application for a job position

Job Application

After arriving in Germany, finding accommodation, and arranging a health insurance, it's time to start looking for work. And as any job-seeker knows, that means completing as many job applications as it takes until you find the right position.

However, what every job-seeker doesn't know is that a job application in Germany can be a little different to elsewhere. Let's explore the theme a little further and help you land a dream job. 

How to apply for a job in Germany

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Every position is slightly different, and there may be minor variations in specific sectors of the economy. However, in most cases, the process of applying for a job in Germany will run roughly like this. 

1. Research the best areas to work

Firstly, you'll need to know which jobs are needed in Germany? There are some excellent resources around which aggregate German jobs data, but the government's Make it in Germany portal is probably the best option to start with. So if you're wondering if there are jobs in Germany within your sector it's a great place to begin the journey. 

2. Ensure that your qualifications are recognized

You will also need to ensure that your existing qualifications are officially recognized in Germany. Again, the government runs a handy site to check whether your degree is sufficient, or additional training will be required. And sometimes, the answer to the question "can foreigners work in Germany" is unfortunately no. If your qualifications aren't in demand or recognized, work will be hard to find. 

3. Search job vacancies

Now you can start searching for specific posts, and finding jobs in Germany for foreigners is usually surprisingly easy. Make it in Germany gathers together a lot of jobs that are suitable for foreign applicants. 

If you are looking for jobs in Germany for English speakers, try resources like Englishjobs.de or the German branch of Indeed. And if you are wondering how to apply for a job in Germany from India​, check out MonsterIndia. There should be a wide range of potential openings. 

4. Complete your application

Next comes the application. This requires an updated resume, a current photograph, and copies of any relevant professional qualifications. See below for information about the CV and cover letter

5. Secure a working visa

After being accepted, there's still work to do. When you have secured a contract, you can then apply for a working visa via a local consulate or embassy. If you already have a six month job-seeker visa, in which case you'll be able to convert that into a long-term permit. 

6. Organize health insurance

Every worker in Germany must be insured, and there are plenty of providers to choose from. This is where Expatrio's expertise and contacts help you to secure a coverage that balances healthcare and value for money. 

Tip

Different levels of insurance include different benefits. Whichever you choose, don’t forget that health insurance is compulsory for all!

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With our Health Insurance Plus you will benefit not only from the best healthcare coverage, but also from additional benefits which we have packed for you.

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The Cover Letter

How to nail this important component in the job application process

The cover letter is a key aspect of the job application process, but it's also something that many job-seekers get wrong. So here are some basic do's and don'ts to keep in your mind: 

DO 

  • Ensure that you address the correct contact person. If necessary, give the company a call to check that you have the right individual.
  • Be honest about your achievements and abilities, but show your passion and interest in the job you are applying for as well.
  • Stick to the job and its responsibilities, or any qualifications that are relevant to the post. Don't waste time talking about your hobbies or other activities.
  • Add a hand-written signature at the end of the letter. It's a nice human touch and shows that you haven't churned out a form letter for the post in question.

DON'T 

  • Write in large paragraphs without space in between. Use shorter paragraphs where possible, with short sentences that are easy to read.
  • Use slang or informal language. Avoid sounding conversational. Reading the letter back after completion can help to achieve the right balance of personal content and formality.
  • Resort to exaggerations or untruths. Any dishonesty is sure to be exposed, and often jumps out of cover letters as a potential red flag.

Can I get a job in Germany without speaking German?​

The idea of writing a cover letter in German can be out of the question for some people, but as we've seen, there are plenty of English language jobs in Germany. In these cases, cover letters will still be needed, and the same rules apply - just translated into English. 

How to structure a typical cover letter

Most cover letters follow a similar template. The first paragraph states the full name of the position, and may reference the referrer who informed the applicant about the job. 

The second paragraph explains why the applicant is interested, what qualities that have that make them suited to the job, any relevant experience in the field, and discusses how the applicant will contribute to the company in the future. 

The third paragraph lets the company know when the applicant is available for an interview (or phone interview if they cannot be in Germany at that time). And the fourth paragraph states what has been supplied with the letter (such as a CV and photographs), and includes contact details for the applicant. 

The Curriculum Vitae

Find out more about this vital feature

Your CV sums up your personal history, and forms a core point of reference for German employers, so it's vital to get your CV right when applying

There are some important differences between German CVs and the ones that applicants may be familiar with as outlined by German Language Jobs. Most importantly, there's no room for boasting or stressing personal qualities on a German CV. So stick to relevant information, instead. And in Germany, CVs tend to include a passport-sized photo in the top right corner, something that US or UK versions lack. 

The content of the CV is also slightly different to other countries. German CVs always start with educational information (from high school level to postgraduate), before listing work experience. German employers also tend to be more keen to see supporting documents (such as professional certificates or degrees). These should be supplied along with the CV in either hard or digital formats. 

How to create the perfect German CV

If you want to wow employers, keep in mind these simple tips and you should do fine: 

  • Education first, then work, then anything else
  • Keep it short. Two pages is routine.
  • Remember the photo in the top right corner.
  • Include your address, email address, phone number, date of birth, and full name at the top of the document.
  • Use bullets to list your accomplishments in jobs or academic courses.
  • If you have any gaps, be sure to provide a short explanation.
  • Don't include reference addresses. Instead, you'll need to secure written references to send to your prospective employer.

When applying for your visa

This advice also applies to the one page CV for German visa​ applications, and it's a good idea to write both at the same time. The shorter format doesn't require so much detail - just stick to the length of your stay, what kind of work you are seeking, and your professional qualifications. 

The Job Interview

The final step to get your dream job

If your cover letter and CV are successful, you'll be invited for a job interview. And - as with every other stage of the process, it's important to get the interview right if you want to succeed. So, here are some tips: 

  • Make sure you are completely punctual. Any lateness could kill your chances.
  • Dress smartly - even if your work attire is relatively informal. Press your trousers, iron your shirt, and make sure any stains are brushed off before attending.
  • Never criticize past employers or colleagues. Keep things objective and neutral, if possible.
  • Stay engaged, feel free to ask questions, and don't just drone on and on. Employers appreciate applicants who show initiative and can hold a conversation.
  • Be confident about what you have accomplished, and state your achievements clearly - without sounding boastful. And never exaggerate.
  • Do some research about your potential employer. Find out about their leaders, product areas, achievements, and goals.
  • Never overreact. Expect interviewers to be fairly direct, even rude in some cases. They will try to test your initiative and resolve, so don't take their tactics personally.
  • Come prepared with a pen and notepad, preferably with some intelligent questions ready to ask.
  • Eye contact is important, but don't overdo it. When asking questions, be direct and confident, but try to relax as well.

These tips apply to general interviews, but there may be another dimension to the application: tests at an Assessmentcenter

You should be notified in advance if written assessments are part of the schedule, allowing you to prepare accordingly. And if team exercises are part of the program, be aware of what is being assessed. 

Tip

Employers want to see evidence of effective collaboration and cooperation - not personal dominance. So even if you are super-confident, try to help your team members and work with them, not against them.

In general, the process of applying for work in Germany isn't as daunting as it may seem. So don't worry too much about questions like how do I apply for a job in another country​?

Just use the resources available and come up with a killer cover letter and CV!

Learn more about Expatrio

Having lived abroad ourselves, we know that finding the right information on how to relocate and settle in a new country can be difficult. We know that the lack of digitization and personalized support can make navigating German bureaucracy a very frustrating process. Motivated by these issues, we built a fully digital platform that provides all the general information and services to make your relocation to Germany easier.

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