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It’s safe to say many people in the world at any given point in time are looking for jobs in Germany. If you’re a regular follower of this blog, chances are high that you may have some vested interest in moving to Germany at some point, either for an internship, university degree or a job!
Like anything else in life, there is no one strategy fits all here.
Looking for jobs in Germany is just as hard or as easy as it would be for any other country. But having done this for the better half of the year I feel equipped to help you avoid the mistakes that I made and also to understand the job market a little bit better.
First things first. Applying for a job in Germany from abroad, the chances of you getting successfully hired are quite LOW. You may want to read here why looking for jobs abroad is different and where are the best platforms to find jobs.
Given that you are located in Germany or at the very least in Europe and are looking for jobs, here are my top tips to find jobs in Germany-
#1 Make sure that you fit at least 70 to 80% of the necessary qualifications.
When looking for jobs in Germany as a foreigner you don’t want to be wasting your time looking for jobs where you don’t even fit the majority of the criteria as required by the hiring manager.
Startups in Berlin may be flexible in terms of their role description and call you for an interview, nevertheless, this would be extremely rare in the majority of German companies.
There is a reason that the hiring manager has made a detailed job description and you’d be surprised to know how inflexible managers can be in terms of hiring qualified applicants.
This is not to say that you won’t able to do that job well, it’s just that Germans like to see previous indicators of success in a similar role or at least current qualifications that would indicate that you could perform that role well.
Don’t apply for roles where you cannot tick of 70-80% of the job’s requirements. It’s just not worth the time.
#2 Tailor your CV for the job that you apply for.
I did this mistake at the beginning of my job search. I would highly advise you not to follow the same steps as I did because that led to more rejections than I could ever count.
Once you have the job description in front of you and you have identified how well you fit the job, now it’s time to edit your cover letter and your resume to reflect your best strengths suited particularly for this job.
You need to keep in mind here that the first person who sees your application is going to be from the HR who has a rigid framework for hiring this particular role. You want to make sure that you fit this rigid criterion as narrowly as you can.
If there’s one thing that Germans don’t like its ambiguity, so the less your application reflects ambiguity the more likely you are to get a callback.
For example, if the job requires you to create executive presentations and you have done that any point in your professional life, make sure to match the words from the job description to the relevant bullet point in your resume.
PRO TIP- Make functional resumes so if you’re applying for 2-3 different types of roles at any point, make base resumes for the same and then tweak them as you go.
#3 Mention why you’re suited for this position explicitly in your cover letter.
I know that cover letters are hard to write and what’s even harder is to differentiate it from your resume.
With that said, it’s still something that very much needs to be done. The smaller the company you apply for, the more likely they will consider your cover letter and what you bring to the table.
It’s important to mention exactly how you are a good match, based on previous experiences and highlight what you know about the industry, the company, and the job.
The cover letter is also an excellent place to enlist your soft skills that may not come across in a resume which tends to be more functional in nature.
#4 Talk about your language strengths.
Before living in Europe, I thought it was such a perk to be bilingual and understand tons of other languages. But simply understanding and knowing is not enough.
You need to FLAUNT your language skills, and the more related they are to the company’s work, the more likely you are to get short-listed.
Global companies with clients all over the world, especially love hiring people that can tick off more than just one or two languages on their resume.
#5 Write your application in German if you’re at a level of at least B2.
The best way to highlight how you are suited for jobs in Germany, is by writing your entire application in German. Enroll the help of a native friend or get it done from a professional resume writing service.
But this step can be a determining factor on whether or not you get hired. Even though jobs in Germany in English do exist, getting one of them by solely applying in English doesn’t always help.
The national and official language of Germany is German and NOT English. Even though the hiring manager may be fluent in English, they may still PREFER to conduct the interviews in German.
It’s the same as when I think of myself and that even though I am fluent in Hindi, due to the recurring nature of using English at work and university, I definitely prefer speaking in English in my default setting. The same applies for the German working environment and culure.
It will do you well to factor that in when you submit your job application.
IMPORTANT NOTE- If you do submit your entire application in German, be prepared to interview in German as well. If your speaking skills are anything less than B1, I would not recommend doing this as it would make your whole application seem like a lie. Unless you’re explicitly aware that the interview would be conducted in English.
This part is tricky, I know. But it’s probably the MOST important way you can stand out as a foreigner looking for jobs in Germany.
If there’s any other trick you’d like to mention, drop a comment!
Top Platforms For Jobs in Germany
- Linkedin Jobs- The largest or let’s say most commonly known global platform. It doesn’t disappoint for sure but also read where specialist job platforms can help you differentiate yourself.
- Xing Jobs– I found this platform by accident, but it’s the LinkedIn of Germany. At the very least make sure to have a profile here, especially if you’re fluent in German and can apply in German. They have English roles too but I’d say for Germany that’s a minority.
- Angel.Co- Hands-down, the best platform when searching for early to mid-stage startups. What I love about this platform is that you usually get to know the salary range upfront, so you don’t end up asking for something ridiculous. You can also send a message (like a small Cover Letter) to the recruiter, which gets through much faster than traditional ERP hiring systems.
- Jobbatical– One of my favourite platforms, especially if you’re looking for a short-term placement abroad with full relocation assistance. The companies here tend to be fully aware of relocation expenses, bureaucracy and if you get in promise to help cover the costs. What more can you want?
- Indeed Jobs– Another large but necessary platform. Indeed is like the Naukri of India. A lot of stuff to filter out, but if you want the latest and fastest way to stay updated this is the all round best platform. I would however, strongly advise not to apply from the Indeed platform and go to the company’s website to apply directly. I must have sent 5-10 applications, but I had no response or confirmation or even follow-up on those jobs making me unsure if those applications even reached the recruiter in time.
Top Resources For Job Applications
- Grammarly– Nothing is more disappointing than coming across job applications that are not proofread and free of grammar mistakes. Use this free tool to make sure all your applications are perfect!
- Resume Writers– Custom resumes should be a necessary requirement. One resume fits all may have worked when you were an undergraduate student, it will not work anymore. Get the professional help you need.
- BABBEL– If you want a proper tailored course online, this is the best place to go. I myself have been guilty of skipping german classes just because I learn a lot of stuff online, and with Babbel, you can do the same!
Handpicked Content To Help You Win At Your Career in Germany
- Job Interview Tips – How to Nail Every Interview You Walk Into
- Where To Look For Jobs Abroad And Why You Need To Expand Your Search
- How to Get An Internship in Germany?
- How I went from Zero to Talking German in 1 year
- Moving To Germany – Was It Worth It? Reflecting On Two Years Abroad
Shruti’s a digital marketer by day and ninja travel blogger by night. Two years ago, she left her post-MBA life in India to chase some new adventures and now calls Germany home. On this website she shares her tips on how to travel smarter, cheaper and longer. When she’s not working or blogging, she is out exploring new places, mastering yoga challenges or sipping masala chai while scrolling through Instagram.