HOW TO FIND A JOB IN BERLIN
So you’re a newbie Berliner. Or maybe you’re an aspiring Berliner. Whatever your situation, you’re looking for a job in Berlin and are wondering exactly how people go about finding work in the German capital.
You’ve probably heard the expression that “Berlin is poor but sexy.” While I personally hate the reference as it’s way too overused, it has a certain truth. Berlin’s known to be a creative mecca for artists and a technology hub for startups, but it’s not exactly a place booming with high-paying jobs that you might find elsewhere, like in the automobile-heavy city of Stuttgart or the financial hub of Frankfurt.
As of Dec 2022, unemployment hovered around 9.1% in Berlin, while the rest of Germany remained at a rate of about 5.7%. Factor in not being able to speak German fluently, not being an EU citizen, and/or being a person of color, and you’ll find the odds of finding a job in Berlin somewhat stacked against you.
Recommended reading: The Reality Of Finding Work In Berlin.
While it’s not impossible to find work in Berlin, it isn’t going to be easy either, even if other local content creators tell you otherwise. There are so many things to consider like German language skills, and education requirements, not to mention racial and other biases that can creep up during the recruitment process. The pandemic and war, along with all of their related effects, certainly haven’t made things easier either.
MY PERSONAL ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO FIND WORK IN BERLIN
I’ve been living and working in Berlin for 10+ years now and can personally attest to the difficulties of finding a job. Since moving here, I’ve had five different visas and worked as a freelance and permanent employee at eight different companies (startup life is hard). I even managed to find a new job during the pandemic!
So you can say, I truly know what it takes to find a job in Berlin. So here are my top expert tips about how to find work in Berlin.
1) Be Realistic & Patient
First, there’s the job hunt itself.
It’s not likely that you’ll find your dream job overnight. Berlin’s a tough place to find work and it could take several weeks, even months (yes!) before you find a job that suits your education, experience, personality, and skills.
I asked members of my Find A Job In Berlin Facebook community (please do join us!) to tell me how many companies they applied at and how many interviews they had before they found a job. These were just some of their answers:
- “80 online applications. 15 interviews. Job was eventually found through a friend of a friends network.”
- “100+/-, maybe more.”
- “100 applications and 2 interviews. No job.”
And these responses were collected BEFORE corona. Some of you may find a job really fast, but as you can see from the responses, a lot of people have their work cut out for them. Of course, it’s not hopeless, so here’s a personal story from me:
When the pandemic hit in 2020, my company entered the Kurzarbeit program (read an overview about how the program works). While the government assistance was welcomed, it meant that my hours and pay were significantly reduced. After months on the program, the situation was no longer financially tenable and I started to look for work.
Over the course of several months, I applied to many different companies. In some cases, I got immediate rejections and in other cases, I went quite far in the recruitment process and still got rejected. This was after countless interviews, taking tests, completing case studies, and running day-long workshops. It was a time filled with a lot of highs and lows and there were times I lost faith in myself. It’s hard not to take rejections personally.
In the end, I am happy to say that I received two offers, accepted one of them, and started a new job in December 2020.
Then there’s the waiting for your visa to be approved.
Note – this section only applies to those from outside the EU who don’t have permanent residence or citizenship. Skip ahead to point two if this isn’t relevant to you.
Even once you’ve signed a contract with an employer, you’ll still need to wait before you actually start work. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll need to submit a visa application and wait for it to be approved. Pre-corona, visa waiting and processing times tended to be less than a month. The pandemic has slowed things down a lot and the waiting and processing times now vary from a few weeks to several months. Complications can occur that slow things down, like a backlog at your country’s embassy or extensive investigations into your academic credentials on the German side.
I once had my visa rejected because they didn’t recognize my business degree and I had to come back to them with additional information. This back-and-forth process delayed my visa approval by an extra month. The odd thing was that my degree hadn’t been questioned with any of my previous applications. It goes to show, that you can never really anticipate how the visa process will go!
During this time, you’re not permitted to work and there’s also no guarantee that your visa application will be approved. All you can do is hang in there and wait for everything to fall into place. I know that for myself and hearing from others who’ve moved here, this waiting process is angst-ridden and it can be extremely hard to remain positive. The situation is completely out of your control and accepting this can be difficult.
While it’s a really tough experience to endure, do know that most visas do get approved. Take it from someone who knows – I’ve gone through it on five separate occasions!
There is the good news of course.
Germany really needs skilled workers and in December 2018, the government passed a law that makes it quicker and easier for companies to secure visas for people from outside of the EU. Germany has also weathered the pandemic fairly well from an economic standpoint and there are still job opportunities out there.
Recommended reading: If you’re wondering what jobs are in demand here in Germany, check out this list. Even better, use Make It In Germany’s quick check to find out about your chances of finding work.
All in all, while it’s essential to remain realistic and persevere throughout your job search and/or visa application process, there are very positive signals emerging for those of us who are foreigners seeking to work in Germany.
2) Learn German
Do you need to know German to find a job in Berlin?
Honestly, the answer to this question is not at all straightforward. While there are a growing number of companies in Berlin operating purely in English, we’re still in a moment where an even bigger number of companies don’t speak English (or any other language) in the workplace. There are also certain professions that demand fluent German, like healthcare or law for example.
I see a lot of people complaining about this and I’m always … shocked!? German is the country’s official language. While things are starting to change for the better as more people from around the globe move to Germany, the pace of that change is snail-like slow and we can expect it to be this way for a while.
Don’t fret though. It’s most definitely possible to find English-speaking jobs in Berlin, but not speaking the German language really narrows down your pool of potential opportunities. Just think about it, the more German you learn, the better your chances are at finding employment. You’ll set yourself apart from others if you’re able to communicate with potential employers in their own language.
I’ve always worked in English language companies since I’ve been living in Berlin and even after all my time here, my German is at a beginner level. I’m very fortunate to work in a job that’s in high demand so not knowing German hasn’t been a hindrance for me to date. I fully acknowledge that when I looked for a job in 2020, my job search would have been way easier and quicker had my German skills been up to par.
Follow these pros tips to help with the language topic:
1) Enroll in a language class long before moving to Berlin. If that’s not possible, enroll in a class as soon as you get here. If your company offers a class, take advantage. Make it a priority to learn as much German as you can and be as fluent as possible. Use a language learning app like Rosetta Stone, Memrise, and Duolingo to complement your class learning.
2) Indicate your level of German proficiency on your CV and be sure to display it prominently so recruiters can access whether or not your level is what they require for the job position. Make sure to specify the level of German that you know like A1, B2, etc. versus writing that you’re “good” at speaking German. No one will know what the latter means as it’s not objectively qualified, but employers will have an idea about your proficiency if you say A1.
3) Job descriptions written in German generally imply that native German fluency is required, but if you really like the position, go ahead and apply! Take the chance as the employer may like you and decide to hire you despite your lack of language skills, but just be honest from the start with sharing your level of German on your CV and with the recruiter or hiring manager in the first call.
Bottom line, being fluent in German will not only make your job search easier and ensure you have a higher chance of finding work in Berlin but more importantly, improve your overall quality of life here.
3) Have Savings
How much money should you have in the bank while you’re waiting to find a job in Berlin?
Maybe you’re rich. Maybe you’re generously supported by family, like your parents or spouse. Maybe you’re like me – I moved to Berlin alone and without anyone to support me financially. As this was my situation, it was imperative that I have a solid financial plan in place.
Due to the length of time, it could take you to find a job in Berlin and/or wait for your working visa to be approved, I’d highly recommend that you have enough savings to live off of until you’re able to find work. I came with enough to survive comfortably for six months and would suggest the same for everyone else.
That sounds like a lot of money and I admit, it really is. Many people probably don’t have that much cash on hand. If you don’t the six months in savings, look into getting access to an emergency credit card or line of credit as a backup plan. Perhaps ask a friend or family member if they can support you with a loan should you find yourself in a tight spot.
How much you need to survive in Berlin without a job is entirely up to you. It all depends on your lifestyle. i.e. Living in a shared WG versus living alone, living in a popular district vs living outside the Ringbahn, eating out a lot over cooking at home.
Recommended reading: To get an idea of the cost of living in Berlin, check out my post on the topic. I share a detailed breakdown of my monthly expenses and also feature some anecdotal data provided by fellow locals. And, read this post to figure out how much it will cost you to move to Germany.
Stay on top of your finances while you’re unemployed.
Make sure that you don’t burn through all of your savings just trying to find a job. Monitor your budget carefully to know when you’re going to come to that point where you may need to rethink whether staying in Berlin makes sense. If you come to a point where money is running out, you’ll need to seriously consider your options. Make sure you have enough money left to support a move back home or elsewhere. You may need money to buy a plane ticket, ship your belongings, pay off final bills, and more.
Not only that, but keep a financial buffer even after you’ve found a job in Berlin. You’ll be under probation for the first six months of your employment and during this time, your employer can terminate you on short notice, only having to pay you for two weeks of work.
In more extreme cases, some companies in Berlin (most notably startups), are notorious for letting you go quite suddenly and even not being able to pay salary, as they go about restructuring and/or shutting down their businesses.
I once worked at a startup and made a decision to leave when the company failed to keep up with one of their most basic legal obligations and ethical responsibilities – they stopped paying us on time and when they did, it sometimes even appeared in “installments”. It put me in a fairly precarious financial situation and it was a humiliating and stressful time for me, burning through my savings, borrowing money from friends, and even hustling some freelance writing work just to get by.
So take it from someone who learned the hard way, don’t overlook the importance of money in the bank.
4) Work Your Way Up
Get your foot in the door with an entry-level position.
How else can you find a job in Berlin? As you may not find that perfect job right away, one option is to take on an entry-level position. Take a job as an intern, excel at it, and show your new employer why they should hire you for a more long-term position and even give you a promotion and of course, a pay raise. Or take a job as a junior in a field in which you’re interested in gaining more experience, such as software development or data analysis.
This tip is obviously more suited to recent graduates than seasoned professionals, but it could be a great starting point for someone without a lot of experience.
Be careful of dysfunctional workplaces and exploitative employers.
Unfortunately, the intern culture in Berlin has a bad reputation. Be sure not to take a job that doesn’t pay industry standards and/or requires you to work overtime without appropriate compensation. Although Germany has a minimum wage (currently at €12 per hour), some companies continue to exploit young talent.
5) Be Someone With Multiple Side Hustles
Take on multiple gigs and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Embody the true Berliner spirit and hold several jobs at one time. Bartend at night, work at a coffee shop during the day, DJ on weekends, and walk dogs whenever you have a spare moment. Offer services as a photographer, website designer, you name it. Work temporarily for food delivery services like Lieferando or Wolt. Whatever it takes!
When I’ve been tight on cash, I’ve done things like sell backlinks on my blog, ghostwrite for sex sites (that was actually fun!), and even transcription work.
Make money while you’re looking for more serious work and you never know, perhaps one of those gigs could lead to something more. I know an accountant from the US who started doing tax returns for Americans in Berlin. She turned that into a full-time job and a thriving business.
A word of warning.
It’s important to acknowledge that this option doesn’t apply to people who don’t have a visa that gives them permission to work in Germany. If you hold a tourist visa or a job search visa, for example, you’re not permitted to work.
What’s more, working “under the table” is highly illegal, and you, and the person who hired you, could face serious legal and financial consequences, and even deportation.
It’s a tough time out there in the world right now and it’s perfectly understandable if you take on paying work when you shouldn’t. If you decide to do so knowing the risks, be careful and take care. i.e. You may not be covered by insurance if you get hurt on the job.
6) Apply At Startups
Startups offer promise and opportunity.
Startups are one of the best ways to find a job in Berlin. Startups are more open to hiring foreigners than more traditional German companies; so much so that they purposely seek and hire talent from all around the world, relocating people to Berlin just to work for them. Scoring work at a startup is an exciting opportunity to help build a brand-new company from the ground up. Another perk is that startups usually offer a challenging, fun working environment with international teams.
Startups come with other fun things like regular parties, Friday evening socials with free booze, and other things like gym memberships, free transit passes, and more. The social aspect is especially appealing and I’ve actually made some of my best friends through work.
However, working at Berlin startups involves taking on a certain level of risk.
Don’t take make the decision to take a job at a startup lightly. While the promise of working at a fun and young startup may seem awesome, there are unfortunate and common realities with many Berlin startups. Startup jobs tend to pay less than the industry average, the company may be run by inexperienced founders, and involve a toxic work environment where bullies thrive and overwork is encouraged. The startup industry is highly competitive and it’s not uncommon for companies to close their doors or go through regular downsizing exercises.
Do your research before signing on with a startup.
As startups are more prone to financial woes than larger companies, be sure to research them in advance and apply to the ones that have solid financial backing, are (or soon will be) generating revenue, show a track record of a successful business strategy, and/or have signed up big-name clients.
Look to apply for jobs at Berlin startups that are more mature, around 3 – 5 years old, vs ones that opened their doors within the past 6 months – 1 year.
I’d also recommend looking on websites like Glassdoor or AngelList to see reviews from people who’ve worked for those companies. Google the company name and check out recent news articles about them. Are they unethical like N26, trying to quell their staff’s effort to form a work council? Has the company secured a massive round of funding like Blacklane?
By doing this research, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to apply for a job there, take an interview, or accept an offer.
7) Use All Of The Job Search Websites
Use the right job search websites to find a job in Berlin.
There are so many job search boards out there dedicated to working in Berlin, it’s really hard to know where to get started. Lucky for you, I got you covered.
Recommended reading: Read my article about the best Berlin job search sites.
Although there are an overwhelming number of job search sites out there, choose a handful that are relevant for you. Scan them regularly (actually religiously) for fresh opportunities – I’d advise looking daily if you’re really serious about finding a new job. Subscribe to alerts or mailing lists to be made aware of new postings that may suit you and be one of the first to apply.
Google makes everything easier.
A simple hack to find a job in Berlin? Use Google to your advantage – for example, if you’re an agile coach like me, simply Google – “agile coach jobs in Berlin” to view related postings.
You can also refine your search by adding a language filter – Google “agile coach jobs in Berlin English” to see if there are any opportunities available in your spoken language.
Apply directly through company websites.
Another way to apply for jobs in Berlin is to apply directly through company websites. Perhaps you’re eying certain companies to work for, perhaps companies like Blinkist and Ableton, both of which are known for being good places to work.
Recommended reading: This list of companies in Berlin that are hiring right now.
View their careers page and if you see something that looks interesting, be sure to apply right away.
8) Be A Freelancer Or Start Your Own Business
Go out on your own and be an independent freelancer.
It’s fairly straightforward to get a freelancing visa in Germany if you can prove you have a steady income and meet other various requirements. This kind of visa can be especially ideal for those who desire to have a flexible schedule and be self-employed.
I have a number of friends in Berlin who work as writers, graphic designers, tour guides, software developers, etc., and all make a living from existing contracts in their home country, here in Germany, and/or elsewhere. My former boss now works as a freelance agile coach, so he can spend more time with his family and pursue his passion for theater.
After my first working holiday visa expired back in 2012, I applied for a freelancing visa which allowed me to work as a travel writer and a project manager. I made money writing content for a Berlin hotel, through my blog and doing project management consulting for a local med-tech company. It was such a fun time! One day, I’d be out on assignment attending a Berlin fashion week show for the hotel, another day I’d be jetting off on an all-expense paid trip to Italy, and other days, I’d be hacking it out as a regular old joe at the office.
Launch your very own enterprise.
Another way to find work in Berlin is to start your own business in Berlin. You can open a business to help other Berlin newbies and be a career coach or a relocation consultant. You can open your own restaurant. You can sell your art on Etsy and at markets around Berlin.
There is so much potential to be had if starting your own business is something you strongly desire.
Of course, it won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile.
Being an independent freelancer or a business owner is no easy feat. There will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there, like Berlin Partner, an economic development agency for the state of Berlin. There are also plenty of support groups on Facebook, like Berlin Boss Babes (for women only) or Berlin Creatives Network.
9) Get The Right Visa
What are some of the visa options for foreigners planning to move to Berlin and find work?
If you don’t want to be a freelancer or a business owner, getting the right visa will determine how long you can stay in Germany and whether or not you’re permitted to work.
Note – If you’re already a citizen of Germany or the EU, skip this part as it doesn’t apply, and move on to point 10 on our list.
Some of the visa options for non-Europeans include:
1) The tourist visa – Depending on where you’re from, almost anyone can come to Germany, and stay for up to 3 months as a tourist. Yes, you’re allowed to search for a job when you’re here with this visa. While you’re not allowed to actually work, you can at least stay in Berlin and begin your job search.
2) The job seeker visa – This is a fantastic visa for those who don’t have a job yet and can financially afford to come to Germany while not working for a period of time. The job seeker visa grants temporary residency to qualified professionals with a relevant university degree or recent graduates from German universities or trade schools. The permit will be granted anywhere from 6 – 18 months, depending on your circumstances. While you hold this visa, you cannot work, but you can search for work. As with most visas, you’ll need to prove you have money in the bank, health insurance, and related education recognized by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) or training. Read more at berlin.de.
3) Working holiday visa – Also called the youth mobility visa, citizens from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong can apply for a visa that allows them to stay in Germany for up to one year to study or work. Approval of these visas requires you to show that you have a certain amount of money in your account and health insurance, among other things. Unfortunately, these working holiday visas are not available to Americans or “old people”, which is anyone over 35. Read more at berlin.de.
4) Regular work visa – If a company in Berlin has given you a job offer, you can apply for a regular work permit. Most companies will help you through this process – check out this step-by-step guide to the German visa process which explains what the company must do versus what you need to do. This will permit you to live in Germany and work only for the listed company and the position specified. If you lose your job, you will need to apply for a new visa. These visas tend to expire after two or three years as well. Read more at berlin.de.
5) Blue Card – Certain qualified professionals can apply for a Blue Card, another type of work permit focused on skilled workers (i.e. software engineers) earning more than €55,200 annually (gross). Exceptions are made for those working for a profession where there’s a labor shortage and then you only need to earn €43,056 annually. Most companies will help you through this process as well. Blue cards are the gold standard for visas in Germany, as the path to permanent residency is not only easier but shortened. You can apply for permanent residency after 21 consecutive months of employment and knowledge of some basic German. Blue cards typically last around four years. Read more at berlin.de.
6) Residence Permit (For Spouses and Children) – This visa is available to people from outside of the EU who are married to a German or EU citizen and/or have a child with a German or EU citizen. Read more at berlin.de.
Some other crucial items to note with German visas?
1) If you come to Germany and search for work while on a tourist visa or job seeker visa and then get hired for a permanent position, you’ll have to apply for an entirely new visa before you begin working at the new company.
2) Some people think that you’re allowed to work with a job seeker visa. Let’s dispel that myth now – you’re legally not permitted to work with this visa. A small exception is that you’re allowed to work a maximum of 10 hours a week for evaluation purposes with a prospective employer. For example, when I applied for the job that I have now, I had to do a trial day which lasted six hours and involved a couple of hours of prep work the day before.
2) There are a lot of weird cases when it comes to getting a visa in Germany, with much of it having to do with where you’re from. That said, it can be hard to keep track, so check out the requirements for your country.
3) Be sure to research your visa requirements extensively so you know what you need to do and will succeed in getting your visa approved on the first try. Ensure that you look on official government websites or hire an immigration lawyer to help you through the process. Don’t rely on what people tell you in Facebook groups or by watching someone’s Youtube videos. While those people surely mean well, their information is often wrong, confusing, or oversimplified. Sometimes, even human resource employees hired to help you are not familiar with visa laws, which causes issues as well. So the more you know yourself, the better off you are.
4) Stay on top of your company’s human resource department. If they submit the visa application on your behalf, make sure that it’s been submitted, ask for updates often, and don’t be afraid to challenge them if they are being unresponsive or slow. Of course, be professional, but I’ve had friends who showed up for work on their first day, only to find out that their visa hadn’t been approved yet and in another case, not even submitted. They had to go home and wait for another month. This happened due to human resources completely mishandling the situation.
5) Companies work with Berlin Partner on a number of things, including processing visa applications. Berlin Partner, worked with the Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Public Enterprises to create Because Berlin. They offer support for anyone looking to move to Berlin to find work, as well as start their own business. Their welcome team is only too happy to help and best of all, their services are free and offered in English. You can contact them for questions relating to your visa, how to go about starting a business, and more. I can’t recommend them enough and wish they’d existed when I first moved here!
10) Format Your Cover Letter & CV Correctly
Don’t assume that employment customs in German are the same as where you’re from.
Another tip to finding a job in Berlin is to be aware that local employment customs in Germany may differ from how things work in your home country. This is especially important when it comes to your cover letter or CV, especially if you want to stand apart from other candidates.
Cover letters in Germany and do you even need one?
A lot of people wonder whether or not cover letters are even needed in Germany. Doesn’t a person’s CV tell their story already? While this is true, cover letters are still essential.
Cover letters should never be a cut-and-paste job, filled with generic jargon. These letters should always be personal. It gives you a chance to tell a company about why you want to work for them and how you’re uniquely qualified. It’s a chance to get the employer interested in you right away.
German cover letter tips and tricks.
Now that you know cover letters are an important part of your job application package, where do you get started? How can you write an impressive cover letter that will immediately grab the attention of your potential new Berlin employer?
There are a number of things that are musts for a German cover letter – keeping it short and to the point, personalizing it, ensuring it’s addressed to the contact person listed in the job advertisement, and so much more.
Recommended reading: A Definitive Guide On How To Write A German Cover Letter
What about creating the right CV for the German job market?
Germans tend to include personal information on their CVs that isn’t typically included on CVs in other countries. Many people include a professional-looking photo, date of birth, and place of birth. Some people even specify their marital status and if they have children! This information is usually added to the header section of a CV, along with your name and address so that it appears at the top of each page.
In recent years, I haven’t included my date or place of birth to reduce the amount of bias a potential employer could have against me based on that information. I’ve never once included my marital status. I’ve only added a photo as that seems to be a common practice these days and not a custom limited to Germany. I also haven’t found this has hindered me from being able to get job interviews with German companies.
I advise you to include this information at your own discretion due to possible bias that may occur based on your gender, ethnicity, age, and more. It may make more sense to do so if you’re applying at a more traditional German company, like a big corporation or law firm as they may expect to know this data. If you’re applying at a startup and for a job advertised in English, it’s highly likely that you don’t need to include this personal information as startups tend to be way more informal.
Recommended reading: How To Write A German CV To Get Noticed By Employers
The German job market is definitely different in certain aspects. It’s ultimately up to you to follow some of their employment practices. Some of these employment practices may seem unnecessarily formal to someone from outside of Germany, but not doing this, could possibly make you appear unprofessional and even rude in their eyes. Again, alter your approach depending on the type of job or company to which you’re applying and with what makes you feel comfortable.
Brush up on the cultural norms to ensure that both your CV and cover letter are updated to reflect German-preferred formats.
11) Build A Network And Use It
Networking is essential if you want to find a job in Berlin.
Many job openings are never publicly advertised and your friends can alert you to new job opportunities that you’d have never known about otherwise. Not to mention, a personal referral will give you an edge over other candidates applying for that same job.
Recommended reading: So how do you meet people in Berlin? My post about making friends in Berlin highlights just some of the methods I used to meet other Berliners from far and wide.
Berlin has a terrific tight-knit community of newbies who offer support to each other, often helping each other find work. When I first moved to Berlin, I really wanted to meet other people. Through following conversations on Twitter, I became aware of a fun “Hamburger Tour of Berlin” event. As funny as it sounds, this actually happened and a bunch of people came together to try out different hamburger joints around the city. It was at one of these events that I met someone who eventually hired me as a project manager and later on at another company, as a scrum master.
Some of my top ways to build a network in Berlin:
1) Create or use your existing social profiles – At the minimum, have a LinkedIn profile. Use it to connect with local Berliners in the same field or area of expertise. Join related groups on LinkedIn and jump in on discussions. Be sure to share your related projects and accomplishments if relevant. Twitter can also be another great place to tap into the local community and build connections. Join Facebook groups, filled with other Berliners looking for jobs and connect with more people there.
2) Attend professional meetups – Berlin has what seems like a gazillion meetups for anything you can think of, especially from a professional development standpoint and more specifically, tech. There are meetups for agile coaches, front-end developers, lovers of Ruby, product management, and more. Join the related groups and start attending their events. During the pandemic, many of these groups have kept up their meetings through online events. We recommend checking out our list, Build Your Network With These Berlin Startup Meetups.
3) Tell people you’re looking – Share this on social media, with friends and family, etc. Say it loud and proud! You never know who may be aware of an open position somewhere or knows someone in Berlin they can connect you with to start a conversation. There have been times I lost my job due to being laid off and sharing this on Twitter really helped. A lot of people retweeted my post and it got me in touch with several companies. Other people referred me to their companies and I landed not only job interviews but job offers. There’s truly a wonderful community of people out there willing to help.
4) Join our LinkedIn connection list – The Berlin Life has a new database where you can add your information and start connecting with other Berliners on LinkedIn long before you even move here.
12) Be Here Physically
If you’re already in Berlin, your chances of being contacted are much higher.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as being here. This is becoming less of a factor nowadays, but there are still some companies that might not take you too seriously if they see that you live abroad. Your chances of scoring a job are far better if you show a local address and phone number on your CV and can be available for in-person interviews.
A lot of companies are recruiting internationally.
That being said, don’t feel discouraged from applying for jobs even though you’re not in Berlin yet. Be sure to indicate how serious you are about living and working in Berlin in your cover letter and demonstrate your commitment by learning German.
If you’re an attractive candidate, many companies will do video interviews despite your geographical distance.
13) Use A Relocation Company
How can a relocation company help me move to Berlin and find a job?
Relocation companies can help you sort out visa processes, advise you on how to better format your CV and cover letter, tell you where to apply, and more. You can trust them as experts to help make everything easier for you.
Recommended reading: This list of top relocation companies in Berlin.
Relocation companies offer different packages and an array of services and of course, they usually come with a big price tag attached. We know not everyone has this kind of money (which is why we offer content like this for free), but still, check out companies like Nomaden for example.
14) Apply For Companies Outside Of Berlin
If you have a job that can be done remotely, you can actually expand your job search to all of Germany. You can easily work for a company based in Frankfurt, Hamburg, or Munich while living your dream life in Berlin, taking occasional trips for big meetings or team events.
Expanding your job search to companies outside of Berlin only widens your pool of potential employment opportunities. Frankfurt has a lot of finance roles for example, while Southern Germany has plenty of jobs relating to the automobile sector or at research facilities.
So as you continue your search, don’t hesitate to apply for positions in other German cities.
15) Send Out Unsolicited Job Applications
Many companies don’t advertise their open roles publicly and others explicitly state they welcome unsolicited job applications. This means you can send a CV and cover letters to companies you really want to work for, even if they don’t have any open roles that currently match your profile. As it’s common for German companies to receive these types of applications many people have been able to find jobs this way.
While it takes some skill to retool your cover letter and CV for such applications, sending out unsolicited job applications is definitely something you can do to increase your chances of finding a job in Germany.
Read our guide to unsolicited job applications in Germany to learn more.
Follow these tips to increase your chances of finding a job in Berlin. If we’re missing something vital, tell us about it in the comments so our community can learn from your experiences too.
Are you looking for a job in Germany? Use our detailed (and FREE!) checklist to figure out how to find work in Deutschland.
Is it easy to find work in Berlin? Learn about some the realities of finding a job in Berlin during normal times, never mind *right now*.
If you want to move to Germany for work, review these highly demanded jobs in Germany and learn how to make your move a reality.
Cheryl Howard, Founder @ The Berlin Life
Hi, I’m Cheryl. My mission is to help you move to Berlin and find work.
A Canadian in Berlin for 10+ years, I have the unique experience of moving to Berlin – not once, but twice. During my time in Berlin, I’ve had five different visas and worked as both a freelancer and a permanent employee for numerous Berlin companies. I even managed to find a new job during the pandemic and again in 2023, during Germany’s recession and massive layoffs in tech.
My day job has involved work as a hiring manager, overseeing the recruitment of countless people, as well as a team coach helping teams and individuals work better and find happiness in their careers. Through my side projects, I’ve also shared my personal experiences by publishing a series of helpful blog posts, creating a thriving community of job seekers, and hosting events to help people find work in Berlin. In 2021, I decided to put my coaching and recruiting talents to use by creating The Berlin Life, bringing my existing content and community together in one spot.
The combination of my personal and professional experience means I know exactly what it takes to move to Berlin and find work.