Finding a Job in Germany

Updated on
September 20, 2022

Locating work in Germany can be difficult for non-residents of the country, particularly when that person is not from a country that belongs to the European Union. This problem can be compounded by Germany’s system of trade bodies, which may or may not recognise qualifications that have been gained within another country.

As a result, finding a position in the manufacturing or engineering industries is rare for an expatriate. In this instance, it is more sensible to target public or service sector careers, as roughly three-quarters of Germany’s working-age populace are employed within such roles.

Careers for Fluent English Speakers

Unfortunately, possessing English as a first language is no longer the instant guarantee of a job that it once was. The overall level of English proficiency, and indeed teaching, worldwide, has improved to the point where, particularly in Germany, it doesn’t individually lead to a job unless supported by experience and qualifications. Given that many German residents of school or university age now study or work abroad, general English ability is not only stronger than it has been in the past, but also a prerequisite for many jobs.

Native English speakers can bolster their chances of finding a job within Germany by picking up other languages, in addition to their mother tongue. In particular, languages such as Japanese and Chinese are in short supply among native German job seekers, though it’s worth remembering that language skills are most impressive on a resume when the desired job lies within a customer or client-facing role.

If the applicant should posses no second language skills, then work, although a little more sparse, is still readily available. Such positions might involve teaching within language schools in busy urban environments and cities, or working within the R&D or engineering industries, where strong English is essential, but foreign language skills are not. Of course, it goes without saying that the best approach would be to begin to learn German.

Educational Qualifications

As touched on earlier, there is a lot of red tape prohibiting the transfer of qualifications gained within other countries. Though somebody may possess a working visa, this doesn’t necessarily mean that skills within a particular professional will be easily transferable, and securing the equivalent German qualifications can be expensive, tricky and a drawn-out experience.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to accept transferable qualifications and experience will come down to the hiring company or regulatory body of the desired industry in question. Unfortunately, this obstacle extends to a great many fields of work, including education roles, healthcare professionals, and even personal stylists and beauty therapists. More specific information is widely available online.

Searching for Jobs in Germany

The process of searching for a job will largely depend on the type of industry and role being sought by the applicant. Much like in other countries, Job Centres are run by government agencies, which provide a wide variety of job listings to browse. These agencies can not only help applicants find a suitable job, but also assist with applications for unemployment welfare and additional training.

Aside from this central agency, there are also a number of privatised companies offering their own recruitment services across different regions of the country. Some of these specialise in positions of a specific industry or seniority, though on the whole, there are many that would prove useful in helping applicants to filter out jobs for which they would be ineligible, whether that be due to a mismatch in skills or transferable qualifications, or a language barrier.

Outside of formal agencies, there are routinely classified job advertisements placed in national newspapers, with Saturday and Sunday being common days on which the positions are updated. Typically, the more junior roles are posted within local newspapers, making them a good match for job seekers looking for roles within a specific region or city. There are, of course, other options, such as career fairs and trade fairs. Applicants may even want to consider approaching companies directly, whether that be through their various online channels, or via direct contact information found on the company websites.

Locating Jobs Online

Thanks to the benefits of the internet, it’s very easy to find a wide number of positions online, through the use of search engines. Not only is this quick and convenient, but it allows applicants to diversify their job search across a wider region of Germany, though applicants should bear in mind that there may be less detailed information available than they’re used to, when compared to job seeking within their native country. In these situations, it’s considered good practice to get in touch with the hiring company for further information.

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