12 steps for starting your career in Germany
On the website of the Hochschule Bremen (HSB) there is a career guide for international students that you can follow:
- Learn the German language. This will increase your chances of getting a good job in Germany. See also our blog post "German language skills for your career in Germany".
- Develop your career profile. Do you know what you want to achieve, what makes you stand out, which topics fascinate you, what meaningful work should look like for you and what working conditions are good for you? These are the questions you should ask yourself. Based on your answers, you can develop your own career profile (read more).
- Inform yourself about potential employers. Get an overview of the economic developments in the region and in the individual industries (e.g. in the business section of the local newspapers or at the chambers of industry and commerce). If you know more precisely which industry is suitable for you, it is worthwhile researching directly at the respective companies, at the database REGISonline or at the portal Great Place to Work. Also use the Career Gate, the central job and career portal of the HSB for students. Companies, public institutions and independent organizations are presented there and publish job postings.
- Find out more about Germany's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They are the economic engine of Germany and their structure is characterized by fast decision-making processes, proximity to customers and a hands-on mentality. The advantage for employees compared to large companies is often that they have more comprehensive tasks and wider scope for decision making.
- Networking. 60 to 70 percent of all jobs are awarded through networks. Therefore, it is especially important for international students to establish contacts in their new environment. Points of contact outside the university are offered, for example, by sports clubs and career platforms in social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Xing). The HSB Career Service also offers contact and networking opportunities.
- Apply for a job. In Germany, there are relatively formalized guidelines for an application. It usually includes the cover letter, the curriculum vitae in table form, certificates from studies, internships, longer-term part-time jobs and, at the beginning of the career, also the last school report. In contrast to many other countries, a professional application photo is customary in Germany and usually requested. Further tips for a successful application are available from the Employment Agency.
- Prepare your curriculum vitae. It’s perhaps the most important part of your application documents, because it provides information about your professional career, your education and your acquired qualifications. It is especially important that the curriculum vitae is clearly arranged, because the potential employer wants to get an overview of you as quickly as possible.
- Prepare for the job interview. You have been invited to a job interview – congratulations, because you have successfully passed the first barrier! Now you should prepare thoroughly for the interview by reading up on the company and reviewing your curriculum vitae so that you can deliver it in a smooth narrative flow. Otherwise, be authentic, friendly, punctual and appropriately dressed.
- Familiarize yourself with the working conditions in Germany. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is best to find out about the general conditions for working in Germany as early as possible. HSB offers a good overview with further links.
- Become self-employed? You want to start your own business in Germany? In principle, this is possible, but depending on your country of origin (EU or non-EU), different qualifications and permits are required to start a business. International students can find a detailed overview with all the important information at wir-gruenden-in-deutschland.de.
- Apply for a visa. Visa assistance for international students who want to work in Bremen is offered by the bsu (Bremen Service Universität), which is unique in Germany: The bsu is a joint institution of the University of Bremen and the Migration Office Bremen and offers international scientists and students on the campus of the University advice and support in residence matters (read more).
- Share experiences. Exchange experiences with your fellow students, other students, and graduates. This way you can benefit from each other's experiences, learn from them and give each other tips.
We wish you good luck and a successful start to your career!