Six top tips for job seekers in Germany

For many, January's arrival means it's time for a change. In this week's JobTalk, The Local looks at how to go about landing a dream job in Germany.

Looking to shake things up this January with a new job? Follow our tips to make the dreaded German job hunt a little less daunting.

1. Know what you want

Before you start aimlessly browsing the web, it's always a good idea to assess what kind of jobs you can and want to do. If you don't know, ask yourself who you are, what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Make a list of your qualifications, skills and experience to establish where you are in your career and which kind of jobs are realistic for you to go for. Next list some keywords associated with those jobs - this will help narrow down and focus your search. It's a good idea to then translate the job title into German to widen your search to German as well as English language sites.

2. Cast your web

The internet is without doubt the richest resource for job seekers - but there's nothing to say you have to waste hours on end scouring the same job portals. Speed up the process by setting up job alert emails on major employment sites using your keywords and the name of your city. This way you'll be among the first to know when a great opportunity comes up. Beyond the general job portals, it's definitely worth checking for industry-specific employment sites in Germany, say for engineers, medical professionals or lawyers. Individual companies will also advertise openings under Stellenangebote. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for some more job sites to help you on your way.

3. Sell yourself

Before you apply for any position, make sure you've got a killer CV in the German style - see our guide for useful tips. If you in are highly-qualified profession you'd do well to check this government site to see if you can get your foreign-earned qualifications recognised in Germany. Should you need to update your skill set or even retrain, the Volkshochschulen in most cities offer adult education classes at reasonable prices. This English language government website offers information about apprenticeships and on-the-job training in Germany for foreigners.

4. Network

Getting out there and meeting people can be a great way to hear about positions before they get put online. Schmoozing business contacts can be particularly useful if you know what line of work you want to get into or even a dream company you'd like to work for. Look out for tailor-made job networking meet-ups which are held all over Germany.

5. Recruitment fairs

Offline, job recruitment fairs can be a great way to meet German employers face-to-face. Make a good impression by dressing smart and asking specific questions about the company to show you're really interested. Look out for specific fairs that might suit you - job fairs are regularly held for graduates, or there may be one specific for your industry, for foreigners or language speakers.

6. Learn German

Nobody is expecting you to be able to give a physics lecture or discuss the works of Marx auf Deutsch, but there's no doubt you'll be much more employable with basic German. A minimum of a B2 level language course is usually required in many workplaces.

"It's so important, I can't say it enough: Learn German," career adviser Heidi Störr from Push Your Career told The Local. "Of course there are branches where you can work without German, but most people won't be able to get away with this. The better your German, the better chances you have of getting a job."

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