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The Berlin Life

Finding A Job In Germany ... The Struggle Is Real

published3 months ago
3 min read

Hallo there Reader -

Have you struggled when you were searching for a job in Germany?

I know I have. Let me re-share part of my career journey in Berlin.

I moved here in November 2014, with a job contract already secured. Some months into the new job, I saw the company wasn't doing well. It was pretty obvious when they stopped paying us on time or at all.

I quickly found a new job and left them in September 2015 and they closed their doors not long afterward. Then in January 2016, I was laid off from my new job and it wasn't even just me - it was my entire team.

I went on a string of interviews, got three offers, and I finally settled on one. That had never happened to me before! I was super grateful for the opportunities.

I started my next job in March 2016 and managed to last 18 months when layoffs affected me AGAIN.

In July 2017, I began yet another new job where I stayed for three and a half years. Then the pandemic came and my company really suffered from it, putting all staff on Germany's short-time work program, Kurzarbeit, where your hours and pay are reduced by a set amount determined by your employer.

While working fewer hours was pretty great, the lower salary wasn't something I could work with long-term. I started looking for work and this time around, it wasn't so easy.

I spent several months applying for jobs, writing personalized cover letters, getting countless rejections, interviewing, completing tests, running workshops, and even going to the last step of the process with a few companies ... who still rejected me after I spent so much time with them. Some companies didn't even bother to respond to my applications.

I lost sooooo much confidence during this time. It was hard to feel motivated to keep going. I wondered what was wrong with me and why it was taking so long. It gave me a lot of anxiety and kept me up at night.

Finally, I made it to the end with two more companies and got two job offers, one of which I happily accepted.

But what a process. It wasn't fun. I hated every single moment.

Have you felt like that too? From the people I coach to people I've met in some of my past career workshops, many people report that searching for a job in Germany is a really long and hard process. Especially if you're coming from abroad and aren't used to the culture and the employment landscape here.

Why I am sharing my story? I want to let you know that you're not alone and sooner or later, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel and you'll find a job.

There are some of the things you can do to improve your odds:

1) Post in our Facebook group. Vent your frustrations, find out what worked for others, share your success stories, and more. We want to hear from you!

2) Be strategic about your job search. Make sure you're applying to the right jobs and not just any job you see. Read my past newsletter blast to find out more on the topic.

3) Revamp your job application package. Learn how to master writing a cover letter and creating a German CV. Browse our Working In Berlin guides for even more information.

4) Improve your German. Find out why it's important.

5) Complete in-depth company research and include that in your cover letter and use the information in your interviews.

6) Prepare for job interviews by listing out questions you want to ask in advance and taking bullet-point notes on how to answer common interview questions. Self-reflect after the interview and take notes on how you felt and what additional questions you might have for the company. Read our interview guide for even more tips.

7) Send a thank you note after an interview.

8) Track your job applications in a spreadsheet (we'll have a FREE template for that coming soon!).

9) If you can (and I know it's not always possible), take a break for a few days or longer so that your entire focus isn't always on finding a job.

10) Get the help of a career coach (like me) or one of these other lovely people.

I wish you all a very lovely weekend.

Until next time,

Founder - The Berlin Life