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4 uncomfortable truths about your job search in Germany

Let’s be honest: Building your career in Germany can be difficult. Especially as an international. While Germany needs a lot of international talents for it’s economy to replace older workers retiring, it’s still common that as an international, you will encounter difficulties on the job market.

But as with every challenge in life, once we understand it, we can also overcome it. This is why in this blog post, we want to discuss 4 uncomfortable truths about your job search in Germany, and also point out how to solve them. Ready to dive in?

1. Many jobs require German

You might have noticed this already: Scrolling through the different job portals many job postings still ask for German fluency.

While I personally believe that companies should be more flexible and provide German training on the job, our main recommendation is that if you are looking for a job in Germany, you should start learning German as well.

Not only will learning German help your chances on the job market, it will also make dealing with authorities easier.

And because learning German will take some time, we’d recommend to start learning right away if your goal is to build a successful career in German.

So sign up for that course, download that language app and even more important, make a habit out of improving your language skills. And don’t forget to include in your CV that you’re already learning German. Recruiters will appreciate it!

2. Competition is very high

Germany is a very attractive market. It offers many great job opportunities and has some great benefits, especially when it comes to health and work-life-balance.

But this also implies that there are many talents who want to build their career in Germany. Hence, to maximize your chances to land a job, you need to stand out from the other applicants and convince your future employer that they should hire you.

But how can you do that?

First you should look to optimize your application documents. You need a CV that tells the recruiter you are the perfect fit for the position. On top, we recommend having a cover letter that not only pitches you as the candidate that will help the company solve their problems, but also shows them your motivation to work there.

And, lastly, you need to have a strong LinkedIn Profile and actively network on there with recruiters but also professionals from your industry.

If you want to have a step by step guide for this, we recommend to you our online Job Search Master Class for internationals that will teach you exactly how to optimize your applications documents and your LinkedIn profile for your job search in Germany so that you can convince German employers you’re the best candidate that they should hire.

3. The recruiting process is still very traditional

We receive a lot of questions if humans still read applications and if you still need to send cover letters as these are “old-school”. We can’t speak for the whole world, but let us tell you that in Germany, application documents are still read by human beings.

And the expectations of most recruiters in Germany are still very traditional. Some companies might be testing some new application methods, but if there are no specific instructions on it, the standard is that you should still send a CV and a cover letter.

Remember, if used correctly, both documents in combination are your best entry cards to a company so this can be your chance and work to your advantage. They might take time some time to create, but you’ll definitely see positive results.

4. No feedback after rejections

After a rejection from a German company, you will hardly get any feedback on what to improve. This is because most HR departments have regulations that they don’t give out negative feedback. With this, they protect themselves against being sued for discrimination during the recruitment process.

This is of course a pity because it makes it hard for you to understand what exactly it is that you’re doing wrong.

But what you can try do is the following: Try to get the recruiter on the phone and ask for feedback verbally and instead of written. A lot of times they will be more open to give you feedback via the phone, because it doesn’t leave written evidence.

Once you get them on the phone, you can also try this method: Instead of asking why they rejected you, ask why they hired the other person. It’s easier to talk positively about someone else than negatively about you. After you got the answer, you can still draw your conclusions about what skills or attributes you were lacking and what you can improve in the future.

Summary: 4 uncomfortable truths about your job search in Germany

As we discussed, Germany has a lot to offer but it can also be difficult to build your career as an international. In this article, we discussed 4 uncomfortable truths about difficulties you might face on your German career journey. However, most importantly, we also discussed 4 solutions to those challenges: Building a habit of learning German, optimizing your application documents, and knowing how to talk to recruiters.

We hope that the tips we discussed are helpful for you. And if you still want more guidance, check out our Job Search Master Class, a guided course designed by recruiters in Germany to help you boost your application documents.

Picture of Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach

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