1. Introduction
  2. Start learning German early
  3. Develop a clear vision of your future job
  4. Develop your Skills
  5. Informational Interviewing
  6. Know the corporate landscape of where you are looking for a job
  7. Create professional application documents both in German and English
  8. Put yourself out there
  9. Create a Record of your Applications

1. Introduction

When you arrive in a new country or city, there is so much to explore and do. But often, time flies, and you get absorbed in the daily happenings of your life and forget about the little things that add up to your professional career entry. You spend all your precious time either studying, trying to gain a good score in your course or exploring the new city and its life. However, executing some other tasks on a regular basis can significantly improve your chances of having a bright, professional career & future.

Saxony has one of the highest proportions of international students in Germany, which means more than one in six students is an international1. In fact, the goal of having 350,000 international students in Germany by 2020 was already achieved in the winter semester of 2016/172. So, there is no denying the fact that the universities in Saxony as well as in Germany are quite popular among global students and enjoy a good reputation for higher education.

But why is it difficult for students especially internationals to easily land a job post finishing the course?

One of the explanations to this problem is – most of the time students do not lay down the groundwork of finding themselves a job or preparing for it while they are studying. They mostly begin their job hunt after they finish their course and thereby lag in the race from those who start early during their studies.

Hence, don’t wait until your job search visa begins upon graduation and start preparing yourself now for the job market. Considering these guidelines will enable you stay you on track of finding yourself a dream job after finishing your college. 😉

2. Start learning German early

We recommend you to continually strive to improve your German language skills. Even though in some popularly growing companies the working language might be English, having an intermediate level of German language would not hurt. It will rather help you to successfully integrate in the company’s working culture. Imagine yourself sitting with a bunch of colleagues & not able to participate in the discussion because you cannot understand the language.

Don’t forget, you do not go to work only to work, but to also to develop a bond and gain trust from your colleagues. And this comes easier by talking and socialising with each other. You should therefore always take advantage of language courses offered by universities and several language schools in Dresden while pursuing your course. You could also visit our blog post on ways to learn and practise German.

3. Develop a clear vision of your future job

Look for a job that matches your personal preferences, skills, interests, and values.

But how do you really do that?

  • Bring clarity in your thoughts and define what you want to achieve in a specific period.
  • Clarify your interests by taking guidance from Career Coaches or talking to Friends, Seniors, Alumni, Professors.
  • Clarify your skills by networking with working professionals at events.

Need professional help to set your goals and realise them?  Here is an intensive workshop conducted by Career Expert to guide you through this process.

If you are someone who will be graduating soon or just graduated and are on a job hunt, you could avail our voucher which qualifies you for free intensive career consulting or goal definition with us.

4. Develop your skills

Your work and practical experience during studies is one of the key criteria for your selection in a future job. Therefore, it’s essential to develop & build upon these skills while you are in college.

There are several ways to accomplish that. You could

  • look for internships or working student positions in the industry,
  • take up some courses, in the direction of those skills, at your University or online,
  • volunteer for organisations and develop those skills,
  • Informational Interviewing (explained below)

5. Informational Interviewing

Another great way of gaining the right information for making a successful entry in the job market is through informational interviewing.

An informational interview is an informal conversation you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you. It is a great research tool and is best done after some prior online research. Please note, it is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings.

You may feel awkward reaching out to people you don’t know. However, most people actually enjoy taking a few moments out of their day to reflect on their professional life and give advice to someone with an interest in their field.

The process to informational interview can be briefly described in the following steps:

  • Research about the career field you want to enter.
  • Prepare for the interview and the questions you intend to ask.
  • Initiate contact. This could be via linkedin, Xing or even via Email or a call (if you have it from the right means)
  • Conduct the interview
  • Follow up

6. Know the corporate landscape of where you are looking for a job

Dresden is the biggest industrial location in East Germany. Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99% of all local companies. Over 236 companies employ more than 19 employees each. The export quota of 50.9% is above the German average. Experts expect a positive growth and development for the future.

The core competencies of the city are Microelectronics/Information and Communication Technology, Nanotechnology/New Materials/Photovoltaics and Life sciences/Biotechnology. Other fields are machine and plant engineering and construction, aviation industry, food industry, printing and packaging technology.

How much a job pays depends on the size and location of the company as well as the position, field of work and your experience. Check out on glassdoor or click here to find more.

7. Create professional application documents both in German and English.

Create a CV that states your competencies.

Here are some key points your CV must have before it is sent out to an HR representative in the company or to whosoever it is stated in the job advert.

  • Work experience
  • Practical experience during studies
  • Educational Qualification
  • College & Study grades
  • Skills

Of course, the order can change depending upon what stage of career you are in. If you are a student, you begin with your educational qualification focusing more on the practical experience accrued and the grades attained during your studies. However, if you a middle level working professional, you focus more on the work experience you gathered in your professional career and avoid talking much about the grades or even the experience gained through internships or others.

Few other things you should keep in mind while working on your CV are:

  • The structure of the CV need be simple and easy to fathom.
  • Ensure it contains no spelling or grammar mistake

Create a new customised cover letter for every job position you apply to. To know how to write a compelling cover letter in Germany, check out our blog post.

Lastly, name resumes and cover letters appropriately. A good example could be: “LastnameFirstname_Resume_Jobtitle” “LastnameFirstname_CoverLetter_Jobtitle”

Key points you must have in your CV:

  • Work experience
  • Practical experience during studies
  • Educational Qualification
  • College & Study grades
  • Skills

8. Put yourself out there

There is nothing that could replace the benefits of networking as it gives you that ultimate chance to directly connect with a company or working professional and seek information that interests you.  As the title rightly states, you must put yourself out there, without which you might miss out on desirable opportunities. Stepping out of your comfort zone is all what it takes to be a good networker.

Learn about the events and find out which ones you prefer and enjoy being at. This way you could develop a habit of it instead of testing out new events every time and never feel comfortable at them.

Analogue or digital networking events like Career Cafes, Vmeet4Career, Tea Talks, Job fairs, Congresses, Meet-ups, Start-up networks, monthly meeting at volunteering organization, Alumni meetings etc are few suggestions to begin with.

Lastly, remember that your active online presence through networking sites like linkedin, XING/ helps your job search

“The best jobs don’t always go to the best qualified, but to the best job hunters.”

9. Establish a Record-Keeping System

Keep a constant track of what jobs you have applied to. Here is an example of how you could structure your job-application database via excel.

  • Company
  • Position
  • Date applied
  • How you applied
  • Date to follow up

If you do not receive responses, then meet a career coach to seek improvement in your job application or self-assessment of your goals. Here’s how you could meet your consultant.

YouTube video

[1] Winter Semester 2018/2019, Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.1, Vorbericht, 2019.

[2] Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik & Grote, 2019.

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