There are many different reasons why people decide to leave their home nations to start anew somewhere else in the world, however, regardless of the reason that motivated you to take such a huge decision, starting a new life means facing new challenges such as language learning, the integration into a new culture or finding a job.
Certain situations such as finding new friends or learning a foreign language depend on your social and learning skills and, of course, on your own interest.
Other situations, such as the financial one, depend not only on our inner ability to deal with economics but also on external factors that we can´t always have under control. One of those external factors is the job market, which is connected to the market´s demand and which varies depending on the sector.
Almost 600.000 job vacancies in Germany are to be filled as soon as possible
But, how is the German job market? Is it true that there are million of job opportunities in Germany? To answer those questions let´s have a look to the german labor market situation:
- According to Eures, Germany has the fourth largest national economy in the world
- Over 90% of the companies are small and medium sized enterprises (which means that two-thirds of all the job opportunities in the country come from them)
- In 2015 Germany came first in terms on foreign trade, just before USA and China
In which sector you can find a job?
Less than 600.000 vacancies were registered in Germany during 2016 and more than 90% of those are to be filled as soon as possible. At the beginning of 2016 the biggest amount of job offers were advertised in:
- Social work & Education
- Manufacturing industry
- Wholesale & Retail Trade
- Maintenance of vehicles
However the advertised job opportunities vary depending on the region. For example, 25 of the 50 largest german companies have their headquarters in NRW. Enterprises such as Deutsche Telekom, Aldi, Bayern or Metro Group are responsible of transformation of this region, which is one of the most important business area of the country. However, the development of the Baden-Württemberg region depends on the performance of small and medium.sized companies, since two thirds of the employees work for a SME. The key sectors here are automotive engineering and metal industry (Daimler AG is located in this region).
Although all the previous differences, there is still something that all these regions have in common: the job application process.
As you can imagine, since Germans are in love with guidelines, the job application process have some specific «rules» you should follow.
Let´s see how you can apply for a job in Germany:
The cover letter is a key document because it is your presentation letter, which means, it is you opportunity to set yourself apart from the other applicants.
In your covering letter, you have to explain the company why you are interested in working with them and why your skills and competences match the job description specification.
As a rule in Germany the most recent professional experiences are usually placed at the beginning, following a photo and your personal information.
The most important categories into which your CV should be divided are:
- Photo and personal details
It is recommended to take a professional photo.
- Professional experience
Including the name of the companies where you have previously worked and a short description of your tasks.
In Germany it is really important to mention which level of education do you have (master, bachelor, elementary school, PhD…). List to which schools and universities did you attend and, also, do not forget to mention if you have done any continuing education course.
- Language skills
If you speak many different language you should explain how well do you speak them. Let´s see how you can do that:
“Muttersprache” – Native Level (C2)
“Verhandlungssicher” – Business Level (C1)
“Fließend” – Fluent (B1/B2)
“Grundkenntnisse” – Basic Knowledge (A1/A2)
Under the title EDV list all your technical skills such as computer skills (Office, Gmail, Outlook) or more specific skills which that are important for your work.
As I previously mentioned, in Germany it is really important to explain which level of education do you have, but it is even more important to prove it.
Therefore you have to attach all your important educational records to prove your education level, as well as all the language certificates that can prove which language level you reached (B1, A2..)
Another important certificate, if not the most, when applying for a job in Germany is the Zeugnis, which is a reference letter written by a previous employer. The Zeugnis is a description of the tasks you accomplished and your performance during the time you worked the company.
Once you have collected all the required documents I highly recommend you to keep two copies. One scanned copy, so you can have it in your computer to make some online applications, and a printed version that you can bring to your next interview.