The good news is: most jobs for skilled workers are advertised online and can be accessed from everywhere in the world.
The limitation is: There is a large number of job portals and also some “meta-portals” which collect job ads from different sources. Also, for many industries and specific job profiles there are specific sites. It is difficult to identify “the best ones” without knowing your specific background. We recommend to do some searches on Google typing in your background and industry in German. This is likely to lead you to the more specialized portals.
Below we have just summarised the most important sources and given some links to more detailed information:
1. Professional social networks:
XING is the German equivalent of LinkedIn – a professional social network. It also contains job ads. What is even more important – it is frequented by German recruiters. So if you are actively looking for a job in Germany you should definitely set-up a detailed profile listing your skills and set your status to “looking” to receive offers.
2. Biggest German job portals covering all industries and offering mostly entry-level and medium-level positions as well as internships:
You can also create “seeker” profiles here so that recruiters can contact you proactively.
3. Job search engines
Jobisjob is a search engine which automatically consolidates job vacancies from different sources.
4. Jobs in English:
5. Highly skilled and managerial positions:
Here you are usually required to pay a membership fee to look at position details. However, if you are looking for highly skilled and managerial positions this is the Top 2 spot after personal networking on XING.
6. Specialized job portals:
Academia, social and public services:
7. Big recruitment agencies:
These companies might offer you a permanent position. However, often they are also looking for somebody to be hired for a certain period of time to fill a gap or to implement a project. If this is an option for you, you can fill out the search requests on their websites.
Of course, there are hundreds of other recruiters in Germany, often focusing on specific industries and skill sets. However, they mostly use their personal network and XING, LinkedIn to look for candidates. Direct applications are normally not possible unless you have a very rare and highly desired profile.
Newspapers are also still used to advertise jobs. Normally the job ads appear 1-2 times per week. You can check the website of the respective newspaper for details.
9. Company websites
In particular big companies usually advertise on their website. We recommend to research companies in your field of interest and to look directly on their website (a) if they have vacancies and/or (b) accept “initiative” applications, i.e. applications without a specific vacancy.
10. Applying “based on your own initiative” (without a specific vacancy)
Are there some companies which are your dream destination? So you consider applying even though there is no job advertised? The so-called “Initiativbewerbung” can work well for German SMEs. It is less likely to work for corporations with more standardized processes. If you decide to go for an “Initiativbewerbung” you increase your chances by showing why your skill set is really valuable for this specific employer and why you selected this employer in particular. If you have had contact with this company before – at university, job fairs or working on their projects – this is very helpful and should be mentioned.
11. Tinder for jobs:
This Berlin start-up is a mobile app offering you positions based on your preferences and “learning” more about your preferences on the go.
12. Your network!!!
Most and foremost, your personal network is still a great place to get a recommendation and to learn about positions in the “hidden” job market. We strongly recommend to talk to friends, former colleagues, professors and teachers, etc. and tell them about your aspirations and the kind of positions you are looking for. You should also check if your university offers support (career service) and has an alumni network which might be of value to you.
It is helpful if you start building your network in advance – before you actually look for a job. A good place to start is
where people physically meet based on their interests including professional background.
The commercial chamber of your native country might also offer events which are a good place to meet companies dealing with your home country.
We hope these tips were helpful. Is there a resources which you found helpful and we haven’t mentioned? Let us know under: firstname.lastname@example.org