Job hunting in Germany

Little by little, I can feel myself becoming more German. This manifests itself in many different ways, but a few that spring to mind are:

1. I now rinse out empty jars. Some day, I might even bring them out to the correct bin.

Badly rinsed jar
Badly rinsed jar

2. I have been known to walk 2 to 3 kilometres out of my way to find an ATM machine in order to avoid paying the ridiculous charges other banks inflict upon the unsuspecting.

3. I say “kilometres” instead of “miles”.

4. I speak German more and more often.

5. I’ve had street beer, park beer and train beer. And I don’t even feel guilty about it any more.

6. I can open a beer bottle with a lighter in under 3 seconds. It took an English friend of mine two years to crack it; I did it on my first attempt. In Germany, bottle openers are for Sitzpinklers.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I love Germany. I love Berlin. I love the people and the way of life and I want to stay here for a very long time – possibly forever. However, in order to do that, I need to find a job.

With teaching hours as scarce as Germans not wearing Jack Wolfskin, I’m currently job hunting. If I’m honest, I’d been getting tired of teaching English anyway. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy it, and I’ve met some lovely people, but the work itself isn’t that challenging any more. It’s a handy “in” to a country where you don’t speak the language, but I never imagined myself doing it forever. The lack of work right now is just the kick up the arse I needed to start looking for something else. And, by god, am I looking.

Every day, I trawl recruitment websites, looking for marketing, advertising, and especially, writing-related jobs. And there are quite a few out there. As Berlin is start-up city, a lot of them don’t even require German, as the working language is English. Of course, as an Irish person, I’m trailing behind most Europeans on the language front. Some ads say things like “Fluent English is a must. German would be an advantage. Knowledge of Spanish, French, Dutch, Japanese and Swahili also a bonus”. Umm. (Hangs head in shame and has a little cry.)

In addition, for every ten jobs, I’d say nine of them are tech-related. Technical writers, app developers, gaming enthusiasts, SEO, SAP, LINUX, SEM… half the time I can hardly understand the ads even though they’re written in English. I’m thinking of changing my name to “Linda O’Gradysaurus”.

I did, however, apply for one of these jobs – not because I thought I had a chance of getting it, but because they offered “outrageous randy benefits” and I wanted to see what those would entail. They rejected me – possibly because I pointed out in my email that “outrageous randy benefits” made them sound all kinds of dodgy.

Maybe something like this?
Maybe something like this?

If I had my time here over again, I would have started looking for something much sooner. The recruitment process takes an insanely long time. Most companies use sites like “Jobvite”, where you can track the progress of your application. Oddly, sitting there looking at it and clicking “refresh” doesn’t make things move any faster. Still, at least German companies are polite enough to actually contact you to let you know you’ve been rejected. This, unsurprisingly, has happened a number of times.

Still, it seems like my luck might finally be changing. Last week, I had a Skype interview and, on Monday, I’ve got an interview with another company. I would be ecstatic if I got to work for either of these companies so please, cross your fingers for me. (Or press your thumbs – it’s a German thing.)

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107 thoughts on “Job hunting in Germany”

  1. Best of luck, Linda! It’s good to hear that you are enjoying Berlin so much that you’re looking for a job there. Do you have any updates so far?

    I can sympathize with what you say about testing the non-teaching-ESL waters. It is rather depressing to see my LinkedIn feed suggest jobs such as “IT Whiz” and “Inside Sales Account Manager (Hungarian Speaker)” for the city of my choice. I’ll keep on looking, too!

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    1. Ha ha, I know the feeling! I got rejected for one last week, but have a ‘trial day’ for another tomorrow so looking forward to that! Need to rock their socks off 🙂

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  2. Good luck! I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my thumbs pressed for you! Looking for a new job is a full time job in itself.

    So between street beer, park beer and train beer, is there a difference? Train beer sounds like it could be bad.

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  3. You’ll make it. Keep at it girl and remember to scour the trendy papers like Tip, Zitty, The Local, The Ex-Berliner and Berliner Morganpost. And LinkedIn is quite good too. I never used it for jobs but the networking potential is pretty high, and I keep getting offered jobs that I’m not really interested in doing anymore. It’s so what I used to do in 1999 you see! They’re for project or “account managers” and “sales”. You never know what you might find though……..!

    Oh, and private teaching is quite lucrative if you can get your foot in the door or hassle your “friends.” None of this €20.00 for 45 minutes nonesense. I once taught a lawyer for €100 a pop. I even charged her the BVG ticket too and managed to keep a tight hold of her for 2 years. It was such a shame that she moved to Hamburg….!

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    1. Jesus, that student was a keeper! It’s just so up and down though – and private students are pretty unreliable in general! But thank you for all the advice – I’ll keep plugging away at it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Can you open a beer bottle with your keys? Last time I tried it took me 15 min and I cut my hand badly. Weak sauce, I know.
    I am very excited about your next venture – I hope it involves more creative writing. I still love re-watching that Latvia commercial you co-wrote!

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  5. yay! Good luck! I will cross my fingers on one hand, and press my thumbs too. But wait…can I do that? Will the crossing of the fingers interfere with the two thumbs if they are all connected? Hmmmm…….hope not!

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  6. The Suck-Fuck-Fist-Piss Notice (these people are quite naughty, aren’t they?! The ________ field actually kind of scares me.) strikes me as very un-German.

    Where is the IN WITNESS WHEREOF* in huge letters in the end? Where are the signatures and the seals of the parties?

    * – It’s in English, because it’s Germany.

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      1. This is a bit ironic, actually, provided that the biggest cliché about the German language, besides talking like a crazy Austrian (be it Hitler or Schwarzenegger), is its being the language of porn.

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  7. So glad you’ve found a place you love. I shall say a little prayer to St. Ciarán for you 🙂 BTW “Sitzpinkel” has become a household word now. But what do lighters look like over there? I’m trying to figure out how you can open a bottle with a Bic.

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    1. Ha, I love that ‘Sitzpinkel’ is now a word in your household! Brilliant! 🙂 And they’re just normal lighters 🙂 You need to kind of wrap your thumb and forefinger around the top of the bottle and position the lighter at the lip, then flip it 🙂 It’s hard to explain! But very satisfying when you manage it 🙂

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  8. Good luck with your interviews!
    I know how you feel about the teaching. I’ve only been doing it for a short time (about 3 months) but I can already feel that I won’t be able to stick it out longer than a full year. It becomes very repetitive, plus when it’s not what you want to do it’s an easy rut to get stuck in if you aren’t careful!

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    1. Definitely – I’ve been doing it for 6 years now and it’s enough! Plus, freelancing is so unreliable. I just want to feel settled and stable and start building up a proper life here! There’s also not many places you can go career-wise with teaching – ADOS, DOS – don’t fancy either! I want a desk, and a computer, and proper hours, proper holidays and a proper wage 🙂 But stick at it for a while anyway – it’s fine until you get yourself a bit more established! 🙂

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    1. I know! I’m with 2 banks here – DB and Sparkasse (heh heh). If I take money from my DB account from a Sparkasse machine, they charge me almost €5! Insane! And thanks for the good wishes 🙂

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        1. Ha, I know! I got this glossy magazine from one of them yesterday and I was just like ‘Really?! Is this what my fees are going on?’ It went straight in the bin as I’m sure most people’s did!

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  9. Best of luck, I am also irish and new here in deutschland. I also just landed my dream job here my german is not so good yet. I have been given more than one chance at a real career I actually got to choose between jobs for the first time in my life. Ha I couldn’t even get an interview for tesco back home and now I am an apprentice gunsmith something I have wanted to do and worked towards since childhood. Keep at it there are lots of opertuinities out there and lots of nice people. Love it here 🙂

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    1. Me too 🙂 And your story gives me hope! That’s so cool – congratulations! I guess things in Ireland are still pretty crap then – not that I have any intention of ever going back there 😉 Linda.

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  10. Good luck with the job hunting. I can relate to much of what you are saying! I have not mastered opening a bottle with a lighter, but almost everyone else around me has! Maybe the Germans taught the Balinese this skill!

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  11. If you would like a hundred or so letters of recommendation, just let us know. We can all flood your prospective employer with “Here’s why I would personally hire Linda…if I owned a company” letters.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, at least it would clear things up right from the beginning 🙂 That’s actually one of the things I really like about Germany – that they don’t try to Germanise names. I hated that in Latvia!

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  12. Oooooh, good luck! Nothing beats hearing a story of someone transitioning from English teacher to a “real job” in their chosen country. That gives the rest of us hope! And I hope that in Berlin, that’s a damn sight easier than down here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so too! I’d say I’ve got 90% rejections so far but I’m a persistent little thing so watch this space 😉 More languages would definitely be a plus – or IT skills – but I’ll just have to make do with what I have and hope someone thinks it’s enough 🙂 Have you tried looking for something else?

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      1. Well here’s hoping your persistence pays off! (virtual *cheers*)
        I have tried, and every now and then I troll the sites of Siemen’s, Adidas, Puma, etc., to see if there’s anything possible for me. They all have HQs in the area but it seems to be mostly business-line kind of things (which I know nothing about) or need German (and mine still sucks). Grumble. I’m working more now, so it’s not quite as urgent… and BV is a fairly lax landlord, so that helps. I haven’t really taken a major shot at anything since my incredibly awkward attempt last year… see this: https://heathergoesdeutsch.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/an-unexpectedly-awkward-monday-afternoon/

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        1. I’m mainly using indeed and creativecityberlin. I also get updates from Toytown and Jobspotting, and have joined every start-up and FB page going! Will pop over and read your article now! 🙂

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  13. Out of curiosity, why are “fist” and “piss” options?? THOSE are the benefits these days?? What happened “401k, generous time off, casual Friday”? And knowledge of Swahili – and to think all those years of lessons for fun, and it’d be useful in Germany!

    Fingers crossed (thumbs pressed) for your interviews to pan out well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I might have been exaggerating with the Swahili 🙂 And that’s a hook-up card from a gay club here – not a bonus scheme 🙂 I thought they sounded like randy benefits though!

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  14. You should have been saying kilometers long ago, I remember when the Irish switched and even my swimming buddy has no problems saying kilometers any more. 😉

    That job application looks like one for the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

    Glad you’re enjoying your new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s not a job application – it’s a ‘pulling card’ from a gay club 🙂 My friend showed it to me and I knew I’d be able to get it into a post somehow!

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  15. Drueck die Daumen! My husband and I tried to land jobs in Germany two or three years ago when he was unemployed, but we had no luck. It seems that being an IT guy AND fluent in German doesn’t always help, at least not when you’re applying from out of country. Heck, it’s not like we would’ve wanted them to pay moving costs – we would’ve done that gladly just to live in Germany for a few years!

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    1. Yeah, I think it’s much more difficult if you’re not actually here. Most of the time, they won’t interview unless you’re actually living in the city/country – but maybe you could try again! IT is booming here! 🙂

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  16. Once, when traveling, I left a resume at St.Paul-de-Mausole in St. Remy-de-Provence (where Van Gogh was hospitalized – it’s still in operation). The French Government’s Nursing Board sent a response to my home in the U.S. that they were giving my resume utmost attention (which, of course, was stupendously unlikely, but very polite and professional nonetheless). It was the very best souvenir ever!

    That video was great – thanks for the laugh. I found the whole south of Germany difficult to get by in with very limited German, so am glad to hear that Berlin is heavier on English, and that as a city it’s agreeable to you. The very best of luck to you in finding work there. I’m enjoying your very funny posts.

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    1. Thanks for reading! And for the kind wishes! I find that even when rejecting you outright, Germans are incredibly polite – it makes a nice change! And always better than just emailing into a black hole 🙂 Nice to see the French are the same way! Linda.

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