Qualifications: What can I do for a living?

Your qualifications - whether a degree or job experience from your home country - need to be recognised in Germany before you start job hunting. Find out more about the recognition of foreign certificates in the chapter Recognition. If you do not have a formal degree but have extensive experience in a profession, you can have your qualifications checked. You will find qualification tests in English for various jobs at https://www.meine-berufserfahrung.de/.

These tests reveal where you stand professionally. You can take your test result to the Jobcentre and do another longer, more comprehensive test there (https://www.myskills.de/). This second test enables the Jobcentre and potential employers to better assess your skills and experience and helps you find a job that matches your qualifications. You can also start advanced training ("Weiterbildung") based on your current knowledge and skills.

Job market: Which professions exist in Germany?

If you do not have a vocational qualification and do not know what career path you should follow, contact a Vocational Information Center ("Berufsinformationszentrum" or BIZ) in your area or seek advice online at Berufenet. There you can read about many different professions, learn more about the typical activities they encompass and the qualifications required for them. The employees in the BIS or the Employment Agency can also tell you in which profession you have a better chance of finding a job in Germany. A list of occupations for which there is currently a shortage of personnel in Germany can is available here. You can learn more about studying in Germany in our chapter on the University System.

Job Search: How to find a Job?

The first point of contact for job hunting is your local Employment Agency. There, you can register as a job seeker and benefit from their assistance and advice. On the website of the Employment Agency, you will also find a job search engine ("Jobbörse") where you can search for your ideal job.

 

There are a handful of other employment websites on the internet. There you can register and often create a profile to describe your qualifications and experience for the potential employers. Then, these employment websites automatically send you any new job offer that suits your profile, so you do not have to search for new vacancies every day. The potential employers may also view your profile and consider you for a relevant position.

The largest employment websites on the internet are, e.g. www.monster.de, www.stepstone.de, http://www.jobbörse.de/, www.adzuna.de and the job section of Make-it-Germany.de. In addition to these websites, there are also some employment websites which offer services specifically for refugees: For instance, www.workeer.dewww.jobs4refugees.dewww.jobbörse.de, www.work-for-refugees.de, www.careers4refugees.dewww.welcome2work.de, www.hire.social/home-en-us.

On these websites, you can find jobs as well as apprenticeships. Some of these employment websites even assist you in the application process. Academics and professionals from Syria can also refer to the Syrvive employment website.

Important: Sometimes, one can use different titles to refer to the same activity. So, while searching for jobs on the Internet, remember to try different titles used for the profession you seek. Find a list of synonyms for different job titles at Berufenet.

 

If you already know which companies you are interested in, you can search for possible vacancies directly on their websites, usually under headlines such as "Jobs" or "Career".

 

Having an account on social networks like Xing or Linkedin can also help you in your job hunting. You can create a profile for free and list your qualifications and professional experience and connect with people from the same field.

 

You can also find job advertisements in local and national newspapers in Germany. There are nationwide job ads on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Frankfurter Rundschau, as well as Die Zeit daily. You can find these newspapers in your local library every day, so there is no need to purchase them.

 

You can also get to know about interesting companies and job vacancies at job fairs or companies' open house days. There, you have the opportunity to get in direct contact with the companies. You can find some relevant tips here. And here is a list of various job fairs and the date they take place. In larger cities, regular job fairs are specifically held for refugees.

 

There are plenty of counselling centres where you can seek support in your job hunting. You can find counselling services in your area, for example, at the Youth Migration Service ("Jugendmigrationsdienste" or JMD) and Migration Counselling for Adults ("Migrationsberatungen für Erwachsene "). The staff there speak many languages.

 

If you are not sure which occupation you would like to follow or in case your job applications have been rejected, you can do an internship first. An internship usually lasts several weeks or months. During an internship, you will get to know and try the profession in question and the company- after the internship, you may be able to continue working there. The Youth Migration Service ("Jugendmigrationsdienste" or JMD) and Migration Counselling for Adults ("Migrationsberatungen für Erwachsene" can provide you assistance regarding the internship. The staff there speak many languages.

Application: Which documents do I need?

If you have found an interesting job advertisement, the first step is to apply for it. Most companies require a written application - to be sent either by email or per post. How and when to apply is often mentioned in the job advertisement. Generally, applications are not considered when submitted after the deadline. Sometimes, you can also apply directly online.

Writing a well-articulated application is very important. Usually, the application has to be written in German. In your application, you must describe your qualifications and experience and convince the employer that you are the ideal candidate for the job.

A perfect application consists of:

If you have obtained your certificates from abroad, you must have them translated in advance. The Jobcentre usually covers the costs of translation. Your adviser at Jobcentre can provide you with more tips on the subject.

You can find useful tips here, in case you need help organising your documents. You can also seek advice from various counselling centres. You can find counselling centres in your area, for example, at the Youth Migration Service ("Jugendmigrationsdienste" or JMD) and Migration Counselling for Adults ("Migrationsberatungen für Erwachsene"). The staff there speak many languages.

Interview: How do I convince the employer to hire me?

If the company likes your application, you will be invited for an interview. However, your application may also be rejected. If that is the case, don't worry, go ahead and apply for other positions at other companies. If you receive an invitation to a job interview, try to prepare for the interview beforehand. You should have some general ideas about the company and position and know how to answer relevant questions. Here you can find some advice for a successful job interview. You can also seek advice or apply for an "application training" ("Bewerbungstraining") at the Federal Employment Agency - ask your advisor for more information about this type of training. You can also find counselling centres in your area, for instance, at the Youth Migration Service ("Jugendmigrationsdienste" or JMD) and Migration Counselling for Adults ("Migrationsberatungen für Erwachsene"). The staff there speak many languages.

Application accepted/rejected: what's next?

A few days or weeks after the job interview, you will often receive a reply from the company to let you know whether you will get the job. If you are chosen for the job, It is important that you read your employment contract carefully before signing it. You can also take a copy of your contract to a counselling centre and seek advice. You can find counselling sessions in your area, for example, at the Youth Migration Service ("Jugendmigrationsdienste" or JMD) and Migration Counselling for Adults ("Migrationsberatungen für Erwachsene"). The staff there speak many languages.

If it didn't work this time, do not give up!  Just apply for other positions and companies. With some luck, next time you might just find the job you like.