If you know the right way how to find a student job in Germany, you’ll always have a job. I’ll show you all the tips to do the job hunt right.
If you just entered especially in the time of Covid-19, you must read and understand every part of this guide. Finding a student job during the pandemic is very difficult. I will be explaining how to pursue finding a student job and career path in Germany.
Even pre-pandemic finding a student job was difficult for various reasons e.g. not knowing enough German language, not having the right skills, living in a small town, etc. but still, 2 out of 3 students in Germany worked beside their studies. To find student jobs in Germany, you must overcome these reasons and need to know how to find a student job. It’s important since you have to find a way to pay your monthly cost of living as an international student in Germany. This article is going to be your guide with all the tips and steps to find a student job in Germany. Make sure you read and understand each step of it as I’ll be talking about the German recruitment system, side jobs, working as a student in a German company and university, how to find students jobs in Germany and many more. I’ll always be updating this guide with fresh information over time to keep you informed and make it the best guide for how to find a student job in Germany in every corner.
Let me first start with my experience of how I faced and managed to set my professional and career-oriented goals, meanwhile without disrupting my academic and social goals. I feel the lack of wholesome information, proper guidance, and incomplete research led me to counter unnecessary hurdles. Therefore, allow me to share my experience of how I managed from being an unemployed student to securing a professional and career-oriented student job for as long as 3 years.
Have you already read these two articles? If not, I highly recommend to read them at your ease:
My Story, May Be Like Yours or So
How I got my student jobs in Germany?
My story may not be the most eccentric one, but it most certainly will help new students arriving in Germany to avoid unnecessary efforts during the process of preparing, searching, and applying for student jobs. It is important to note that presentation and selling the skill sets are equally important to employers as the portfolio of the skill sets itself. Therefore, it is of fundamental relevance to fully understand the job description by spending some time to research about the employer, and simultaneously be able to reflect one’s interest in the most attractive and factually correct manner to the employer.
When I came to Germany, I didn’t know the language and I was studying in a small city, Erlangen. My master’s program was unlike my bachelor’s program. The program was rigorous, so I focused full-time on my studies. The faculty that was offering my specialization courses of the master’s degree in Erlangen has a bit of resemblance with my previous studies and some of my skills could have been useful there. So as soon as I noticed that my blocked amount is draining every month I emailed most researchers if they have a student job position known as HiWi. I had interest but panic as well. I composed a thorough application (CV and cover letter) and did a bit of research, therefore I was expecting replies.
I got two responses that they don’t have a position and one would have offered a position but he is about to finish his Ph.D. He wrote me that your interest seems genuine and your profile matches. He inquired, “But why did you send your CV and cover letter to almost everyone in faculty?” Honestly, my response was as naive as a new student would be arriving in Germany would be. After a week I visited him to seek further guidance. Thanks to him for giving me time and guiding me. He explained that this could kill your chances even if you are a good fit, so I should follow the same approach never ever. I told him I did so around my interest and panic. And asked him how did you get to know this. To which he responded when we get an interesting candidate we distribute it to our colleagues if they need a student with such a profile. He sent my profile to others and they already had it too. He asked about a post Ph.D. researcher if I have sent him too. You guessed it, I did. He told me to visit his office next building if he has time and give him a kind reminder as he has a non advertised HiWi position. As the position was a short time, I worked there for 4 months.
I was jobless for the next few months. Being not able to get a relevant job I worked a few days in a restaurant. Continuous research about how to find a job, visiting job fairs, and so on helped to understand the correlation of skillset and job search. This changed the complete mindset and eventually, I found a HiWi that had been a career turning point. Focused on that I started looking in the future who I wanted to be and how can I achieve it. I switched my degree to Information Engineering and later found a student job where I started software development from scratch and my interest in machine learning showed me the path to data science where I wanted to be. I worked there for almost 3 years while giving and getting guidance about jobs in Germany. After founding Leazear, we want to connect students, universities and companies. So I had the chance to sit with employers and understand what they want to see in candidates as potential employees. This is how I can put light on how to find student jobs in Germany.
The German recruitment system is not like in any other country. Therefore, it’s important to know how German employers hire. In this section, I’ll explain must-knows about the German recruitment system
1. Why German Companies Hire Students:
German companies hire students mainly for two reasons:
- They need someone for a short-term contract for a few hours per week to get the work done as they cannot afford a full-time employee or not needed at all.
- They want to hire a student who can help the team and grow with the team. The student can build a skillset along the way so that can employ them full-time at the end of the degree.
- Experience matters a lot to employers rather than just a degree. At the end of the degree, students who have worked in a professional environment understand business cultures and have the experience are more beneficial.
2. German Recruitment Process:
- Employers advertise jobs opening on job search platforms or outsource them to recruiters (consultants).
- For students’ information: Students are not usually hired by outside recruiters, so they have to directly apply to the companies.
- The process for the students is very direct as compared to full-time positions.
- Student job seekers match their profile with the job descriptions and apply. If the company finds your CV and cover letter matching the position, you’ll get a chance for an interview.
- Once you have a good impression during the interview and stand as the top candidate, you might get the offer.
- There is usually a probation period in which the employer assesses your performance and if you do well, your contract will be expanded.
3. Understand German Business – and Cross-Culture
As every country has its own culture, similar every business has its own culture. You ask employees about company culture, everyone would have a different answer. Company culture is something that drives it e.g. shared values, goals, practices, communication, etc. It develops the professional life of the employees. For general understanding, you can learn more about company culture in this article. Short notes about business
The most important part is the business language in Germany is German and if a company is international, in their normal conversations they speak German. So make sure, you know German or putting effort daily to learn it. Otherwise, you’ll feel excluded on multiple occasions.
As you might be coming from another country, cross-culture communication plays an important role. It’s not easy to observe everything in a small amount of time. If you lack the German language, you’ll miss a lot to get a taste of the German culture to be at cross-culture communication. It’s a journey that you have to start somewhere and for starters, I would suggest that you read this article for cross-culture communication.
Note: If you have all the skills but not a good fit for the company culture, it’s highly probable that you’ll not be hired.
4. What are Jobs Platforms and How To Search
There are plenty of job platforms in Germany where you can find student jobs of different categories.
5. Send Unsolicited Applications
Some jobs are not advertised on job search platforms. You can look for companies in your city or nearest city that can be the best fit for you as an employer. You can find the list of companies in your city by just searching online. You can send them an email inclosing a CV and an unsolicited cover letter. If they have a vacant student or part-time position that matches your profile, they will schedule an interview with you.
Note: Make sure the company profile matches your skillset and interests otherwise it will not be fruitful efforts.
6. Contact Stores, Restaurants, Factories or Similar For Student Jobs
Many students who don’t find a job at a German university or company opt for other jobs. These jobs can be referred to as odd or side jobs. I call them side jobs for a positive feeling. Call it a survival job if you want. Definitely walk into these places or email them to inquire about students’ jobs. I strongly suggest taking any job that would keep your monthly costs covered but always try to find a job that will boost your CV.
7. Network to Find Students Jobs
Do the networking, networking and networking. German employers take recommendations seriously. If you know who can recommend you, connect with them. Ask your peer, classmates and anyone else who might know someone or some company/employer who might have a job position that might be fitting your profile. You should know someone will only recommend you if they know you personally that you will be a good fit for this job. This will help you to at least get an opportunity for an interview. During the interview, you have to prove yourself obviously e.g. skills. If you are not fit for the position, no one is going to recommend you because in the end, it will reflect on the credibility of your recommender.
Attend seminars, conferences, job fairs and make networking. Make friends, like actual friends otherwise make connections. E.g. German are into sports and cultural events and if you are into it too, you may make good connections or even friends. This has a multiplier effect and in some time you’ll have a huge circle of friends who can help with finding a job.
The job that I worked the longest and shaped my career, the link from job search platform was sent to me by a friend. Same happen for my next job and I am very grateful for that. Just a single link sending could do a lot and can be sufficient if it matches your skillset. The rest you have to work on your application.
8. Student Jobs in Germany During Vacation Period
What Should I do If I live in a small town and could not find a job during the semester?
No worries, find jobs in the nearby cities. If the neighboring city is big or has a good size, you’ll definitely find a student job there. Otherwise, you can find student jobs during the semester break. Some students make a plan for studies and a break to be able to work full-time in a factory or somewhere similar who always need workers. Ask you friends and peer, international students who came earlier than you. They have been through the bitter period and can guide you on how to find a job in your city or other cities.
I walked with a friend through most restaurants in the city center until we found a job that his German languages skills were enough for it.
9. Learning German Language Increases Job Chances
There is a possibility that you’ll find a job in English depending on the city and the nature of the job. But you must know German or at least up to A2 or B1 level. This will help you find a job quickly in any scenario. If you have to take only a few semester course modules to spare time for learning German intensively, I would recommend doing so. Just keep an eye on the degree completion duration restrictions from your university and state. The German courses taught in the university are slow and you should take them but look for intensive German courses in a language school or online. It might cost you but in the end, you will be able to earn more than you spend on learning German. Learning German is important for many other reasons and soon I’ll put a link the article I finish writing about it.
10. Optimize Your Job Application
You might be thinking if most businesses are closed then why and where should I send the job applications. Yes, that’s the right question but bear with me. It’s a mentality game, I would think that there is that one or more companies that need someone with an exact profile like mine. The question is where to find that.
If you studying IT-related subjects and have good hands-on experience, you should be able to find a job one way or the other. If you are or not from IT-related background and not able to find a job, ask yourself this:
- Search: There are a ton of job search portals that you can find on the internet. Check each one of them and narrow down your search by applying the right filters.
- Match requirements: Are your technical skills matching the requirements that are being asked in the job description?
- Analyze skillset: Check what skills they require as common and which are discrete. Which are matching your profile and which one you should have in the near and long future. This kind of analysis is extremely helpful and successful career-oriented people do this continuously despite how good their current position is. This will also help to find out what would you need to land a job sooner and gain the skills that you lack now but will essential in the future.
- How employers see it: Do you put the right effort into each application? It’s not only about applying to many positions that most people do. Employers have software that automatically filters out candidates in the first round and then a human goes through it for further filtering. Only then the rest of the recruitment process starts.
- Send application the right way: If you are matching the skill set but still not successful with finding a job, then the first and foremost step is to find the weak spot in your application documents. e.g. your CV and cover letter are communicating your skills and personality? You can read more about CV in this article. For writing a successful cover letter I will be posting an article in some time. I would suggest, keep visiting our blogs for updated content.
- Motivation: Your motivation for the job position and long-term plans at the time of application matters a lot. Why are you motivated and why you choose this company and position should be crystal clear to you. You need to communicate this in your cover letter and interviews.
- Expand your search area: Are there enough positions in your city? If not, look for possible opportunities in the cities closest to you.
11. Manage Time and Optimize Skillset
To find a job you should schedule a timely goal until which you must have a job. Set daily and weekly milestones to work on your weak points.
Set a time frame for learning the new skills besides your regular coursework. Time management is the key to success and the most precious resource. When it’s gone, it never comes back. Use it wisely and capitalize it with respect to your career goals.
Learn Beside Course Curriculum:
Manage course curriculum: Reflect on your course curriculum how much it could help you during your studies. Choose your semester course modules accordingly.
Learn Further: If you need to learn something that your course curriculum does not cover, there are some great websites like Coursera, Edx, and Udacity where you can find free and paid courses. You will learn from the top universities and instructors. There are other great online learning platforms and boot camps too on the internet which have free and paid courses. Find whichever suits you best.
12. Be Resilient – Don’t Get Discouraged With a No
You need a job right? Your task is to apply to your full potential and be resilient. You should get used to NO when you are applying for a job. Every company is looking for a match and maybe you are the match for some other employer. A no is good if you think positively. You should only focus on the no for one reason: what mistakes am I making and how can I improve. Once you have this mentality, you’ll find your way. Trust me on this one.
13. Apply Only if Job Description Matches You
In the case of applying for jobs, resilience doesn’t mean applying to every company and job position you see. Make sure you have properly read the job description and it matches you. Otherwise, you’ll be filtered right away. When I was applying for student jobs, some experienced seniors were telling me to apply everywhere. If you apply for approximately 50 jobs, you might get one response. That’s a myth and don’t follow that. Businesses are looking for serious candidates. For a proper job application, you need enough time as I explained in tip 10 Optimize Your Job Application. After analyzing more than 10 of my acquaintances who successfully landed jobs in German companies, each application preparation took on average 4 hours to search, find matching positions, changing CV and cover letter and finally writing an engaging email.
Don’t remember each and every point by heart. You always come back and read it again. After reading it a few times you’ll be able to follow through with all the 13 tips. I am sure sooner you’ll have a job and set out on your career path. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over that others before you have made and had been complaining about later on. I will continuously update this guide and may add more tips or separate the Application part in another article to make the reading easier. Next, I’ll be adding the experience of other students and graduates about find student jobs in Germany. The day is not far away when you would save similar feelings as the guy who just got a job in picture.
We founded Leazear with the motto “Applying to study in Germany is a lot easier with LEAZEAR”. We are developing digital products for international students to guide them through each and every step of the admission and relocation journey. We have got our insurance license and partnered with top German health insurances to provide your health insurance registration and certificate completely online for your enrollment and visa extension.
Right now we are working on collaborating with German universities to optimize the solution for students. Meanwhile, whenever I get some time, I am continuously writing articles to guide you through each and every part of the admission process. We have recently released our community forum where you can ask questions and experts from our team or other community members can answer it. I would highly recommend joining the community and let’s grow together and make German bureaucracy a lot easier. Together we can make it faster. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and peers. I am sure they will be thankful forever if these tips helped them to find a student job.