In most cases, it’s sufficient to send a German CV and cover letter for the first selection process. However, some companies may still prefer a Bewerbungsmappe (application folder), containing:
- a German CV (Lebenslauf) which should not exceed two pages and must contain several important sections (such as:
- personal information, including name, date of birth, place of birth, address and contact details, marital status, nationality;
- professional experience listing all relevant positions;
- education and professional qualifications;
- miscellaneous knowledge and trainings, such as language and IT skills
- personal interests and hobbies);
- your cover letter, which should complement your CV, highlighting your personal; professional experience and achievements as relevent to the specific job opening;
- copies of your university degree, diplomas or proof of further education;
- any employment certificates and proof of apprenticeships you may have completed
- a copy of your driver’s licence (not always the case), and;
- a cover sheet for your application folder.
Good to know:
References from former employers are not common in Germany, but can be useful. German employers are more used to employment certificates.
You need to attach a formal photo to your CV – most Germans get them done by professional photographers.
Arbeitsamt - German Employment Agency www.arbeitsagentur.de
Monster - Germany www.monster.de
Adecco Germany www.adecco.de
Manpower Germany www.manpower.de
Karriere Bibel http://karrierebibel.de