Jobs in Germany for foreigners are scarce in some industries, but there are quite many jobs available in Germany as well. Germany is a country with many attractive qualities. The country is considered to be one of the top industrialized countries, but it also is one of the top exporters in the world.
Find the best jobs in Germany for foreigners with our list of top companies and recommended job websites. Gather all the information you need, build your resume, relocate and hit the ground running!
Jobs In Germany For Foreigner
If you are on the hunt for multilingual jobs in Germany, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to supply you with all you need to know about life in Germany & what to expect when you move here.
In regards to finding a job and working in Germany, we can help you there too.
Working abroad is an exciting adventure, one that is open to all. So sit back relax and read about how finding work in Germany is easier with Careertrotter on your side.
With a population of over 80 million, Germany provides a European hub of culture, the chance to learn the continent’s second most-spoken language and an impressive range of job opportunities for international workers
Thanks to the country’s generous holiday allowance and flexible approach to working hours, you’ll be able to take full advantage of all that Germany has to offer. Once you’ve exhausted the tourist landmarks and museums of Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt and explored the castles, lakes and mountain ranges of the lesser-known regions, you’re well placed to visit the rest of Europe, starting with any of Germany’s nine neighbouring countries.
Jobs in Germany
Home to Europe’s largest economy, it’s predicted that Germany will experience its ninth consecutive year of economic growth in 2018. This is due in part to a low unemployment rate of 4.2% and a high-quality education system focused on developing vocational skills to equip workers with the assets needed to succeed in their careers.
The country provides a base for a range of multinational companies, including:
- Beck’s Brewery
- Deutsche Bank
- Hugo Boss
It’s not just the larger companies that contribute to Germany’s successes — small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-run businesses play a crucial role in the country’s strong and stable economy.
POPULAR GRADUATE JOBS
- Iron and steel production
- Vehicle manufacturing
You can search for jobs in Germany at:
- EURES Job Search
- Toytown Germany
In a 2017 study, economic research company Prognos forecasted a shortage of approximately three million workers in Germany by the year 2030.
The country is currently in urgent need of STEM graduates, particularly scientists and engineers. More IT specialists and mathematicians are needed in banks, insurance firms and other large companies to help with software and security.
The healthcare sector is also suffering a shortage of workers as many current medical professionals approach retirement age.
Both STEM and the health industries offer desirable starting salaries, much higher than many other sectors in the country – STEM graduates can earn up to €75,000, while doctors are generally paid €45,000 as a starting salary.
Germany Working (Employment) Visa
In this article
Germany is a country of possibilities not only for Germans, but also for third-world country nationals as well. The land of invention and innovation is the fourth-largest economy in the world and home to world-known corporates and companies. As such, it offers the chance to many non-Germans to find a job and settle in the country.
The Germany Employment Visa is an opportunity for qualified foreigners to settle in Germany and work in their field. It gives its holder the chance to enter and work in Germany for up to two years, with the possibility of extending the visa, and later applying for an EU Blue Card, or other types of residence permits.
Long-Stay Visa Types for Working in Germany
You may apply for a Germany Long-Stay Visa under the purpose of working in Germany, for the following:
- Employment — if you already have a job offer in Germany.
- Self-Employment — if you wish to establish a business in Germany or to work as a freelancer.
- Working as a Freelancer
- Jobseeker — if you wish to look for a job while in Germany.
- Working as an Au Pair — for young adults wishing to learn more about the German culture and language.
- Working Holiday Visa — for the youngsters of several countries, that have signed a Working Holiday Visa agreements with Germany.
Who Needs a Germany Employment Visa?
Citizens of the following countries can apply for their residence permit for work purposes after entering Germany without a visa.
- EEA/EU member states the United States of America
- New Zealand
- the Republic of Korea
Citizens of the rest of third-world countries are required to obtain a visa for work purposes before travelling to Germany. Following in this article find the procedures you need to follow, including the documents you need to obtain, in order to get a Germany Employment Visa.
Categories Eligible to Apply for a Germany Employment Visa
All foreign nationals can apply for a German Employment Visa if they fulfil the conditions to work in Germany.
According to the “Act on the Residence” that regulates the residence issue for foreigners in Germany, the categories eligible to apply for a German Employment Visa are as follows:
- Highly qualified foreigners, in particular:
- researchers with special technical knowledge
- teaching personnel in prominent positions or scientific personnel in prominent positions
- Intra-corporate transferees, in particular:
In addition, eligible and encouraged to apply for a Germany work visa are third-world country nationals with a university degree or a non-academic vocational qualification that fulfil the conditions listed below:
- There is a shortage of skilled workers in the profession you want to practice in Germany.
- You have a concrete job offer.
- Your education must be recognized as equivalent with a German degree.
How to Apply for a Germany Work Visa?
The step-by-step application process for a Germany Work visa goes as follows:
- Get a job offer in Germany.
- Check if you need a visa to Germany for long-stays.
- Find out where you need to submit your visa application.
- Collect all of the required documents according to the instructions.
- Make an appointment for a visa interview.
- Pay the German Employment Work visa fee.
- Attend the interview.
- Wait for a response on your visa application.
Required Documents for a Germany Employment Visa
In order to prove to the German embassy/consulate in your country of residence that you fulfil the conditions for an employment visa, you will need to submit several documents. These documents are the crucial part of your application for a German employment visa, alongside the visa interview.
Make sure you collect all of these documents according to their given instructions.
- Two fully completed application forms. Printed and signed at the end.
- Two passport photographs.
- Valid national passport.
- Proof of residence. Your driver’s license and/or utility bill in your name as proof of residence in the territory of the consulate where you plan to apply.
- Health insurance. Compulsory certificate from German employer, valid from date of employment. If not already included in the compulsory health insurance a separate travel insurance has to be presented for the time frame from arrival in Germany until beginning of employment. If you are looking for great coverage for a good price, then your working health insurance awaits here!
- An employment contract / binding job offer with details of gross annual salary and a detailed description of the employment in Germany.
- Approval by the Federal Employment Agency (If applicable).
- Curriculum Vitae. Your updated CV, which indicates your academic qualifications and your job experience.
- Proof of Qualification. Diplomas, Certificates, Mark-sheets etc., or anything similar that proves your qualifications.
- Personal covering letter explaining the exact purpose and duration of stay.
- Proof of a clean criminal record.
- Proof of paid visa fee. The visa fee for a German long-stay visa is €75.
- Declaration of Accuracy of Information.
Where to Apply for a Germany Work Visa?
You should apply for a German Employment visa at the representative body of Germany in your country of residence responsible for visa admission. This could be one of the following
- The German embassy
- A German consulate
- A Visa Application Center
- The German embassy/consulate located in a neighboring country, in absence of German representative bodies in your country of residence
- The embassy/consulate of another country, located in your country of residence, to which Germany has outsourced visa admission
Processing Time for Germany Work Visa
The processing time for a Germany long-stay work visa may take from one to three months from the application day. The processing time depends also on the number of applications the embassy is receiving at the time, as well as your situation.
Arriving in Germany on a Work Visa
After you get your German Work Visa, you can freely travel to Germany. However, there are still some procedures that you should complete upon arrival in Germany in order to obtain a German residence permit.
You should go to the Foreigner’s Office in Germany, located nearest to your place of residence. Some offices require you to make an appointment prior to your interview, while others accept walk-in applications.
You will need to attend an interview during which you will also submit the required documents for a residence permit. These documents are:
- Your national valid passport.
- Application form for a Residence Permit.
- Two photos.
- Report of clean criminal record.
- Proof of German Language.
- Health Insurance Confirmation.
- Proof of Job Offer.
The period of time you are allowed to hold your permit is determined by your employment contract. If your contract is for 2 years, your permit will also be valid for 2 years. However, you can extend it as many times as you need as long as you maintain your employment status.
Tips on How to Find a Job in Germany
If you want to work in Germany, but you still do not have a job, we can give you some tips in this regard. There are many vacant jobs in Germany for foreigners. You will not have it hard to find a suitable job for you, especially if you have professional qualifications.
The process of getting a job in Germany for foreigners goes as follows:
- Look for a job online
Public German job sites. The International Placement Service (ZAV) of the German Employment Agency has information on world opportunities all across Germany. You can check for a job in their portals, email them or call them for advice.
Check German recruitment websites. There are many online sites offering jobs for both German and foreigners. You can check the job offers there, and see if any of them suits you
Sign on a recruitment agency in Germany. You can find a list of these agencies in the German Yellow pages. Note that they will charge you a fee for signing up with them.
Contact companies in Germany. It is totally okay to write to a German company and ask them if they are planning to take in any new employees, even if they do not have any vacancy announcement.
- Apply for the job you have found
After you find the job that fits you, send a job application. Usually, most of the companies will ask you for the following documents:
- your CV
- copies of your educational certificates
- employer testimonials
- samples of your work
- Attend the job interview
Many of the companies will give you the chance to attend the interview online, i.e., through Skype. However, some others have strict policies that job applicants must show in person for the interview. If that is the case, you should apply for a Jobseeker visa, and attend the interview. If you get the job, you should return to your country of residence and apply for an employment visa, as explained in this article.
Of course, this is only a way to get a job in Germany. There are other ways as well, as getting a jobseeker visa and going to Germany to find a job in person, etc.
Looking for a job
You have decided to look for a job in Germany? And you are looking for a job that matches your professional profile and qualifications? Whether you are still in your home country or already in Germany, the best way to start looking for a job is on the Internet. We can show you the different ways of finding the right employer for you in Germany.
“Make it in Germany” job listings:
Depending on your country of origin, different conditions may apply for taking up employment in Germany. You can check out what possibilities are open to you by trying our Quick-Check.
To look for a job in sectors where Germany is suffering from a shortage of qualified professionals, you must meet some requirements. The vacancies are advertised by the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Good to know: Companies that particularly welcome qualified professionals from abroad, have registered their vacancies on the job listings of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and have chosen our website to publish them.
Federal Employment Agency (BA): The official job portal of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) — the Jobbörse of the BA is the largest job market in Germany — offers you many advantages by the job search. You can post your profile in a closed area so that German employers can find your profile and if they are interested, they can contact you. You should do targeted searches for vacant jobs — suitable to your qualifications and interests–. We daily update the job offers, however, most of them are published in German. The search engine is available in English or French. Find the right job quickly and easily by using the Jobbörse app also.
“Hotline Living and Working in Germany”: Do you have questions concerning job search in Germany? Please use our advisory service, specially tailored for professionals from abroad. Our specialists will answer your individual questions relating to working and career in Germany and will help you on your way to work in Germany. You can get advice in German and English by contacting the “Hotline Living and Working in Germany” at +49 30 1815 – 1111.
EURES: EURES is the network of European employment agencies. The Federal Employment Agency (BA) is a member of EURES. EURES is committed to promoting the mobility of job-seekers in Europe by providing advisory and job-finding services. The multilingual portal EURES provides in Europe interesting job prospects and funding programs of the European Union. For your job search: Find on the EURES Internet portal job offers from Germany and 31 other European countries, information about living and working in the different countries and the contact details of EURES advisors.
EURES regularly organizes European Job Days. There you are going to be able to get information about job prospects and vacancies in Germany and the other EU countries. In addition, many other countries offer European Online Jobdays too. Find the dates of these events by consulting the European Job Days website, at the EURES Website or follow EURES on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Job portals and company website: Do you already have contact to companies in Germany, or you discover certain company names during your job search? Many German companies also publish their vacancies separately on the Internet. The job sections are usually called “Stellenangebote”, “Karriere” or “Vakanzen”.
If you are living or you are staying temporarily in Germany, there are additional ways of looking for a job:
Newspapers: Many German newspapers publish job vacancies from all over the country in their weekend issues.
Local employment agencies: The mission of employment agencies is to help people in their search for a job. You can find a local employment agency in nearly all towns and cities in Germany. These are branches of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA).
Talent profile: Take positive action yourself by publishing your own job ad on the Internet, on business networks, on the Federal Employment Agency’s job portal or other job portals. Interested companies will then respond to your advertisement.
Job fairs: It can also be worth visiting trade shows, job fairs and congresses, there you will have the opportunity to make direct contact with companies.
Personnel recruitment agencies: Another alternative is to use the services of private recruitment agencies. These look for suitable jobs on your behalf. If you decide to use the service of a private recruitment agency, please inform you in advance whether fees apply.
Friends and family: Family and friends often support us in life. Talk to your friends about the fact that you’d like to work in Germany. Perhaps one of them can contact you with interesting employers, or they can give you tips for your job search.
How to get a job in Germany
As an EU/EEA citizen, you have the same access to the German job market as German nationals, and the application process is similar to that in the UK. You’ll typically need to submit a well-presented CV and cover letter directly to the employer, and may be invited to one or two interviews if your application is successful.
Depending on the role you’re applying for, you may be required to sit psychological and aptitude tests, and for business and management roles you may also be invited to an assessment centre.
You’ll need to include copies of your education certificates with your application — this includes any vocational qualifications you’ve completed, as well as your school-leaving transcripts and university degree.
Being a European holiday hotspot, Germany’s tourism industry has vacancies in a range of jobs all year round. In the summer, you won’t be hard pushed to find opportunities in bars, restaurants and theme parks, which hire short-term staff typically between April and November.
You can search for seasonal jobs in Germany at:
- One World 365
Alternatively, you could consider volunteering as a way to build your skillset, network with professionals, learn a new language and improve your employability.
The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called the European Voluntary Service (EVS), which offers young people aged 17 to 30 the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of countries, including Germany.
Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to those focused on social care and the environment. Accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant, and you’ll receive an additional personal allowance each month.
As Germany is a popular base for large international companies, the country has plenty of demand for English teachers as its workforce looks to connect with the international market. The majority of English students in Germany are therefore adults, although you’ll find opportunities in summer camps and schools as well as corporate buildings. You may also go self-employed as a private tutor.
To teach English in Germany you’ll need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, a Bachelors degree and a fair grasp of German.
Visit i-to-i Teach English in Germany for guidance, or learn about teaching English as a language assistant with the British Council.
If you’re ready to start looking for teaching jobs, search the Yellow Pages for vacancies and contact organisations directly.
An internship in Germany is a great way to give your career a boost by learning how Europe’s largest economy operates. You’ll be able to enjoy the German lifestyle while developing your skills.
Internships in Germany typically last three to 12 months. Many are paid, and some companies may offer scholarships for unpaid positions. These factors depend on the organisation you’re working for — get in touch before you apply to discover the specific terms and conditions.
Find internship opportunities at:
- AIESEC — for students and recent graduates
- IAESTE — for science, engineering, and arts students
- The Intern Group
Your university may also be able to help you secure an internship, and German companies will appreciate the direct approach – send speculative applications, or use social media to start networking.
As an EU/EEA citizen, you won’t need a visa or permit to work and live in Germany. However, you’ll need to register your residence at your local registration office within three months of your arrival — to do this, you’ll need a valid EU/EEA passport and proof of your residency (such as a rental contract).
Coming from all other countries, it’s likely you’ll need to obtain a visa or residence permit to make the move to Germany. Visit the Federal Foreign Office – Entry & Residence to find out more about your exact entry requirements.
This information is still correct following the UK’s decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes occur.
While the majority of the German workforce has a strong grasp of English and there are plenty of English-speaking opportunities available, being able to speak a good level of German is essential for securing a job – and living comfortably – in Germany.
This is not enforceable by law and there’s no compulsory proficiency test to take. While you’ll need fluency in German to hold some positions, such as within the healthcare sector, for others your employer will decide whether your proficiency is sufficient for the role.
It’s best to start learning from home before you move. There are plenty of language courses available in the UK, and websites such as BBC Languages – German will help you improve.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
UK qualifications are almost always comparable to their German counterparts, and will therefore be recognised by employers. However, professionals of one of Germany’s 60 plus regulated professions, such as doctors and lawyers, will need their qualifications recognised in Germany before they can begin work.
Certain authorities are responsible for the recognition of professional qualifications. For more information, see the Recognition Finder. Applications for recognition cost between €100 and €600.
Applicants in a non-regulated profession should also consider having their professional qualifications recognised so that companies have a better idea of their skills.
What’s it like to work in Germany?
Employees who work a five-day week in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 days’ annual leave, however, most companies provide their workers with an average of 25 to 30 days per year. Germany also enjoys more public holidays than any other European country – you won’t have trouble finding the time to explore the country during your stay.
The minimum wage in Germany is €8.84 in 2018, although for an estimated 80 to 90% of wage earners collective bargaining agreements set pay rates and are enforceable by law.
Your earnings will be subject to a basic tax allowance of €9,000. Once your salary exceeds this, you’ll be taxed between 14 and 42%, relative to your salary. This top figure only applies to individuals who earn €250,731 or more over a 12 month period.
The workplace environment is formal and professional, with a strict hierarchy in place and a strong emphasis on rank and responsibility.
Getting to know Germany:
It’s well known that Germans are active people, and why shouldn’t they be? What with breathtaking mountains, forests, cliffs, vineyards and more.
With all this just outside your door, think of the great memories and adventures you can create with friends and family. There is always something to do to let off some steam after work or to fill your weekend.
You’ll be happy to know that the weather in Germany is blue skies and sun in the summer but cloudy and colder times should be expected in the Winter.
Obviously, the main language spoken in Germany is German. But you’ll be happy to know many of the natives speak very good English and some are even bilingual and/or trilingual, making the work environment here even easier.
As well as that many people already know that Germany has a strong economy, which makes it one of the best places to work and find your next multilingual job.
Making the Move & Getting Started:
So once you have you’ve found your multilingual job, and you’ve made the move to your new home, you will need to register with Einwohnermeldeamt (a department within each town hall, and in bigger cities, there is one in most districts of that town). The majority allows you to go online to arrange an appointment, which can save you a lot of time.
Many of the forms you will need are posted online so you can fill them out in advance.
When you register you will also need a few other documents:
- Passport/another valid photo ID
- Signed copy of your lease agreement
- Birth Cert
- Marriage Cert if married.
Remember that each time you move you need to re-register.
Taxes in Germany:
As well as that you also need to register with Finanzamt, a financial institution that is responsible for deducting taxes from your salary/wages which you can claim some back at the end of the year.
While you work in Germany you will need to open a bank account, (Girokonto) so that you’re salary/wages can be paid into it for all of your hard work abroad.
To open an account you will need to bring along a photo ID.
Most common branches used:
- Deutsche Bank
A place to call your own:
Finding a home (apartment, house, flat) can take time, so before you make the move to Germany it would help to have this sorted out or at least have an idea.
If not that’s OK maybe you want to get to know the area first, so we advise you to look for short-term accommodation, so you can get a feel for the area. You could look for WG or Wohngemeinschaft (shared housing) while you are looking for a home of your own.
As well as the local classified ad’s the best places to look are:
Keep in mind for flats/apartments, a security deposit can be up to 3 months (kalmiete — excluding utility costs). With your first month’s rent & flats in Germany are usually unfurnished, so you will need to furnish it yourself.
It’s Not All Work Work Work You Know:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
So for everyone out there who wants it all… you’ve got it.
- For the movie lovers: There’s Berlinale, the annual film festival in Berlin in February.
- If music is your thing there’s:
There are a lot of great festivals throughout Germany during the Summer, the above are just a small few, but they make for a great weekend.
- Mardi Gras: A pre-lenten celebration that end’s on Ash Wednesday. It’s known worldwide as an amazing carnival with great activities and celebrations.
- Oktoberfest: The best part is it’s a FREE event to attend, with beer served throughout the festival as well as fairground attractions and sideshows. It’s an amazing place to be and celebrate various other cultures.
For more, why not visit:
- Yelp for tips on great restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightlife events.
- Groupon is the place to go for amazing deals you can avail of in the city you live in.
A guide to 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.
If you are a foreigner looking for jobs in Germany, it can be difficult to know where to start your job hunting, especially if you are restricted to English-speaking jobs in Germany. However, if you are well qualified with a degree or vocational qualification, have work experience and can speak at least some German, you stand a good chance of finding a job in Germany, especially in certain sectors with German worker shortages.
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, so there are plenty of jobs in Germany for foreigners with specialist skills, although casual work is also fairly easy to come by. It is also possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany, although in most cases even a small amount of German will be required.
This guide explains everything you need to work in Germany, including information on what jobs in Germany are available, shortage of German jobs, German job websites and other places where you can find jobs in Germany for foreigners.
German job guide: Work in Germany
The job market in Germany
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, reaching a record low of 5.8 percent in March 2017, while in some parts of southern Germany, such as Bavaria (where you’ll find Munich), the unemployment rate is significantly lower. A study by the German Federal Institution for Population Research showed that a third of non-EU migrants in Germany in 2010/111 found work within 12 months, although this situation has significantly changed following Germany’s refugee influx since 2015. However, if you are well qualified — with a university degree or a vocational qualification such as an apprenticeship — and have work experience and basic knowledge of German, there are much higher chances of finding a job in Germany, where such qualities are valued.
Shortage German jobs
There’s a shortage of skilled workers in certain professions in Germany. These include qualified engineers (mechanical, automotive, electrical and building), IT specialists, health and social workers and certain manufacturing positions. Professionals with vocational qualifications are also in demand in certain fields. With an increasingly older population, workers in the geriatric, health, and nursing professions are also in short supply. English teaching, casual work and hospitality jobs are also available.
There are several large international firms in Germany, such as Adidas, BMW, MAN, Siemens, Volkswagen, Daimler and Eon. However, the prevalence of small and medium-sized businesses is a key feature in the German economy, with more than 90 per cent of German companies being SMEs and accounting for two-thirds of jobs.
German work environment and management culture
The average working week is just over 38 hours, with a minimum of 18 days holiday a year. German business culture is traditionally hierarchical, with strong management. Germans work on carefully planned tasks and make decisions based on hard facts. Meetings are orderly and efficient and follow a strict agenda and schedule, where discussions are held with the aim of reaching compliance and a final decision. Time is a well-defined concept in German business culture and people are very punctual, and you should be too in any professional environment. The national German minimum wage was increased to EUR 8.84 per hour in 2017, and salaries in Germany are expected to be reviewed every two years.
German work visas and residence permits
If you’re from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you don’t need a permit to work in Germany as long as you have a valid passport or ID card, although registering your address is required. Read more in our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss moving to Germany.
Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the US can also come to Germany without a visa, however, must apply for a German residence and work permit from their local Alien’s Authority.
Everyone else will need to get a German visa and residence permit in order to work in Germany. Whether or not you are able to get a residence permit will depend on your qualifications and the sector you want to work in. It may be hard to get a residence permit to work in Germany, but it is not worth being tempted to work in Germany illegally.
Languages to work in Germany
While you may find English-speaking jobs 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. There are many language schools in Germany if you need to brush up on your German.
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 in Germany. Check out your occupation on Recognition in Germany and find out how to get it recognised.
Contact the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentrale Stelle für die Bewertung ausländischer Qualifikationen, ZAB) to get a foreign university degree verified. Countries signed up to the Bologna Process will have their qualifications recognised in Germany.
Finding jobs in Germany
For expat-focused and English-speaking jobs in Germany, check out Expatica jobs. There is a constantly updated selection of jobs for both English speakers and speakers of other languages, in a range of different sectors.
If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can look for a job in Germany through the EURES (European Employment Services) website. EURES is a job portal network that is maintained by the European Commission and it’s designed to aid free movement within the EEA. As well as looking for work, you can upload your CV and get advice on the legal and administrative issues involved in working in Germany. EURES holds job fairs in spring and autumn.
Public German job sites
The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA), the largest provider of labour market services in Germany, has a network of over 700 agencies and offices around the country. Its International Placement Service (ZAV) has information about work opportunities, including casual work. You can also post your profile on their job portal — as well as your qualifications and career highlights, you can say what kind of post you’re looking for within which type of company.
You can call +49 (0)30 1815 1111 for advice.
Job websites in Germany
Jobs in Germany are often advertised on German job and recruitment websites (Jobbörsen), with some specialising in certain industries or focused on jobs in Germany for foreigners.
- Job pilot
- Jobooh – jobs in startups
English-speaking jobs in Germany
- Craigslist — casual and out-of-the-ordinary jobs, including some English-speaking jobs in Germany
- English jobs
- The Local
- Toplanguage jobs– English-speaking jobs in Germany (and other languages)
- Academics – academic and research jobs
- Jobware – management and specialist
- Staufenbiel – internships and graduate jobs
- Stepstone – includes internships and graduate positions
Recruitment agencies in Germany
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 that 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. You will find several international recruitment agencies operating in Germany, many of which list specialist jobs for foreigners.
Teaching English in Germany
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. You can look for TEFL jobs (although many online sites list jobs).
German jobs in newspapers
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.
Some international companies will advertise on their company websites 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. You can find all companies in Germany via the government’s company register (in English).
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 have job adverts. Alternatively, 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.
Speculative job applications
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, internships 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 organisation 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. We provide details in our guide on how to create a German-style CV and tips for job interviews in Germany.
Find part-time work abroad
It has become increasingly popular in recent years to seek work in a different country than you live in. The Good Care Group are always looking for new candidates in the care-giving sector in the UK. As a cross-border commuter, you benefit from living in your home country and working in another, providing the opportunity of embracing and experience a different culture. Living in-house also ensures you become part of a close-knit team and make a real difference to those who need it. You receive an unrivalled employment package including paid annual leave, 24/7 staff support and flexible rota patterns, ensuring a healthy work/life balance.
The steps to getting a job in Germany
Specialists have good prospects in Germany. Morsa Images/istock/Getty Images
1. Check your chances
The Quick Check on the Make it in Germany website should indicate your chances of working in Germany. There is demand, among others, for doctors, nursing staff, engineers, mechatronic technicians, IT specialists and train drivers. Before you start looking for a job it is best to first clarify whether you need a visa to work in Germany.
2. Get your qualifications recognised
For many jobs, it can be useful and for some it is even necessary that vocational or educational qualifications from your home country are recognised in Germany. You can check whether this applies to you on the Recognition in Germany website.
3. Look for a job
The job listings on the Make it in Germany website give details of vacancies where international specialists are explicitly sought. You can also carry out job searches on the Federal Employment Agency website, in large employment exchanges like Stepstone, Indeed and Monster or among the vacancies published on business networks like LinkedIn or Xing. If you’re interested in specific companies, look for vacancies directly on their corporate websites.
4. Write an application
Normally, an application to a German company includes a covering letter, a CV with a photograph, certificates and testimonials. Make sure you have the required qualifications and emphasise them in your cover letter.
5. Apply for a visa
Citizens from EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland do not require a visa to work in Germany.
Are you a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand or the USA? Then you can enter Germany without a visa and remain for up to three months. If you want to work here, however, you will need to apply for a residence permit that allows you to take up gainful employment.
Citizens of all other countries require a visa. You should only apply for one when you already have a contract of employment in Germany. Make an appointment at the German Embassy in your country and inform your future employer that it can take some time before all visa formalities are completed.
If you have a higher education qualification that is recognised in Germany, you can receive a six-month visa to look for a job.
6. Obtain health insurance
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany, and that applies from the first day of your stay.
How To Get A Job In Germany
5 Things you must know about job-hunting in Germany
Have you just landed in Germany? Are you planning to apply for a German job?
Finally, have you ever wondered whether to include a photo on your German CV!?
If you settle in Germany without “bringing“ a job in your luggage, you will certainly be confronted with specific recruitment processes that may differ from what you experienced in other countries.
It means you should be thoroughly prepared before applying.
This article is based on my own experience as an engineer applying for a job in Germany. I have lived and worked in several EU countries. I have gone through various job interviews during my first year in Germany.
In this article, I will tell you how to properly submit an application for a job in Germany. I will then give you information on what to expect when a company decides to take you through its recruitment process.
STEP #1: MAKE SURE YOU GOT ALL THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS
Depending on where you are from, there is a number of official documents you should have when you apply for a German job.
You are applying from abroad? Then you can get these documents later on.
What sorts of documents am I talking about?
- If you are from a non-EU country, make sure you have a valid visa that allows you to work in Germany.
- It is very important register (Anmeldung) at your local city hall (Bürgeramt), or ‘registration office’.
- Once registered, you will receive your Tax ID (Steuer ID) by post.
These steps are very important. Why? The German employer will need these documents before you can start your first day at work!
#2 WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR GERMAN JOB DOSSIER, OR „BEWERBUNG“
Want to write your German job application?
This the first big difference when it comes to comparing Germany to other countries: the so-called “Bewerbungsmappe” (application dossier).
Most German companies require 1 PDF file that includes all your application documents. It must include the following:
– Cover letter
– Copies of Diploma and certifications
– Reference letters of previous employers
So yeah, your PDF file can include 10 to 15 pages…
It is mandatory that you include a copy of your main diploma. Some companies would not even consider your application if you forget it! Anyway, they usually remind you of the required documents at the end of a job advertisement.
It is important that you ask to support your previous employers for support. You need to provide references and testimonies of your past experience. So you must have references talking about your performance in previous jobs. You cannot get a letter of reference? In this case, provide the company with a contact list of your former employers/managers, who are willing to assess you by telephone. Only include people with who you have previously agreed to be contacted!
Usually, your references will not be contacted by HR or hiring managers. However, it can be an advantage to have them in your dossier. Indeed, it can be a convincing element that will make the company you wish to work for, call you for the first step of the recruiting process.
Need to translate job recommendations or certificates etc. into German? No problem. We provide fast & professional translations of your official documents.
#3 HOW TO WRITE A GERMAN CV OR “LEBENSLAUF“
The German CV is similar to the UK or EU one. The advice I got from professionals is to put the most relevant information on the first page:
Title, full name, contact details, Professional experience, key skills/ languages.
On the second page you can showcase your educational background, the different projects/internships you did to obtain your degree. At the end, you can list your interests and other activities.
In Germany, the candidate must date and sign the CV at the end! This may sound strange, but it is what you do. It confirms the date and time of the CV. I have only met this strange habit in Germany.
#4 SHOULD I PUT A PHOTO ON MY GERMAN CV?!
I have created an extra section for this question.
As far as I understand, whether or not to put your photo on a German CV is heatedly debated! It is a controversial topic, indeed!
All German companies used to require a picture of you on the CV. An anti-discriminatory law was passed in 2006, which said that companies are no longer allowed to require a picture of you.
Nevertheless, it is still very common in Germany that you attach a picture to your CV. If you wish to do so, the picture must be done in a professional way.
What kind of a photo do I put on my German CV?
It is very important that it is professional. It can be colour, or black and white. Either is fine. Definitely do not use an ID picture or a cut-out from holidays or weddings! If you do not have a good photo that presents you in such a way that your future employer wants to see you — then leave it out!
If you have a good camera, ask a friend to help you. You must look confident and be dressed according to the company culture and the position you apply for. Sometimes German CVs have 3 pages, the first page is designed only for your picture and contact details. You can find many examples of that on the internet.
Some companies will even request a separate upload of your professional picture – despite the anti-discriminatory law… And then again, some companies will not consider you if you attach a picture…
So my tip: Research the company a little and find out what their preferred method is! For this, check the company profile and the required documents. Then judge, if it is necessary. If it is a traditional German company, it is likely they will ask for a picture or that you include it naturally on your CV.
If it is an international company, it is unlikely they will ask you for one. Finally, if it is a UK or US company, do not put your picture at all (and try to avoid marital status)!
#5 WRITE A GERMAN COVER LETTER OR “MOTIVATIONSSCHREIBEN“
Once again, do you think recruiters only read your CV and have a quick run on your cover letter? Not so in Germany.
In 99% of the cases I experienced, recruiters read your cover letter and all your documents thoroughly. Based on this they decide whether to invite you to the first step of the recruitment process.
How to write your CV and Cover letter for your German job application?
Be simple and clear. Respect the one-page standard. This applies to everywhere in Germany. Bear in mind: You write the cover letter to obtain an interview, not the job… !! So be strategic.
The cover letter gives you a chance to clarify some aspects of your CV, and elaborate on some things. Also, try to explain your individual situation and what may seem ‘unusual’:
e.g. „my last experience lasted only 6 months because my wife was relocated. As such, I had to resign early in agreement with the management to transfer smoothly all my tasks. I negotiated a short 6 months project with another company before moving to Berlin“
I got many questions about this last work experience during phone interviews. I felt like I missed chances to get to the first step because from an employer’s perception it was weird that I had only worked for 6 months at the last company. The solution: I decided then to clearly state the reasons behind it on the cover letter, and I had no more questions about it!
I think it is great that German recruiters read everything in the cover letter. Why? This way, in the interview, we go straight to the point: talking about the job role, the added value you can bring, etc.
The recruiter will expect you to do the same work on your side i.e., read the job advertisement, know details about the company (financial data, core activities, workforce…).
The disadvantage of producing such detailed cover letters and CVs is that it may take longer for recruiters to read them.
#6 WHAT’S THE GERMAN RECRUITMENT PROCESS LIKE?
You manage to submit a proper „German“ application and you have been invited to the first step of the recruitment process! Congratulations!
However, this is just the beginning. Be sure to be very patient all along from the application submission to the end. All in all, the job application process may take weeks or sometimes even months. In my case, it took 5 months! Bear in mind, that this is written from the perspective of an engineer! The steps may vary depending on the job you apply for, naturally!!
Step 1: The phone interview
After you send off your written application, the first step is usually a phone call or a Skype interview. Bear in mind that you probably are in the top 5/8 when you have the phone call. This is the opportunity for the recruiter to give you further information about the expected role, ask you questions about your CV, and experiences in which they have a particular interest. As I mentioned: they rarely ask you to introduce yourself because they have read the cover letter! They will have identified the weak points of your CV — so be ready to answer questions about your weak points!
Ultimately, in this phone interview, they will check if you fit the role. You must be convincing to reach the next level!
Step 2: Computer test
The second step, sometimes, consists of a computer test you take at home (verbal, numerical, etc…). It depends really on the HR policy but in big companies, it is highly probably you have to do it!
Step 3 Face-to-face interview
If you have been successful in the first steps, they will invite you one last time for a face to face interview or an assessment day. This is usually the last step!
You usually meet several potential colleagues, managers etc. And they will all have a very specific way of conducting the interview. Not much small talk. They will have prepared a folder with very specific questions or case studies. Answer them confidently. Also, be ready to refer to your past work experience. You have to demonstrate how you reacted, solved and overcame conflict situations in the past. Check the so-called “STAR technique” on Google to find out more! They will then write down your answer in their folder. It is a very strange exercise. Why? Because it does not feel like a dialogue but as a Q&A exercise.
Sometimes the interview ends without the opportunity for you to ask further questions!! So be sure you have asked your main questions during the phone interview!
Step 4 Assessment day (optional)
In case you have an assessment day, you will meet other competing candidates! Be sure to take advantage of informal waiting periods with managers to raise important points that have not been talked about during the interviews.
Step 5 Waiting…
You are still waiting for a reply? No worries. It is normal that many weeks or even months can pass before you hear back. Be patient once again. Do not forget to ask when you will get feedback (usually 1 to 3 weeks after each step). In any case, do not call HR or the manager before the deadline expires. After that, if there is still no news, feel free to call them.
#7 WHAT’S NEXT?
Scenario 1 … You are hired! It is done! Congratulations!!
Now all you need to do is… get all the administrative paperwork sorted before starting your new job!
These steps include getting your social security number, your public health insurance etc. It usually takes 2 weeks to get all these documents. But relax, the company’s HR will support you. You can get the documents in step number 1 (see above) even before you are hired. Everything else is typically only possible once you have a job offer (for example, public health insurance!).
Scenario 2… They do not hire you!
Do not worry. Just keep applying! Next time sell yourself even better! Just be patient. You may take this opportunity to learn a new skill? Perhaps improve your German?
Learning German shows your interest in the local culture. It is well appreciated by many potential employers.
You will not be able to apply in German. But if you reach A2.2 you will be able to write at least emails in German to the HR or the manager. Saying this, you may attach your application in English but write the email in German. In my case, they reacted positively to this effort!
After B1.2 level you should be able to write your cover letter in German.
The better your German, the better your chances of getting a job in Germany! This is even the case when the working language is English! Your colleagues or boss may still chat in German during breaks etc, so make sure you can join the conversation!
15 things to know before you start working in Germany
With more opportunities opening up for job seekers to work in Germany, it becomes all the more important to understand the German work culture. From what I have experienced working for over three years now, here is a list of things that one must know before you start working in Germany:
A considerable aspect of your salary will go towards taxes and mandatory insurances (but it pays back in the long run). Also, salary levels are lower in Germany than in some other countries for similar job profiles (but the cost of living is also lower than in many of those countries).
You cannot take the smallest thing for granted. You will need always need to be detail-oriented. All your work including projects, proposals, etc. must be compartmentalized and completed with perfection. Every point will be examined in great detail.
No shortcuts or gut feelings. You will always need to be prepared to back each idea up with logical and convincing information. Simply put, you will always have to be present-minded and do the work required.
Rules and Regulations
Germany believes in strictly following rules, regulations, and laws. one needs to learn the expectations and then abide by them for all work and life aspects in Germany.
Titles and certification are taken seriously in Germany. One should always address their superiors with formal pronouns and titles unless directed otherwise.
The focus is on always remaining professional and respectful and not beating around the bush!
If you are most motivated by compliments for a job well done and can’t handle honest criticism and bluntness, working in Germany may not be for you (That doesn’t mean people will be making rude comments, rather there will be straightforward communication without euphemism).
Some other thing,
- Gifts, attempting to smooth-talk, or partaking will backfire pretty quickly.
- It’s common and natural for workers in other countries to ease into a business meeting with a bit of small talk, this couldn’t be farther from the case in many German offices. Small talk is not very satisfying and perceived as something that’s superficial. Also, one is expected to keep personal and private life separate.
- You will need to stick to a strict schedule. German punctuality is often depicted as a silly stereotype, but German efficiency is no joke. Being even a couple of minutes late to a meeting can be considered very offensive.
- Germans start work really early. A lot of Germans will already be in the office by 7:30.
- Germans like their privacy, and one of the ways this is exemplified in the German work culture is that you don’t come across as many open plan/cubicle type office spaces. This is convenient for working productively but on the downside, the workplace feels much less sociable.
- There is a very strict distinction between professional and social life in Germany. Socializing with colleagues outside of work is the exception rather than the norm. Don’t expect an invitation for a beer after work.
- Also, life will be hard if you don’t speak German. The language barrier makes it difficult to interact with and get help from non-English speaking colleagues. If everyone at your job interacts in German, you will need to master German to work efficiently. Many Germans can speak at least some English; but, good luck having them continue speaking in English, esp. when you are in a group with a German majority.
5 key things you need to know about German working culture
If you’re keen on moving here for work, you should know about the cultural differences in the German workplace. We spoke to an intercultural trainer to find out how you can deal with them.
Internationals mention time and time again that when it comes to starting their life in Germany, getting used to the culture of the workplace can be a challenge.
It’s not uncommon, for instance, for foreign workers to say that Germans are more direct than the colleagues they are used to – and they find this difficult to deal with.
Barbara Sametinger, a Freiburg-based intercultural trainer specializing in Germany, the US, and France, says this directness and other characteristics of the German work culture stem from “core cultural values.”
Having coached international corporations in Deutschland for a decade, the US national tells The Local in a phone interview that, before taking a closer look at these aspects and values, it’s important for newcomers to determine and research the kind of company they’re joining.
This can be telling when it comes to the organization’s work culture, Sametinger says, adding that the culture in a startup, for example, can be very different from the one that exists in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A company’s work culture can also differ from region to region.
SMEs, called Mittelstand in German, form the backbone of the country’s booming economy with thousands of them spread nationwide. According to the government-owned website Make it in Germany, any business with fewer than 500 employees is an SME, meaning that SMEs encompass a significant chunk of all German businesses.
The companies Sametinger says she tends to work with are ones in the Mittelstand category that do lots of business internationally. The coach adds that foreigners — such as those from English-speaking countries like her native US 0- usually need a bit of time to adapt to the culture of these companies since they tend to be more traditional.
1. Anticipate directness
Inside and outside the workplace, from dealing with bank employees to cashiers in supermarkets, Germans have been known to be more direct compared to people from other cultures. For some, certain instances of this directness can even be perceived as rude.
There aren’t many other cultures that are more direct than Germans, says Sametinger, adding that this has to do with the German language.
According to the trainer, when a person declines an invite in English, she or he says something along the lines of ‘sorry, I’m not available’ rather than saying ‘no’ outright. Meanwhile, a German speaker might simply say nein (no) – a neutral word that doesn’t necessarily communicate something negative in the German language despite what English speakers might interpret.
When faced with German directness, Sametinger suggests armouring yourself with a thicker skin and keeping in mind that it has nothing to do with whether or not your colleague likes you.
“Don’t take it personally. They’re just trying to get to the truth of the matter,” she says.
If for instance, you’re being constructively criticized on your work, this shouldn’t be taken personally. Similarly, in a negotiation, it helps not only to be well prepared for it but also to go in knowing that “diversity of opinions in the German workplace is seen as something positive.”
2. Small talk isn’t a thing
Whereas it’s common and natural for workers in countries like Canada or the US to ease into a business meeting with a bit of small talk, this couldn’t be farther from the case in many German offices, where light-hearted chat loses the purpose of a meeting.
“Germans prefer to have discussions like talking about politics or what’s going on in the world,” Sametinger says. As such, small talk is not very satisfying and is perceived as something that’s superficial. For some, it’s even considered “a waste of time.”
If you really can’t refrain from telling your colleagues what you did at the weekend or what you think of the current weather situation, the intercultural expert suggests saving this for the breaks between meetings or lunchtime.
But even if small talk doesn’t take place like you hoped it would, don’t be disappointed, she emphasizes.
“Understand that talking about oneself for some German colleagues has to do with getting closer to them on a personal level. This can take time and require patience.”
3. Keeping one’s personal and professional life separate
On the topic of getting to know your co-workers on a personal level, it’s quite common in Germany for people to keep their private life separate from their professional one.
While in the UK, it’s ordinary to head to the pub with one’s work mates after a long day in the office, it would be unusual to see Mittelstand employees doing this, since they generally prefer to spend time with their family or friends in the evenings.
“Unlike in places like North America, the German work environment may not be where you’re going to make close friends,” Sametinger says. “In general, work is a place to work.”
Sametinger thinks German colleagues tend to “cherish and protect their private life.” This is rooted in a core value that has to do with the family, she says.
Not all hope is lost, though. If you’re a newcomer keen on making friends, instead of looking for them at your office, Sametinger suggests joining a club instead, or if you have kids, getting involved with their school activities. “As an expat, you want to make sure you have hobbies.”
4. Don’t underestimate the use of ‘Sie vs. du’
Another important aspect to learning German and thus integrating into the workplace is nailing the respective formal and informal words for ‘you’, Sie and du – a linguistic formality that doesn’t exist in the English language.
In Germany, pretty much all business relationships begin with addressing one another as Sie – similar to interactions in public with strangers. Only when a colleague feels close enough to you is the du form offered — which might or might not ever happen no matter how long you’ve known the person.
“The use of it is a challenge for English speakers to understand, and they tend to judge it negatively, but the formality shouldn’t be underestimated,” says Sametinger.
While it depends on the relationship you have with your colleagues or customers, utilizing ‘Sie’ is commonplace in a business environment “as a way for Germans to create boundaries.”
Failing to do so could make you seem “disrespectful,” Sametinger notes, adding that your best bet would be to take the time to “understand the formality and the reasons for it.”
Important to note though is that due to internationalization, many German companies nowadays have actually adopted the use of first names as well as the use of ‘du’ and the trend seems to be growing.
5. Debunking the German punctuality myth
While it certainly cannot be said that Germans always live up to the stereotype of being punctual in all circumstances, when it comes to being on time in the workplace, Sametinger advises taking it seriously.
“It is extremely rude if you show up to meetings late without informing your colleagues. It might be forgiven once, but if you repeatedly do this it could be problematic. Time is seen as precious, and punctuality is very much about politeness.”
Sametinger believes this connects to core cultural values coming from historical concepts and shows up in all aspects of life.
Ultimately, the biggest tip the trainer has for expats keen on working in Germany is to try to put yourself in your German colleagues’ shoes.
“Really use your ears, look around, and try not to judge things in terms of good versus bad. Try to tell yourself it’s just different.”
It may also help to keep in mind that it’s likely just as hard for German speakers employed in English-speaking countries to get used to making small talk with co-workers or addressing them in a way that feels too informal.