Find a job in Germany!

Landing your first job in Germany as a foreigner requires thorough preparation and a good understanding of the job market. Follow my tips and tricks to navigate your job search and avoid the mistakes most international job seekers are making.
Find a job in Germany - German Immigration Consultant

How to find a job in Germany?

There are many reasons why internationals struggle to land a job in Germany. In most cases, it’s poor preparation and a lack of focus and consistency. They fail because they don’t research the job market, don’t understand German employers’ expectations of foreign candidates, and make the same mistakes as most other international job seekers.

I can’t find you a job or provide a magic shortcut, but my tips and tricks can help you increase your chances of landing a job in Germany.  

Three approaches to get a job and a work permit in Germany

Most international job seekers try to get a job in Germany by applying from their home country. But the German immigration system also offers other immigration approaches, which in some cases can significantly increase your chances of landing a job.

International job seekers who have a university degree or vocational training that is already recognized in Germany, usually start to look and apply for jobs in Germany from their home country.

Once they receive a job offer, they can apply for a work visa and relocate to Germany. This approach works better in some industries, like IT or healthcare, than in others. Here are some pros and cons of this approach:

Pros

  • You don’t have to quit your current job until you have secured a position in Germany.
  • You won’t have many expenses, except for the recognition of your degree.

Cons

  • Many German employers and recruiting agencies won’t consider your application if you are not in Germany or don’t already have a German residence permit.
  • Some employers prefer in-person interviews.
  • If you are not a citizen of one of the privileged countries*, the visa process can take a couple of months, and some employers might not be willing to wait so long for you.

 

* Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the USA can come to Germany as tourists and apply for a residence permit at a local immigration office. They don’t need to get a work or jobseeker visa at the German embassy in their home country.

An Opportunity Card for job searching could significantly increase your chances if your job search from abroad is difficult and takes a long time. 

The Opportunity Card allows you to spend up to 12 months in Germany looking for a job. If you land a qualified job within this period of time, you can quickly get a residence permit and start working.

Holding an Opportunity Card makes you much more attractive to German employers since you can start working within weeks, and employing you will cause less administrative work for the employer than hiring someone who is still abroad.

Pros

  • If your degree or vocational training is not recognized (yet), you can still get the Opportunity Card by collecting points in different categories, such as experience, age, language sills.
  • Holding an Opportunity Card makes you a domestic applicant, at least from an administrative standpoint.
  • The Opportunity Card status signals to employers that you will be available to start working within weeks.
  • You will be available for in-person interviews. This is especially important if you target jobs in small and medium-sized companies.
  • Upon securing a job in Germany, you can obtain your work and residence permit from the local immigration office. This means you can stay in Germany without having to return to your home country to apply for a residence permit at the German embassy.

Cons

  • When you apply for the visa, you will need proof that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses during the whole stay. However, you will also be able to work part-time while you search for a qualified job.
  • If you don’t secure a job within 12 months, you can’t extend your stay and need to leave Germany.

Studying in Germany and getting a German university degree can also be a good strategy for increasing your chances in the German job market.

This approach makes sense if you are just starting your career or want to continue your education. The degree will boos your prospects, and you will have plenty of time during and after your studies to look for a job.

Pros

  • Employers prefer German degrees since it’s difficult for most of them to assess the quality of foreign degrees.
  • You can build a network during your studies to help you find a job.
  • Internships are common ways to land your first job in Germany, and they can be done during your studies.
  • You can use your stay in Germany to learn German and additionally increase your chances in the job market.
  • After finding a job, you can get your work and residence permit from the local immigration office in Germany.
  • If you don’t secure a job by the time you graduate, you can get a jobseeker visa for up to 18 months.
  • Studying in Germany is less expensive than in many other countries.
  • You can work up to 20 hours/week during your studies and at least partially finance your stay in Germany.

Cons

  • This approach is less suitable if you are well advanced in your career.
  • Although you can work up to 20 hours/week during your studies, you must invest significant money.
  • Taking family members to Germany with you on a student visa can be challenging.

Understanding the German job market

Only about one-third of job openings in Germany are posted on public job markets. The remaining two-thirds are filled through the hidden job market, where positions are not publicly advertised.

This approach saves companies time and money since job ads can be expensive and yield varied results. Instead, companies often opt to fill vacancies by promoting internal staff, relying on recommendations, actively sourcing candidates, utilizing their talent pools, or collaborating with external recruiters and agencies.

Many international job seekers commonly repeat these mistakes:

  • They exclusively apply for jobs listed on public job boards, overlooking the hidden job market, where two-thirds of positions are filled.
  • They compete for the same English-speaking roles that attract numerous other applicants.
  • They limit their job search to platforms like LinkedIn and a few other job boards.
  • They struggle to maintain momentum and motivation as they lose track of their job search activities.

To maximize your chances of success, aim to:

  • Broaden your job search strategy to encompass both the public and hidden job markets.
  • Focus on applying to roles with the most potential and employers that align with your career goals.
  • Efficiently organize and manage your job search activities to stay focused and motivated throughout the process.

My Services for
International Job Seekers

Job
Board

Regularly updated English-speaking jobs for international job seekers in Germany. Many jobs also include visa and relocation support.

700 Curated German Employers

Are you tired of searching for jobs that don't require German? I've done the research for you! Get my curated list of 700 German employers that offer jobs in English and provide visa and relocation support!

Job search tips and tricks

Job search advice, tips, tricks and other ressources for international job seekers in Germany. Subscribe for regular updates!

All about Immigrating, Working and Living in Germany