Work in Germany: Finding a job in Germany
If you're hunting for a job in Germany, here's a guide on where to look for jobs, plus information on the current job market, job requirements and German work permits.
Here’s what you need to get started on your search for a job in Germany: information and advice on what jobs are available in Germany and where to look to find them.
Work in Germany
The job market in Germany
Available jobs in Germany
German work environment and management culture
German work visas and residence permits
Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the US can come to Germany without a visa and apply for a residence and work permit from their local Alien’s Authority.
Everyone else will need to get a visa and residence permit in order to work in Germany. Whether or not you are able to get a residence permit in order to work in Germany will depend on your qualifications and the sector you want to work in. It may be hard to get a residence permit for work, but it is not worth being tempted to work in Germany illegally.
For more information on German work permits and immigration, see our guide to working in Germany.
You’ll need to be able to speak at least some German to get a job (even if you want to teach English), and it’s unlikely that you would get a professional level job without good language skills.
Qualifications and references
There are around 60 regulated professions in Germany, including teachers, doctors and opticians. If yours is one of them, you’ll need to get your qualification recognised by the relevant German authority or professional association before you can work. Check out your occupation on Recognition in Germany and find out how to get it recognised. Contact the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) to get a foreign University degree verified. Countries signed up to the Bologna Process will have their qualifications recognised in Germany.
- Craigslist – casual and out of the ordinary jobs
- Job pilot
- The Local
- Academics – academic and research jobs
- Jobware – management and specialist
- Staufenbiel – internships and graduate jobs
- Stepstone – includes internships and graduate positions
- Toplanguage jobs– English (and other language) speaking jobs
Look in the German Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten) under Arbeitsvermittlung for agencies. They’ll be reputable if they are members of the Federal Employer’s Association of Personnel Service Providers or Bundesarbeitgeberverband der Personaldienstleister (BAP). Before you sign on, check whether a company which will look for a job on your behalf will charge you a fee for doing so – some may ask for a hefty fee of up to EUR 2,000.
There are lots of opportunities for native English speakers to teach English in Germany: school children, older students in language schools, private tutoring, as well as teaching professional English to staff of international companies. You’ll need to have a degree and experience as well as a TEFL qualification. Look for TEFL jobs here and here.
For highly qualified or academic jobs at national levels, buy copies of the Saturday editions of national newspapers or look online: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Suddeutsche Zeiting (Munich and the south), Die Welt, Handelsblatt (Düsseldorf), Frankfurter Rundshau, BerlinOnline and Berliner Zeitung.
Look on company websites for vacancies; some international companies will advertise in both English and German. Vacancies are usually listed under Stellenangebote, Karriere or Vakanzen. Top German companies include Adidas, Aldi, BASF, Bayer, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, Lidl, Merck, SAP, Siemens and Volkswagen. But don’t forget the plethora of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that are an important part of the German economy, so check out those in your field.
Embassies and consulates
Look out for vacancies at your home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany. Whatever the job you are sure to need a high standard of spoken and written German.
For many Germans, networking is something done between friends or close colleagues, so while you can try making contacts (and therefore a job) through professional organisations and conferences don’t bank on it. LinkedIn’s Germany Business and Professional Network has job adverts. Don’t forget Expatica’s own Forums page, or link up with like-minded expats through Meetup groups or form your own. You never know who you might meet and where it might lead.
Make the first move
It’s totally acceptable to approach German companies with speculative applications but make sure that you do your homework thoroughly and ensure your qualifications and experience are exactly what the company is looking for.
Traineeships, interships and volunteering in Germany
Find traineeships in the EU for university graduates via the European Commission Traineeships Office (Bureau de Stages), or look for internships and summer placements at AIESEC (for students and recent graduates) or IAESTE (for students in science, engineering and applied arts). Europlacement and Intern Abroad also advertise internships.
You can also work abroad as a volunteer typically in exchange for board, food, insurance and a small allowance; for those aged between 17 and 30, find volunteer programs up to 12 months at European Voluntary Service (EVS). Concordia is another organisastion for volunteer opportunities.
Applying for a job in Germany
Once you’ve found a job in Germany to apply for, you will need to prepare your application according to German expectations. In Germany, this often means putting together an application file containing your CV, copies of your educational certificates and employer testimonials and even samples of your work, if appropriate. You’ll also need to write a cover letter to go with your application file. Plus, if you get through to the interview stage, you’ll need to know what to expect in a German job interview, and what to do – and not to do – during the interview.
For information on how to apply for a job in Germany, our guide details how to create a German-style CV and tips for job interviews in Germany.
For more information:
Find a job in Germany using Expatica's job search.
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Updated from 2012.
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