Working and Studying
Check our essential tips to find a student job in Germany
Ideally, students would have all of the money they need to live comfortably and complete their studies with minimal stress. But that's not always the case, and many students experience financial crises during their studies. Thankfully, solutions are available, and working while studying is a very common option.
However, before you answer an appealing job advert, there are some things to know that could give you the best possible chance of finding work that pays well and gives you valuable experience. So here are our key tips to bear in mind when seeking work at a German university.
1. Use the Right Job Search Websites to Cast your Net Widely
Whenever you search for work, life will be much easier if you consider the maximum number of potential jobs. And that's especially true during your time as a student.
The university notice board is a good place to start, but it won't be as up to date as online listings. Check your school's online resources which aggregate as many local openings as possible.
There are also specialist sites which collect English language jobs, such as child-minding or tutoring. The Local is a good resource here, providing up to date listings across Germany.
2. Create a CV that Employers Won't Be Able to Ignore
Before signing up for employment websites, it pays to spend a few hours putting together a killer resume. You'll have to choose whether to use German or English here. If you write everything in German, you may arouse more interest from employers, but they will expect you to be a fluent speaker. If you aren't confident yet, stick to English on your CV, and apply for jobs that suit international students.
The CV should include brief details of relevant work experience, personal information such as your full name and date of birth, education information, and a section entitled Qualifikationen und Kenntnisse where you can add a little about your hobbies and interests. Keep things concise at all times, and try to stick to two pages, maximum.
Germans also tend to include a Bewerbungsfoto (photograph) with their CV. You don't need to include it, but it can help. Choose a photograph that shows you in a professional outfit, looking ready to start work immediately.
3. Think About Working at Your University
In some cases, international students are able to work within their university. This can be a good way of earning money, while gaining experience and being close to the library - so the distractions of work can be kept to a minimum.
Student posts tend to be advertised on departmental noticeboards, and may be available at the International Office, so feel free to inquire. They can include research and teaching positions, lab support, or tasks as routine as stacking bookshelves.
In any case, in-house work has a big advantage over regular work. Students can work as many days as they like every year, without contravening working regulations. Just remember to inform the local Ausländerbehörde if you do take up university jobs.
4. Be Aware of German Regulations When Taking Student Work
On a related note, if you choose to work with local restaurants or companies, you will need to ensure that you don't work too many days throughout the year. Under German law, students from outside the EU can work 240 half days, or 120 days during the year - and no more.
And don't be tempted by online mini-jobs which demand that workers assume freelance status. Non-EU students can't take freelance work, so avoid those jobs if possible.
Finally, check your income levels. It probably won't be an issue for part-time student employees, but non-EU visitors can earn €450 per month tax-free. Above that level, and you'll start paying hefty taxes, something some students cannot afford.
5. Be Ready for Your Student Interviews
Our final tip could be the most important. German employers prefer to stage interviews before making a final decision, so applicants will need to present themselves well and meet the expectations of their potential bosses.
Some general rules apply. Obviously, dress smart. That's a given. Try to avoid using critical language or making too many light-hearted comments - just stick to the job requirements and your accomplishments. Confidently explain how your work experience and degree help to make you a suitable candidate, and don't talk more than you need to. Answer the questions directly and in a friendly manner, and you'll do fine.
Keep those things in mind and you're sure to find a job that allows you to fund your studies and achieve the grades you deserve.