topics
tools
Expatica countries
editor's choice

Checklist for moving to Germany

German immigration and residency regulations

Learning German: Passing the critical stage

Public holidays in Germany for 2012

O’zapft is! German Festivals in 2012

Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home Employment Employment Information Finding a job in Germany
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size


18/06/2012Finding a job in Germany

Finding a job in Germany Is your CV adapted to the German job market? Find out how to search and apply for a job in Germany, and understand your employment rights under labour law and your work contract.

Finding a job in a foreign country is more difficult than just knowing what field you want to go into – it is also crucial to familiarise yourself with the labour culture and laws of your new home. Below is Expatica’s in depth guide to job searching in Germany. Whether you have questions about how to prepare your CV or how employment contracts work, Expatica is here to help.

How to get a residence and work permit

EU citizens do not need a permit to work in Germany, provided they have a valid passport or national identity card and comply with German employment laws and regulations. For non-European citizens, whether a work permit  is issued depends on the type of resident permit you hold. The residence permit depends on the type of intended employment. There are different kinds of employment: non-qualified, qualified, highly qualified, and self-employment.

Given the difficulty of getting a work permit, many people consider working illegally. However, finding illegal work in Germany is difficult and not recommended. Illegal workers are under constant threat of deportation and are often exploited by employers. An employer cannot even be forced to pay for work done by someone who is working illegally.


Job search in Germany: Finding work in GermanyFinding Work

Whenever you apply for a full-time position, employers will expect a thick package that documents your entire educational and professional career and is based on your CV or resume, known as a lebenslauf. Like any CV, the lebenslauf should include a listing of all your previous positions and responsibilities, in reverse chronological order, as well as any degrees and outside activities and your final grades. However, Germans also expect you to include your marital status, sex, birth date, number of children and a recent photo.

Alongside the CV, applications should include written recommendations from all previous employers and copies of any degrees or awards. Employers want to know everything about you and omitting any of the above could keep you out of an applicant pool, especially if the other job-seekers are predominantly German.

When applying for positions with a broader international scope, hiring managers are forgiving as long as they can paint a fairly complete picture of you and your past. Since it’s unlikely you can cobble together a complete application package, find everything you can, make copies and send it over – put only the details you feel comfortable divulging on your CV. Once they’ve found the right candidate, employers will send the package back to you. If you decide to go through a recruitment agency, they’ll be able to help you figure out which documents are vital and which are unnecessary. They will also be able to say what your expected salary will be and discuss in detail any additional benefits.

The Internet is a good place to look for jobs, for instance, at sites such as jobs.expatica.com/de, www.stepstone.dewww.jobpilot.de, www.monster.de, www.toytowngermany.com or www.craigslist.org. The pages of companies that have caught your eye can also prove useful. The Guardian’s job site (www.jobs.guardian.co.uk) often has English-language jobs in Germany. Conferences and professional associations can sometimes yield results but Germans generally treat networking among anyone but their friends and immediate colleagues as insincere.

If you are looking for a highly qualified or academic job at a national level, you should consult the Saturday edition of national papers such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Suddeutsche Zeiting, Die Weld, Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Rundshau. Job adverts are also available online under www.berlin-online.de and www.berliner-zeitung.de. Finally, take a look at www.ex-berliner.com, the website of the local expat magazine. And don't forget to check your embassy's website for any offerings.

EURES

The EURES network is a partnership between the employment services in the EEA to support the free movement of workers. It facilitates the circulation of vacancies and enables online access to up-to-date information on living and working conditions in each EEA member state. EURES staff specialise in the practical issues surrounding employment in member states. They assist people who wish to work abroad and help employers find suitable employees from other EEA countries. They can be contacted via the Arbeitsamt, of which 50 centres are linked to the EURES network. For more information, go to www.europa.eu.int/eures .

Finding a job in Germany: Working in Germany

Finding work before moving to Germany

Getting a job before you arrive is the easiest way to smooth the rocky transition to a foreign country. Employers may provide or pay for accommodation in your first few weeks, further easing the change and colleagues provide instant friends for lonely expats. Gaining a job without an in-person interview is not uncommon and human resources departments in larger companies are familiar with and equipped to interview candidates living elsewhere. The best resources are the websites listed above, as well as any friends or relatives that might have experience in Germany.

Because you’re applying from abroad, your qualifications are even more vital and submitting a sub-par application is a waste of everyone’s time, as email applications are easier to toss. Take the time to provide all the documentation you can and outline the reasons you would be perfect for the job – and worth the hassle of hiring a foreigner.

Recruitment Agencies

German companies have spent a lot of time and money in recent years reducing their staffs and handing less key jobs to outsiders. This is often true in hiring.

Anyone not at the top echelon of the workforce is unlikely to find a job through a recruitment agency. German companies are notoriously frugal and don’t want to spend on external agencies when the country has a well-established system of advertising and applying for jobs. But headhunters are popular for executives or any high-level position that might report directly to the board.

Still, there are many recruitment agencies for computer-related, executive and scientific jobs. Providing temporary workers is supposedly one of the fastest-growing industries. If you find a recruitment company offering the kinds of jobs you’re qualified for, they can also help you with the transition and paperwork and let you know what your services are worth on the German market.

Employment Contracts

The basis of Germany’s heavily regulated labour market is the contract, which is mandatory for any company offering a job.

Under certain conditions, you may be offered a temporary contract (befristete Arbeitsvertrag) for one or several years. Both your employer and you can choose not to renew a limited contract and it can only be renewed once. After that, it must be converted to an unbefristete Arbeitsvertag, an unlimited contract.

Either contract will outline your basic responsibilities, pay, benefits and working hours. Since much of German working life is regulated, most contracts are similar and employers are not allowed to hide any illegal clauses. The key details are your salary, benefits and vacation days.

The contract can usually be terminated within two weeks during your probationary period but will require at least 28 days notice afterwards. Because of quirks in German law that require notice on the 14th or the last day of any month, the 28 days are likely to be longer than 28 actual days. However, you may negotiate the notice period as part of your contract. Most German companies require three months’ notice – executives often have to give six months to a year.

Finding a job in Germany: Working in Germany

Labour law

Perhaps one of the biggest German urban myths is that once you’ve been granted an unlimited employment contract, it’s almost impossible to be fired or laid off. This simply isn’t true. There is no set process for being fired but if employers have a real reason (known in German as wichtigem Grund) for wanting to get rid of you – embezzlement, incompetence or insubordination for example – they can. The law also permits lay-offs in order to keep companies on the brink afloat.

On the other hand, large German corporations will have a works council made up of employees that must approve all new recruitment, layoffs and firings.

They will be your first recourse in any dispute with your employer. Should you find yourself without a job, Germany has a special labour court to settle disputes. However, don’t expect any massive cash settlements. If you win a case, the court will award you back-pay and force your former employer to give you your job back.

The best place to get assistance navigating Germany’s dense labour laws would be any professional association related to your job, if you have one. If not, the German labour office, the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (01801 555 111) could help. However, it’s staffed by bureaucrats who will shuffle you around for days if not weeks.

In reality, without the help of a professional organisation or union, the best place to go for advice is a lawyer. German labour regulations have been tested by years of actual cases and labour lawyers are up to date on all the latest dos and don’ts. The fee may be painful at first, but is really an investment in your future.

There is also The Legal Guide to Germany, which can be found at www.lg2g.info/. The website is billed as “Expats’ Concise Guide to Officialdom in Germany.” The project attempts to help expats either living or coming to Germany to get a reliable orientation of their everyday legal rights and responsibilities in Germany. The portal offers a platform for legal content, newsletters on topics of everyday concern to foreigners in Germany and eLiterature for professional needs.

Push your international career forward: Kellogg-WHU’s Executive MBA.

 


Finding a job in Germany: Working in GermanyReprinted with permission of Explorer Publishing from the Berlin Complete Residents' Guides.

Updated for 2011 by  Petya Vetseva / Expatica

 

 




14 reactions to this article

shivaram posted: 2012-02-29 21:05:25

nice article..... given required information for national visa....
would like to know more about EURES and their role.....

melissa posted: 2012-09-18 00:22:57

Your article is by far the most informative and helpful that I have read on the internet so far. I have been searching articles and websites for weeks and just now ran across your website. It has a lot of useful information and gives me a great insight into what I would need to do to move to Germany. Thank you so very much for taking the time to make such a wonderful article!

Billa posted: 2012-09-21 15:15:08

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

narendrak posted: 2012-12-02 11:36:11

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

rick posted: 2013-02-01 12:06:58

i noticed that there was no mention about pay for foreigners in Germany, allow me to clarify. if you are new to germany expect to be taken advantage of, these companies will use you and then throw you out like trash. pay for foreigners is really insulting. i have a degree and have been offered anywhere from 7,50 euro per hour up to 9,15 per hour. keep in mind with a tax class of 4 you have to subtract 38 percent for taxes, medical etc. my advice to anyone wanting to move to Germany is Don't ! my last job was security, i made 9,15 an hour, 12 hour night shifts. the Germans working along side me were making 14 and 15 euro an hour. after i heard this i quit. this country is not foreigner friendly when it comes to jobs.

Paul posted: 2013-05-18 12:26:23

This is typical description and answers to the questions that were on my mind moving to Germany soon to start my masters and possibly start a life there

yeah posted: 2013-05-19 09:09:04

I lived for 7 years in Germany. The best i found was a job for 850 Euros with a chief who was hiring every month someone new in the position of the former worker. Never a german company replied to me. Then i went to another country and inside 1 month i had more than 5 replies.

muji posted: 2013-07-22 23:14:51

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Ashok Degala posted: 2013-08-01 14:39:12

Nice Article given lot of information.

Nasrin rahim posted: 2013-08-29 12:44:15

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

hardip chahal posted: 2013-09-10 14:52:14

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Tarik Mansoor posted: 2013-11-20 22:55:34

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Trev posted: 2014-02-07 11:30:27

Unfortunatly the information here isn't 100% correct and some also needs revision. An example the temporary contract (befristete Arbeitsvertrag). These can be extended several times not just once and in the unsecure market today is the norm not the exeption.

rasik mohamed posted: 2014-04-19 08:57:56

I am going to finish my course of diploma in mechanical engineering. I need a job and I do not know any reference there to help me if anyone can help me please do it then I can come up in my life

14 reactions to this article

shivaram posted: 2012-02-29 21:05:25

nice article..... given required information for national visa....
would like to know more about EURES and their role.....

melissa posted: 2012-09-18 00:22:57

Your article is by far the most informative and helpful that I have read on the internet so far. I have been searching articles and websites for weeks and just now ran across your website. It has a lot of useful information and gives me a great insight into what I would need to do to move to Germany. Thank you so very much for taking the time to make such a wonderful article!

Billa posted: 2012-09-21 15:15:08

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

narendrak posted: 2012-12-02 11:36:11

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

rick posted: 2013-02-01 12:06:58

i noticed that there was no mention about pay for foreigners in Germany, allow me to clarify. if you are new to germany expect to be taken advantage of, these companies will use you and then throw you out like trash. pay for foreigners is really insulting. i have a degree and have been offered anywhere from 7,50 euro per hour up to 9,15 per hour. keep in mind with a tax class of 4 you have to subtract 38 percent for taxes, medical etc. my advice to anyone wanting to move to Germany is Don't ! my last job was security, i made 9,15 an hour, 12 hour night shifts. the Germans working along side me were making 14 and 15 euro an hour. after i heard this i quit. this country is not foreigner friendly when it comes to jobs.

Paul posted: 2013-05-18 12:26:23

This is typical description and answers to the questions that were on my mind moving to Germany soon to start my masters and possibly start a life there

yeah posted: 2013-05-19 09:09:04

I lived for 7 years in Germany. The best i found was a job for 850 Euros with a chief who was hiring every month someone new in the position of the former worker. Never a german company replied to me. Then i went to another country and inside 1 month i had more than 5 replies.

muji posted: 2013-07-22 23:14:51

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Ashok Degala posted: 2013-08-01 14:39:12

Nice Article given lot of information.

Nasrin rahim posted: 2013-08-29 12:44:15

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

hardip chahal posted: 2013-09-10 14:52:14

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Tarik Mansoor posted: 2013-11-20 22:55:34

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

Trev posted: 2014-02-07 11:30:27

Unfortunatly the information here isn't 100% correct and some also needs revision. An example the temporary contract (befristete Arbeitsvertrag). These can be extended several times not just once and in the unsecure market today is the norm not the exeption.

rasik mohamed posted: 2014-04-19 08:57:56

I am going to finish my course of diploma in mechanical engineering. I need a job and I do not know any reference there to help me if anyone can help me please do it then I can come up in my life

Looking for a job?

Browse all jobs
find the business you need
Discussion Forums

Personal Finance in Germany

Mid-week currency update by UKForex

Personal Finance in Germany

Mondays currency update by UKForex

Community Noticeboard Germany

English Comedy in Berlin

Personal Finance in Germany

The weekly currency crunch by UKForex

Personal Finance in Germany

Mid-week currency update by UKForex

participate in the forums

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inside Expatica
The ABCs of the German school system

The ABCs of the German school system

What you need to know about German schools and daycare.

German immigration and residency regulations

German immigration and residency regulations

Want to move to Germany but haven’t figured out the details? Check out Expatica’s overview of the German permit system.

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

In part one of our two part series, we cover the driving culture in Berlin, where to park and buy gas and, most importantly, the laws.

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Our comprehensive guide includes information on how to find work, recruitment agencies, employment contracts and labour law.