Finding a job is by itself a very challenging task but finding a job in Germany as a foreigner can make it even harder. Not necessarily – some of you might say, I think it all depends on where you come from and where you would like to work.
There are usually two groups of foreigners looking for jobs in Germany: EU citizens and non EU citizens.
For the first group, it’s relatively simple. I came from a country that belongs to European Union. Therefore, it wasn’t too complicated to find a job in Germany. First of all, citizens of EU-members enjoy free movement and trade throughout EU countries. We are free to live and work in any EU state (including countries from the European Economic Area and Switzerland).
As mentioned before, I am also one of those who came to Germany in the hope of a better life. And here are a few tips from my experience which make it easier for you to find a job in Germany.
Let’s start with the basics: CV and Cover Letter.
- You should keep your CV clean and simple as you would in general when you apply for a job. My extra piece of advice would be to put down your German address, letting people know you live in Germany now and that you are here to stay. Also, it makes sense for you to have a German phone number, just a simple pre-paid card is enough. I made this mistake of not getting one before. And I spent a lot of effort to explain that calling my foreign number doesn’t cost extra.
- The cover letter should be short and on the subject by pointing out why you are the right person for the job. However, my advice is not to go too much into details, especially on the reason of moving here. You will have time to tell your story at the interview so focus on your qualifications and skills, which help you attract recruiters’ or HR managers’ eyeballs. Let’s not forget about the so called “Zeugnisse”. I must say that they are significant in Germany. Therefore, Be prepared and ask for recommendation letters from your former employers. Of course, it would be very helpful if they are translated into German.
Social Media, LinkedIn and most importantly Xing are your best friends.
- If you don’t live under a rock, you know how important social media is. People are using it every now and then so why not taking advantage of it? Be visible and let the world know you are open for new job opportunities. Try to use as many channels as possible.
- Hence, if you just moved to Germany, a smart move would be a XING profile. XING is the German equivalent of LinkedIn. And trust me, XING profile helps you reach more German recruiters, headhunters and HR managers. (More about XING: 5 Gründe, warum es sich definitiv lohnt, ein XING-Profil zu haben)
Beside the points mentioned above, being prepared in real life is also essential. Let everybody know you are looking for a job in Germany. You never know who may have the connections you need.
Patience, patience and patience.
- Just remember, you are a foreigner trying to find a job in Germany. Be persistent and patient. If you would have to apply for five jobs to score an interview in your homeland, as a foreigner you may have to double that number.
- My strategy was to use a search engine and try to identify as many jobs in my field as possible: job portals, companies that has openings etc. I searched and searched until I applied for at least 5 jobs a day. Try it and you will be surprised by the result.
Be prepared for those W-questions
- Why did you move here? Why here and not somewhere else? Although, these questions seem irrelevant to your qualifications, they can come up in an interview. Be prepared to answer them truthfully, but keep it professional.
- Also, very important: salary! Try to find out the salary range for your job in Germany and for somebody with your experience level. So that you can ask for a fair salary package. There are several useful websites to check the average salary for a certain job in Germany: Gehalt.de and Glassdoor.
- As a final point, I must add: German. If you want to move here and find a decent job in Germany, German language is crucial. Of course, it depends on your profession. German language is not necessary in some career paths. However, it will make your life easier and certainly increase your chances of finding a job in Germany.
Non-EU citizens have also several options for living and working in the EU. All tips above apply to them as well but in addition they need a visa or working permit, which certainly makes things more complicated. But don’t worry! In our next article, we will talk about how non EU citizens can find a job in Germany.