How to get a job in Germany

Building a successful career and life in Germany is a dream for many people. Not only does Germany have a strong economy with many job opportunities, it also offers its residents a high standard of living, a strong social security net, and a good work-life balance. But to be able to enjoy all these perks, we need to do one thing first: And that is finding a job. So in this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide for how to to get a job in Germany.

A guide for how to get a job in Germany

How can you follow a systematic approach for getting a job in Germany? We believe it involves an 8-steps plan: 

Step 1: Research your job market opportunities

Step 2: Understand the visa requirements for your country

Step 3: Create an application strategy

Step 4: Create strong application documents 

Step 5: Start to build a network with German employers

Step 6: Start your job hunting process

Step 7: Rock your interviews and get a job offer

Step 8: Get your visa or residence permit if needed

Ready for the deep dive? Let’s talk a closer look.

Step 1: Research your job market opportunities 

The first thing you need to figure out is if you have good chances on the job market. 

In general, Germany offers a lot of job opportunities. And the good news for internationals specifically is that the German Employment Office estimates that the German economy needs 400.000 skilled internationals – every year!

Especially if you fulfill the follow the following criteria you have a very good chances on the German job market: 

  • High level of education that is recognized in Germany, for example bachelor, master or PhD level university degree or a vocational qualification
  • Job experience in your field
  • German language skills

 

Which professions are in most demand?

  • Engineering
  • IT and Data Science
  • Scientists in the STEM field
  • Health and social care (physicians, nurses, elderly care)
  • Craftsmanship and skilled trades

 

Even if you’re not in one of those professions, Germany has a general high need for skilled workers and specialists, for example Digital Marketers as well as Finance, Logistic or HR professionals, amongst others.

But no matter the field you’re in, you should do some research about what kind of jobs are available for you specifically. For this, we recommend you to go to a job portal like de.indeed.com or linkedin.com, type in your job title and start to gather some data: How many search results do you get? And for how many of those do you fulfill the requirements?

If it turns out that there are enough interesting opportunities for you, then it is time to move on to step 2.

Step 2: Understand the visa requirements

Whether you need to worry about visa requirements for entering and working in Germany or not depends on which citizenship you have. Luckily, since introducing the Skilled Immigration act in Germany in 2020, it has become easier for internationals with good education to immigrate to Germany and build their career here.

In general, if you’re an EU citizen or from Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, then you can just enter Germany to work and live here without any further requirements.

If you’re a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the USA, you can enter Germany without a Visa but you need to register for a residence permit within the first 90 days of your stay to take up employment.

If you’re a citizen of some other country that was not mentioned yet, then you do need a specific visa to enter and work in Germany.

In case you want to learn more about the different types of visa requirements, we recommend you to check out our article about how to get a visa to work in Germany.

But one thing is important: No matter what citizen you are, it all comes back to you actually getting a job offer from a German employer. 

So while it’s important to know about the visa requirements now, even more important is to be able to actually get a job offer.

Step 3: Create an application strategy

To increase your chances of getting a job offer from a German company, we recommend you to create an application strategy. 

An application strategy is a detailed plan that you develop to specify what you will do to reach your goal of finding a job in Germany. It will be the basis of all your job search related activities. Having an application strategy will also help you understand what type of jobs to focus on and what type of jobs to avoid and simply don’t waste your time on them.

What does an application strategy entail? 

  • Goal definition: What exactly are you actually trying to achieve?
  • Status quo analysis: What are your professional strengths and why should an employer hire you?
  • Steps to take: What action do you need to take to reach your goal?

If you need help with creating your personal application strategy, you might want to look into getting a German career coach who can help you create a personalized application strategy to reach your career goals in Germany.

Step 4: Create strong application documents

To have the best chances of being invited to interviews, it is important to create very good application documents that tell employers who you are and why they should hire you.

Your application documents should at least consist of a CV, but we also recommend you to write a Cover Letter. You can also add any other certifications and references you have.

If you want to learn more about what your CV should look like, check out our blog post on how to write a CV for applying in Germany.

Step 5: Start to build a network with German employers

Networking is an essential part of getting a job. Why?

While a lot of jobs are still filled with companies posting on job boards, there’s also a hidden job market with jobs that sometimes don’t even make it to traditional job boards. Recruiters of companies are also actively searching for fitting candidates on online networks like LinkedIn or XING.

For internationals, having an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn is especially valuable. Not only can you hear about the newest jobs from international companies in Germany, but you can also use LinkedIn to follow the companies and also interact with their content. You can reach out to employees you find on LinkedIn. And on top, you can start attending (virtual) events within your industry and make sure you use your time wisely to create new contacts and follow up with them. 

Step 6: Start your job hunting process

Now that you have strong application documents and also started to create a network, it will be time to start with your job hunting process. This is the point where you send out your CV and Cover Letter and apply to jobs you find online.

There are a lot of job sites on the internet, but our recommendation is to start with Linkedin.com as well as de.indeed.com

How can you tell which jobs you should apply to and which rather avoid? It’s important that you apply to jobs that truly fit your profile. You should read the job description carefully, especially the part about the requirements. You don’t need to fulfill 100% of the requirements, but the more of the requirements you fill, the higher your chances are.

In this phase, you should also keep track of all the applications that you send. This way you can start to analyze how well you are doing. For every 10 applications that you send out, you should at least get 1 or 2 interview invites.

Step 7: Rock your interviews and get a job offer

Now that you are starting to get invited to interviews, it’s time to show what makes you the best candidate. 

To convince the company that you’re the best hire, you should prepare yourself for your interviews. 

If the interview is taking place online, make sure to check your internet connection and that you are in a quiet environment without disturbance. If the interview is taking place on-site, make sure to plan your trip and arrive early.

You also want to prepare the most typical interview questions. You will probably be asked to introduce yourself, so make sure to have a good answer ready. You can also review the company’s profile on glassdoor.de or kununu.de to gather some information about the questions they like to ask.

Step 8: Get your visa or residence permit if needed

If you were successful in getting a job offer from a company, now is the time to start making your preparations regarding visa and residence permit if needed, and actually starting your job.

Important to know if you indeed need a visa: The process can be sped up with the fast-track procedure for skilled workers that your employer can start with the local authorities.

Don’t forget that once you arrive you still need to get your residence permit at the local foreigner’s office. For that, you will need:

  • Application Form
  • Your passport
  • A photo (biometric)
  • The job offer you received including salary (there is a special form employers need to fill out)
  • In case you have it: the documents for the fast-track procedure
  • The proof that your qualifications are approved in Germany

At this stage you managed to get a job in Germany and start to build your career here! Big congratulations – you can be very proud of yourself. 

Now it is time to enjoy this new stage of your personal and professional life.

Conclusion: How to get a job in Germany

Finding a job in Germany can be a long and difficult process. With this 8-steps plan we hope we can give you some guidance on the way.

To start, it’s important to invest some time into doing research and creating strong application documents. After that, you will need to do a lot of networking and create a routine for applying to the right jobs and convincing German employers to hire you.

If you feel you need help with any of the steps from professional career coaches for internationals in Germany, don’t hesitate and contact us.

Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach for international professionals in Germany.