The rocky path to getting a job in Germany
| 5 critical points
Time and time again, we read press reports with news about the positive development of the labor market in Germany: medicine professionals, engineers, craftsmen, skilled workers and more are desperately being sought. There is also a lack of young talent in many sectors, as even vocational training can last at least 2, and often 3, years. On the other hand, many job seekers are on the move and complaining that it is very tedious and often frustrating to apply for a job in Germany.
Why is that? How does that add up? What's going wrong in the relationship between employers and applicants?
Aside from the fact that the record-low unemployment rate reflects a limited struggle for good jobs, experts in the field, e.g. labor market researchers or career counselors, are quick to mention the following 5 critical points when it comes to landing a job in Germany:
- The labor market
has very high demands Employers in Germany expect the applicant to bring the best possible qualification for the job advertised. This means a job starter has just graduated with good to very good grades and that those who already have professional experience should have knowledge, expertise and a high level of motivation in the field they are applying for.
- Unsuitable high school diplomas or the wrong diploma
School qualifications with only nine or fewer years of schooling are becoming increasingly stigmatized in Germany. The reality is that "lower" secondary school graduates (those from the "Hauptschule" or "Realschule" as they are referred to in Germany), are being offered fewer apprenticeships than those that were achievable with the same educational profile 10 years ago.
But educators and supervisors know that diplomas are not the only thing that matters in life. Those who are willing to supplement their education with extra training and other personal development initiatives can collect many plus points (and impress recruiters).
In many companies today, great importance is placed on whether or not someone has consistently been willing to learn and adapt in their past jobs or roles. Evidence of this can make good for gaps in one's education and improve opportunities on the job market.
On the other hand, there are those whose applications reveal a lack of credentials and evidence of a general inability to maintain a position or a path of education. Such applicants end up showing little interest in actually doing work and also a reluctance to get involved in a team, and they will slip quickly to the bottom of the list of desirable candidates.
- Educational maturity
When it comes to jump starting your career, personal motivation, a readiness to perform, reliability, and social competence are required in addition to a good education.
This is collectively referred to as "educational maturity". When applying, care should be taken to highlight all of these points.
- Generalist vs. Specialist
Due to the predominant use of the "Internet" as an application channel, job offers attract a large number of applicants. Motivated by the ease of the interface, many interested candidates will be tempted to send a large batch of "copy-and-paste" applications in a matter of minutes. Nobody should be surprised by the result of such a strategy: clogged mailboxes on the recruiter's end and no feedback to the applicants. In addition, "generalists" have particular difficulty launching a successful application. After all, anyone who does not have something special to highlight (education or hobby) or an attractive personal feature (experience, knowledge) will not even get onto the shortlist.
For these reasons, when it comes to today's interesting job offers, application success is more promising if an applicant dedicates 3 hours to creating an appealing and detailed application rather than spending the same amount of time shooting off 20 generic applications. Keep in mind that your application documents are the business card that your future employer holds when considering who they want to work with for the next several years. Put some effort into convincing your potential employer that you are worth the investment, and try to avoid a "generalist" application. The choice the employer is making should not to be underestimated - in Germany, the practice of "hire & fire" is still unpopular, and not only because strict labor laws help prevent it.
In order for your application to succeed in Germany, take advantage of the services of an experienced recruitment consultant for a few hours. Find out what the topics could be for an individual training:
Important note: a German language level of min. B2 (intermediate) is required for this training. If there is any lack, we recommend to contact first an German online teacher, eg. www.learn-german-via-skype.com.
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