Tips on how to find a job in Germany

There are many reasons to leave your home country and pursue a job in Germany. Germany offers excellent career opportunities. However, in order to find your dream job in Germany, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here, you can find out what is important when looking for a job, what a letter of motivation is, how the job interview works, and what requirements you have to fulfill!

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What requirements do I have to meet to get a job in Germany?

The most important requirement to be able to work in Germany is a valid residence title with a work permit. In addition, there are other aspects that you should consider in advance of your job search.

As a specialist, you must have professional qualifications that are recognized in Germany. In addition, in most professions you need good German language skills, which should at least correspond to the language level B1.

In the course of your job search, you must also prove that you are able to finance your living expenses in Germany. For this you need a so-called blocked account. This is a special account into which you must pay a legally required minimum amount when applying for a visa or residence permit. Once you receive your visa or residence permit, you can set up your monthly payouts to your regular bank account.

Finally, you need a health insurance for the period of your job search in Germany. With Fintiba you can take out health insurance, open a blocked account and use other digital solutions to support you in your efforts to find a job in Germany.

How do I find a job in Germany?

How do I find a job in Germany if I am still in my home country?

If you still live in your home country and want to start looking for jobs from there, the Internet is the right place to start. Here you will find numerous websites where job offers are advertised.

The largest platform is the job board of the Federal Employment Agency. The job board offers you countless opportunities to help you find a job. Using the filters in the search function, you can narrow down your search and display exactly those jobs that are tailored to you and your qualifications. The Federal Employment Agency also offers the Berufenet website, where you have the possibility to inform yourself about the individual occupational fields.

How do I find a job in Germany if I already live in Germany?

You are already in Germany? All the better because you have many more opportunities to find a job locally! Of course, you can also look around on the Internet now, since most job offers can be found online. On many platforms, for example LinkedIn or Xing, you have the possibility to create a profile. To do this, you use the designated area in your account to enter information about yourself, your qualifications, and your interests. This way, you can also be found by potential employers.

If you are traveling in Germany, you can also look for jobs on the street. Many stores have posters, flyers, or notices that advertise job openings.

You can also write speculative applications (Initiativbewerbung), if you would like to be more active in your search. This means that you send an application to companies of your choice without them having communicated job vacancies. In the event that a position is later available, you would have already applied as a candidate.

How does the application process work?

You have found a suitable job posting and would like to apply for the position? Then it’s time to get to the computer and write an application. This includes your CV, a cover letter, and a letter of motivation as well as personal data, a photo of yourself and all certificates, diplomas, certificates and other proof of achievements and qualifications.

Once you have completed the application, it will be sent to the company in question, where it will land on the desk of the HR department. For you this means now: wait and see. The job posting usually specifies a deadline for applications. Therefore, after this deadline has passed, you can expect to hear back. As soon as the HR department has looked through all the documents, you will either receive a rejection letter or you will be invited to an interview. Occasionally, a telephone interview may be scheduled beforehand. An assessment center is also possible at this point. This is an interview for several candidates who participate at the same time.

As a rule, job seekers are informed about the next steps during the application process. If this is not the case, you can of course ask how things will proceed and when you can expect to hear back.

How do I prepare my application documents?

How do I write a resume?

Your resume must cover certain information. It should contain your contact details, as well as your personal information (for example, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, etc.). In addition, your academic history should be included in the resume in anti-chronological form. The same applies to your professional career, which you should also list anti-chronologically. Finally, in your CV you should inform your potential employer about your special knowledge, skills, and additional qualifications as well as relevant interests during your free time.

DOs for the resume: you should pay attention to this!

  • Structure your resume clearly.
  • Make sure your wording is short and meaningful.
  • Choose an appropriate file name when saving. e.g.,last name_first name_resume.
  • Make sure that your contact details are correct.
  • Choose a professional application photo
  • Honesty is key (gaps should not be covered up).
  • Qualifications and other information should be adapted to be relevant to the employer.
  • Choose a layout that fits the industry (traditional, serious, creative, etc.).

DON’Ts for the resume: you definitely should not do this!

  • The resume is not clearly structured or logically organized.
  • Your resume has a full and unprofessional look due to too many different fonts, colors etc.
  • Irrelevant information such as elementary school details are listed.
  • There are spelling and grammatical errors.
  • You are using an inappropriate application photo (e.g., vacation photo, selfie, etc.).
  • Your resume has incorrect or missing contact information.

What is a letter of motivation? Why is it important in Germany? What must it contain?

The letter of motivation helps you to stand out from other applicants. It also gives you the opportunity to leave a lasting impression and is, more or less, the supplement to the cover letter. It contains the personal information that motivates you to want to take on this very position. Understanding the purpose of the motivation letter is very important. It is not about listing facts that are already present in the CV, but rather about their creative execution. You explain what makes you special and why you are the right person for the job.

Make sure that the text in your motivation letter does not sound too analytical. Instead, you should give the letter a personal touch and refer to your professional qualifications. Use the letter to expand on or supplement information already mentioned in the cover letter. However, make sure that the letter is not too long, because HR staff usually do not have the time to read through several pages per application.

How does a job interview work?

You can assume that you will be asked a lot of questions about your professional career, your personality, your skills, and your ambitions, which you should of course answer adequately. These are not always pleasant questions, for example, if the recruiter wants to know what your greatest weakness is. The point here is not to reveal your worst behavior, but to show that you can handle unpleasant questions with confidence. You can also assume that your counterpart will ask you why you are interested in exactly this position and why they should hire you of all people.

Do I need to know German for a job in Germany?

Definitely. It is very unlikely that you will find a job in Germany if you cannot communicate. Nowadays, an application in English is welcome in many companies. However, when it comes to onboarding and training, which is often done by people without foreign language skills, you can assume that German language skills are mandatory.

Types of employment contracts in Germany: What are the differences and what do I have to pay attention to?

There are serious differences in Germany when it comes to employment contracts. The following list lists just a few of the different types of employment contracts you may encounter in Germany:

  • Permanent employment contract
  • Fixed-term employment contract
  • Part-time employment contract
  • Project-related employment contract
  • Contract as marginal employee (450-Euro-Job)
  • Temporary employment contract
  • Freelance work
  • Internship contract

Fixed-term and permanent employment contract

Most advertised positions are initially limited in time. The simple reason for this is that the employer grants a probation period, usually lasting three to six months, to convince him-/herself of your performance. The permanent or unlimited employment contract is, as the name already suggests, unlimited. This means that no date is entered on which the employment contract expires.

Part-time employment contract

The part-time employment contract can also be temporary or permanent. However, it does not stipulate the usual 40-hour working week and usually contains a provision for 30 or 20 working hours per week. However, there are no fixed specifications here, as 6, 15 or 24.5 hours are also possible. This type of employment contract is therefore primarily aimed at people who can or want to work fewer hours, for example students, parents, or senior citizens.

Marginal employment or 450-euro job

The employment contract as a marginal employee has the special feature that you are not insured by the employer. You must therefore take care of your own health insurance. This employment relationship is also not taxed, which is why you do not have to pay any deductions. If you have earned 450 euros per month, you will also be paid 450 euros. In principle, it is also possible to take on several 450-EUR jobs.

Freelance work

As a freelancer, you act at your own discretion, as you are only paid for the work you actually do. This means that you benefit from a high degree of flexibility, as you can arrange your working hours yourself. However, you also have to take care of the necessary bookkeeping and file your tax return yourself.

Summary of the most important points:

To conclude, these are the key things to remember, when finding a job in Germany:

  • Take advantage of online portal and websites such as the Federal Employment Agency during the search
  • Have an updated and well-structured CV
  • Add a personal touch with your letter of motivation
  • Take time to prepare for job interviews
  • Be well informed on the type of employment contract you would like

We, at Fintiba, wish you all the best on this journey!

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Last update: September 1, 2023