In Germany there are some key differences between the job application process versus most English speaking countries. Don’t miss out on your dream job interview because you don’t understand these small but very singificant differences.
If you’re interested in how to find English speaking jobs in Germany, we’ve covered this already in much more detail.
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5 Key Tips for Applying for Jobs in Germany
Rule 1: Include a Photo on Your CV
I know, I know. This would be extremely uncommon in the UK, Ireland and Australia and would be illegal in the US and Canada. This is perfectly normal when applying for jobs in Germany and is not something to be unduly worried about.
By doing this, employers are not looking to filter out employees because of age, sex or ethnicity (this is most definitely illegal, although that’s not to say there aren’t any employers out there who do not discreetly do this), and it is certainly not a sneaky way for creepy bosses to hire attractive staff.
It is more a way of ensuring that potential applicants are well-groomed and have taken that extra step to make themselves look smart for their application, usually in standard business attire and photographed by a professional studio.
Consider it if you will as another form of pre-screening to avoid the potential employer inviting somebody to interview who would not fit into the company culture.
Photo studios offering job application photos (Bewerbungsfotos) are everywhere in Germany and typically cost between €10 and €15 for 3 or 4 images.
Rule 2: Definitely Include All Relevant Qualifications
German employers value academic qualifications. Indeed, the country in general puts a disproportionate emphasis on academic titles and formal education over practical, on-the-job experience.
That official first-aid course you were arm-twisted into doing 5 years ago….pop it on your CV if you have space. You will also need to give a brief explanation of your school qualifications if they are still relevant, especially if your work experience is somewhat thin on the ground. If you have 10+ years of work experience or a postgraduate qualifications then it is not necessary.
Your academic qualifications such as a Bachelors and Masters Degrees are self explanatory now under the unified European system, although the grading is somewhat different in German speaking countries. The Germans grade degrees from 1 to 5 (precisely to 1 decimal place!), with 1 being the best and 5 being barely worth the paper it is written on.
Peculiarities of the Anglo-Saxon university education system such as “major”, “minor” and “joint honours” will also need to be explained, as will the meaning of a 2:1 or 2:2 for the Brits.