how to apply for a job in germany

How to Apply for a Job in Germany – Introduction

how to apply for a job in germany

Anyone who is at least a bit interested in the news these days will know that Europe is currently going through a deep financial and economic crisis.

Although I don’t want to go so far and say that Germany and German companies were not affected by the current situation, they undoubtedly are faced with challenges and unemployment is well-known, the situation is still far better than in many other european countries and even worldwide.

The Goethe Institut just released some interesting statistics on how the interest in learning German has increased in many European countries, and I see the same on my own site Deutsch Happen and its Facebook page.

In order to find a job in Germany, it will most likely be requested that you speak German. I cannot make a general statement of the level of proficiency, I would say this depends very much on the company you’re working at / want to work for.

My experience from my days as a language coach tells me that in branches like banking / finance and IT, it’ll not be required that you are proficient in German upon arrival but a good level of German is certainly an advantage and will facilitate you the start in your new life quite a bit.

Before you can move to Germany though and start your new job, comes the application process and the job interviews. There are, of course some parts that are the same in whatever country you might apply for a position, but there are also regional differences to pay attention to.

Therefore, I would like to give you some tips on how to write a CV or resume when you want to get a job in Germany or work for a German company.

You might also want to subscribe to the German Hacks podcast to get practical information on the German language itself but also how the German mind works, how we think and react.

A complete job application, called die Bewerbungsmappe in Germany, consists of the following parts (called die Bewerbungsunterlagen). If every single part is always requested depends on the company, the position you apply for and the branch you work in. You usually find the indications necessary in the job description or advert.


  • das Deckblatt mit Bewerbungsfoto – cover with picture
  • das Bewerbungsschreiben – cover letter
  • der Lebenslauf mit Bewerbungsfoto –  CV / resume with photo

If your application has no cover then you need the so called “third page” – die dritte Seite.

Besides, recommendations, references or reports and credentials can be requested (Empfehlungsschreiben, Referenzen, Zeugnisse etc.). That, again, depends on the individual job and company.

In my next article I will write about the cover and the cover letter, what to write and how they should look like.

Picture by octaviolopez via Morguefile

  • Erik_Andersen

    Kirsten – – As a commited German learner who will one day relatively soon dive into immersion in Germany (likely Berlin) this gives me some insight into the process. A few other learning sites I’ve used have also covered this aspect as part of the cultural background, but not provided the terminology and details you have. I look forward to the next part. Now… how to deal with being a ‘mature’ job seeker (i.e. over 50!) in Germany? Cheers… Erik

    • Hi Erik, thanks a lot for your comment. I am glad that you like this mini series and find it helpful. To your question: as you are an IT professional you will have a slightly better chance to find a job in Germany as there aren’t enough at the moment. On the other hand, especially in Berlin, you have a lot of competition from young and well educated IT pros from eastern Europe.

      • Kirsten… Saw your latest post today and it’s all helpful… but now after your reply I’m feeling distinctly old… 😉 Cheers… Erik

        • You know, in today’s society it’s over once you crossed the 25 😉

          • Ouch Kirsten!!… that means it’s over for me twice! Give me a break ;-)…

          • That’s something you need to get used to in Germany, especially in Berlin. We are direct, no fuss, no small-talk 🙂

  • Pingback: How to Apply for a Job in Germany - The Cover Letter()

  • Pingback: How to Apply for a Job in Germany - The Application Picture()