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As in most European countries, if you want to work in Germany, your search will likely begin online. However, it’s essential to adjust to your sector’s needs and consider taking your job search strategy offline as well. Job hunting is work itself and needs to be taken consistently. It is, as a matter of fact, a preparation for future working. Understanding the main pathways and skills needed for your dream job is crucial to successfully enter the German labour market.

Do online research

Research general job portals such as Indeed.de, or Monster identify portals that specialise in your sector, for example, engineering portals (like Ingenieur-jobs), the medical field or IT sector. Also, consult job portals of German universities near your target location or within your area of expertise. 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. However, it can be very useful, especially as it allows you to let recruiters know that you are interested in job offers in Germany. If you apply for a job from your country, you can count on having a phone or a Skype call by the recruiters. The interview processes last few weeks, and for some cases, larger companies might even provide you with a flight ticket for a personal interview.

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. The advertisements may be in German and posted by the names Stelleangebote, Karriere or Jobs. Note that one of the most important steps is to adjust your curriculum to the German format. This means including a professional photograph, nationality and age (which is not required in many other countries).

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. Make sure that you also include a recommendation from your previous jobs, which might additionally bring attention to your application.

Networking in Germany

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, copies of qualification, and further education certificates. If you can prepare this documentation in German, you are going to have a better chance of getting noticed.

Other than visiting fairs, communicating with professionals from your field might be a good way to find a job opportunity. You can ask your colleagues to recommend some people in Germany in need of a job. If you have worked (or still work) for a large multinational company already in your country, you can check for opportunities in Germany. This might not only put you in advantage for your expertise but help you out with the visa process, as it offers the opportunity for an Intra-Corporate Transfer.

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) to consult job listings and benefit from employment counsellors’ advice. Additionally, you can contact the local ZAV (Central foreign and specialist placement), which alongside with the Arbeitsamt take part of the larger network EURES (where you can also do your research). You can also consider contacting temporary work agencies (Zeitarbeitsfirma) such as Manpower or staffing agencies like Adecco or Michael Page.

Your resume

Adapt your application to comply with the local requirements. In most cases, it’s sufficient to send a German CV (often English is also acceptable) 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 include 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 relevant to the specific job opening. The cover letter should be concise and include specific details for that particular position.
  • 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 license (not always the case), and;
  • cover sheet for your application folder.

 Good to know:

Consider talking with friends and relatives about your job search, as they are also part of your networking, and can surprisingly know about some opportunities.

 Important:

Get informed whether you need a visa to work in Germany. Many of the recruiters might not be aware of the documentation needed, so it is useful to discuss with them beforehand.

 Useful links: 

Arbeitsamt - German Employment  Agency
Monster - Germany 
Scout
Athenajob
Adecco Germany 
Manpower Germany
Xing
LinkedIn
Indeed
Karriere Bibel

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