As a child, when we were asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" we surely had some answers ready. Later, this question is often not so easy to answer. There are many different professions, and not many are able to choose a specific vocational training or university degree without having to face hurdles. That's why the Employment Agency has put together lots of informational contents and developed various tools to help you choose a career path.
Which services are available?
If you have no idea which profession you want to learn and practice, you can get some ideas by doing a test on the website of the Employment Agency. The so-called "career self-examination tool" ("Ekundungstool" or CHECK-U) help you find out which vocational training or degree programs might suit you. The test is designed to identify your talents and interests and then proposes fitting occupations accordingly. Keep in mind that to take the test you need sufficient German language skills.
You can take the test in the Vocational Information Center (BIZ) in your area. You can go to the BIZ without prior registration and do both tests at their computer workstations free of charge.
At planet-berufe.de, you can find out your strengths and interests and find suitable vocational training programmes and professions (in German).
If you already have work experience in your home country but do not have a (recognised) professional qualification, there is a test you can take on myskills.de to find out what professions in the German job market fit your skills and knowledge. You can ask the staff at the Jobcentre or Employment Agency for more information about myskills. Your test results can help to find a suitable job offer and they may translate to further qualifications for you. You can make an initial test at home in advance under www.meine-berufserfahrung.de. The tests are available in 12 different languages (German, English, Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Farsi, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian).
Once you've narrowed down your search to a few professional fields or specific occupations, you can find out more about the steps you need to take and the prospects you can expect in these jobs at the local Vocational Information Center (BIZ) or online. The BIZ has informative leaflets and brochures covering all professions. If you have any further question, you can refer to the BIZ staff.
On berufe.tv you will find many introductory videos about different jobs. In these videos, trainees talk about their work and their everyday experiences as trainees. You can find the professions you are interested in directly through the A-Z search or watch all the films available on your field of interest. Through these stories, you get an accurate impression about the job in which you are interested and find out what you can expect during vocational training.
If you need help finding a training place or applying for a spot, the Vocational Information Center (BIZ) can provide you with assistance. At the computer workstations there, you can search for a place in a vocational training programme and also create applications. You can scan your certificates, seek help from staff for searching or writing applications, and print your documents there. In the BIZ, you can also regularly participate in workshops or use coaching on how to write a proper job application. On the website of the Employment Agency, you can search for a BIZ branch nearby.
You can also use the app "AzubiWelt" to search for a training place.
If you have decided to study at university, visit our chapter "University Application" and "University System" for more information. In addition, you can visit the portal "abi" to learn more about different fields of study and university education.
If you need assistance in finding the right job or require information about the prerequisites or usual tasks a profession entails, you can also contact the Vocational counselling at your local Employment Agency. The staff there are knowledgeable about the job market and know what jobs are in high demand. They can also help you to find a training place.
The Vocational counselling staff can also support you if you are not yet ready for to start a vocational training programme because, for instance, your German is not good enough yet or you do not have a school leaving certificate. If these cases apply to you, you can continue your education through a so-called pre-vocational training program ("berufsvorbereitende Bildungsmaßnahme") and make up for the lack of qualification. If you actually meet the requirements but still find no training spot, the so-called introductory training ("Einsiegsqualifizierung") may be beneficial for you. Introductory training entails of a six-month internship in a company during which, you not only get an initial insight into your dream job but also gain some experience and increase your chances of finding a training place. On www.einfachzukunft.de you can learn about the experiences of former participants of introductory training programmes in different languages (German, English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Tigrinya). If you are interested in a pre-vocational training or introductory training, talk to the vocational counselling staff at the jobcentre or Employment Agency.
For refugees, there are special programs in different cities to help them find a job or vocational training position. You can find out more in our chapter "Who helps me find a vocational training position?".