Looking for a job in Berlin will probably be a time filled with a mix of wonder, impatience, frustration, and excitement. When beginning your job search, I would recommend that you find out as much information as possible from other people who have gone through the same process in Berlin. It can give you some valuable insights and tips on how to approach it.
Here are 10 best tips and resources that I hope will help kick-start your job search and land you a job you love:
1. Check Your Work Permit Status
If you are from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you don’t need a permit to work in Germany, only a valid passport or ID card. If you are from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea or the US, you can also come to Germany without a visa, however, you need to apply for a German residence and work permit from your local Alien’s Authority. Everyone else needs a German visa and residence permit in order to work in Germany, and whether you will get one depends on your qualifications and the sector you want to work in. Here is a glossary of all the different types of visas and residence permits available to you. Thank you Red Tape Translation! If in doubt whether you are eligible to work in Germany, come along to our next Landing Pad Berlin event and ask our resident immigration expert, Surin Ersöz.
2. Get Your Qualifications Recognised
Once you are sure you are able to work in Germany, next check if your professional and occupational qualifications are recognised locally. You can find out if you need to apply for an ‘equivalency review’ simply by typing your occupation into the Recognition Finder on the Recognition In Germany Website. In certain professions, recognition is mandatory. Contact the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentrale Stelle für die Bewertung ausländischer Qualifikationen, ZAB) to get a foreign university degree verified.
3. Learn German
Do you speak German to a level that will maximise your chances of finding a job in Berlin and allow you to do a good job? There are lots of language schools to choose from. This list from My Guide Berlin breaks down 10 of the best by budget. If baby is in tow and you’d like to study during nap times, www.lingoda.com offers very reasonably priced private and group classes online. For group parent plus baby lessons in various locations across town, check out the German Classes with Childminding Classes from Archer Relocation.
4. Write Your CV the German Way
Ask a friend to take a look at your CV and give you their brutally honest feedback. Does it truly characterise your abilities and your potential for contributing to your the next employer’s success? Is it written in ‘the German way’? Due to privacy laws, German companies aren’t allowed to request a photo in their job ads, but they expect and want to see one on your CV nonetheless. They say that a CV with photo provides a more complete representation of the applicant, and allows them to ‘connect’ with the applicant in a way that can’t be done just by scanning words on paper. I know this seems strange to some people, particularly if you come from the US, UK or Canada where labour and anti-discrimination laws prevent employers from requesting a good deal of personal information, but by not including a photo you risk having your application disregarded. Contact Nina Harwick if you need a new professional headshot. You can use the headshot for your LinkedIn and Xing profiles too.
5. Utilise LinkedIn and Xing
With over 500 million users, including 9+ million companies, LinkedIn is an absolute essential in your career toolkit especially when it comes to finding a new job. Make sure your profile is up to date and you know how to use the platform to best support your job search. And don’t forget to enable the ‘Open Candidates’ feature that privately lets recruiters know that you’re open to new job opportunities. Many German speakers use Xing, so I suggest you also set up a profile here since recruiters use both platforms in parallel to headhunt for prospective employees. Xing also has an extensive jobs section.
6. Use Employee Review Sites
Employee review sites can be helpful if you are trying to understand an employer’s culture, employer brand, whether their compensation and pay is fair, and learn about human resources benefits and company policies. Try kununu and Glassdoor.
7. Meet People – Grow Your Network
Human beings hire human beings. So, instead of just sitting behind your computer firing off CV’s to the online abyss, create and take advantage of opportunities to meet as many new people as possible, both in your field and out. Start with the basics: professional associations (‘Verband’), conferences, industry meetups, and networking groups.
8. Go to a Job Fair
Job fairs are an excellent way to bolster your job search. Not only can you meet representatives of various companies all in one place, they also give you the chance to network with other job seekers in your industry. Here is a list of upcoming job fairs, career fairs and training fairs in Berlin in 2018. Don’t forget to send a brief thank you note or email to the people you meet. This will solidify your interest in the company, and remind them of why you are a strong candidate.
9. Use a Recruitment Agency
Type “Arbeitsvermittlung Berlin” into Google to find a list of recruitment agencies. Make sure they are members of the Federal Employer’s Association of Personnel Service Providers or Bundesarbeitgeberverband der Personaldienstleister (BAP), and check if they charge a fee for finding a job for you (some ask for fees of up to 2,000 EUR). You will find several international recruitment agencies operating in Germany, many of which list specialist jobs for expats/ immigrants.
10. Search on the Federal Employment Agency and other Job Search Portals
10. The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA ) is the largest provider of labour market services in Germany, with a network of over 700 agencies and offices around the country. Find their job listings here. There are a whole host of other online portals where you can find your coveted job including Monster and Stepstone, along with more niche portals specialising in various fields and industries. Gesine’s Job Tips and Woloho’s Workletter are both worth signing up for.
Contribution by Melanie Fieseler, from Landing Pad Berlin, an organisation on a mission to help internationals feel settled and at home, and get the most out of their experience living and working in the German capital. Melanie is Managing Director at Melanie Fieseler Consulting.
Melanie is an independent career consultant who counsels men and women on all areas of career development – from assessing their career options to building resilience, and everything in between. Melanie is not your typical career expert – she offers strategic, Germany-specific, no-holds-barred advice and a point of view directly from her talent and recruiting experience at leading multi-national companies.
Come along to Melanie’s ‘How To Find A Job in Berlin’ workshop at the next Landing Pad Event on 28 April 2018, and get all your career and work related questions answered.