Pursuing a master’s program in Germany is a smart choice; the country offers various courses taught in English and German for almost no cost. Moreover, Germany’s economy and job opportunities attract many foreigners. With that said, finding a job and staying after studies sound like a good idea.
You can apply for an extension of your student visa to stay in Germany for an additional 18 months. During this time, you should find employment suitable to your degree. Upon signing a job contract, the graduate can receive a residence permit for employment purposes or EU Blue Card.
If you want to work in Germany after completing your studies, it’s important to know which chances you have. Possible employment shouldn’t be your reason to study in Germany instead, it must be a great quality of education and low costs. Continue reading if you want to find a job after your masters in Germany.
Employment after master’s in Germany
As a graduate of a German university, the doors to the labor market will open to you. The German master’s degree allows you to work not only in Germany but also in all EU countries and above.
German high education is recognized all over the world, which gives you an excellent career perspective. Let’s focus on Germany for now, assuming you would like to spend the following years or maybe the entire life after graduation working here.
And it’s reasonable. Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU and needs highly qualified professionals at the same time. However, not all occupations are in demand in Germany; you should be careful with choosing a master’s program if your goal is straight employment after.
Otherwise, you might struggle to find a job for a long time, together with German graduates from your major.
The German government gives graduates 18 months to find a job, so you got enough time. During this period of time, one should be able to sustain himself: have funds, accommodations, and health insurance.
All these conditions must be met when applying for 18 months extension of your student residence permit. During this time, a graduate student could undertake regular employment for students, which includes short-term and long-term jobs.
These jobs can also be unrelated to your degree.
Only after they receive an appropriate to the qualifications job offer in Germany, the employment residence permit can be obtained (read below which options are available).
How to determine your chances in Germany?
Estimating your chances of getting a job after the Master’s program is crutial because they can range drastically. Many factors will influence your employability in Germany. Here are some of them and our tips on increasing your chances.
1. Major in Master’s program
The major for your master’s degree is one of the most important factors when determining the chances of employment in Germany. Not all majors are equal: some have a high demand on the job market, some very low or non.
Before choosing the master’s program, one should analyze the job market in Germany, which professions are in demand and which are not.
A master’s degree in history or social science won’t do a favour to you, as there are already too many German graduates in these fields.
If Germany isn’t your last stop, you could look into the job market of other potential countries of employment. What is popular there now? Which industry is booming? How many people graduate every year in these areas? How many jobs are currently available?
Answering these questions will help you to make a choice that is beneficial to your future career, whether it’s Germany or not.
Moreover, you should choose a discipline with not only academic interest but also with direct industrial application. Theory-based degrees won’t make you any good when searching for jobs in private companies, although you can work at university if it’s your goal.
The rule of thumb is that engineers and IT professionals will find a job easier in Germany, assuming they don’t speak German.
2. Country of origin
The second essential and little bit discriminating factor is your country of origin.
Although Germany isn’t a racist country, it’s still important from which country job applicants are coming. Granted, all Europeans have excellent chances of finding a job in Germany since they are free to move without a visa and don’t need a permit to work.
All non-Europeans have it harder and need to follow strict regulations. Especially people from very different to Germany countries can find it challenging to find a job, cultural differences are too significant, and some companies just prefer to avoid it.
Look at this logically and estimate your chances based on this. Non-Europeans from Western and nearby Eastern countries have it a little bit easier in Germany.
For instance, many employers will be happy to hire a person from a privileged country since many are native English speakers and have similar backgrounds as Germans.
The US, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Israel, and Japan are privileged countries.
3. Fluency in languages
Which languages do you speak and how fluent? German is always beneficial, and I will always recommend learning the local language if your plans for Germany are long-term.
Learning the language shouldn’t bother you if you just want to spend a couple of years here and there.
Nevertheless, the German employer will prioritize a candidate who speaks German over someone who doesn’t, at least in most cases. If we are talking about a position involving actively speaking English, especially with overseas customers, English natives will win in this situation even without German.
You might speak some other languages which are valuable in the European economy? French, Spanish, or Italian will be beneficial too.
Generally, German proficiency plays an essential role in finding employment in Germany. Fluency in the German language is a highly required skill for any position.
Imagine the communication in the firm alone, everybody speaks German, and you are an outsider. Yes, there are some companies/corporations where the business language is English, but it is more exception than a rule.
Tips on finding a job after your masters
There are some things you can do to increase your employment after your master’s; here are a few of them:
- work part-time during your studies
Part-time employment can be benefitial if you are studying for a bachelor’s degree. Working during full-time studies is essential, especially working in companies that you see as your prospective employer for a job after graduation.
This way, you will prove yourself to be a solid candidate to work full-time and in a higher position. You will learn German work culture and maybe even some German.
Moreover, it’s helpful to do an internship in the company you are interested in working for. So they can see you in practice during this period, and if you are the fit, the employer will eventually hire you for a full-time or part-time job.
- gain some work experience before you start the master’s program
Having real hands-on work experience will always improve your CV, whether it’s your home country, Germany, or any other place in the world. Work experience from Germany has a higher significance for employers.
- build a network
Your network is your net worth, as cliche as it sounds, you need to build a network in order to be more successful. Especially when you are a foreigner in a foreign country, people you know can help a lot.
Expand your contacts on LinkedIn, be active on Facebook groups, attend events in Germany related to your career, a fair (there are plenty in Germany), and networking events. If you are living in a big city, there is always something going on related to the business.
If not, you will be required to travel. The drawback of networking in Germany, almost everything is happening in German, if you don’t speak the language, it can be disappointing. However, you might find some English international events too.
- learn German
To avoid the obstacles mentioned above, learn German! Your life will be much easier in Germany if you speak the language. You will also be more confident while living here, applying for jobs, and attending the interviews.
Speaking German will be your unfair advantage over other foreign graduates and applicants for the same job. You need to have something to stand out! If you have great notes, and valuable experience, you might be all right without the German, but if not, what’s the point for the employer to hire you?
- keep going
It will be frustrating, if you apply for a job, for the second one, the third – no answer. And so days and even months. Yes, the job hunt in Germany as a foreigner can be discouraging, but don’t get discouraged.
This is the easiest thing you can do; the hardest will be to KEEP GOING. You will probably need to send more than 50 applications to get a job. It will take time and patience, but it will definitely be worth it. The way to a great career in Germany isn’t easy, and it didn’t mean to be.
CV and cover letter
A wrong CV and Cover Letter can prevent you from the success of finding a job in Germany.
Germany has different rules for both of these documents, and you should follow the guidelines and don’t send your American structured application.
You might already know enough about your CV: include information about you, your education, skills, and experience. You should adapt your CV and Covering Letter for every company individually and add a high-quality picture for a better impression.
A cover letter is a formal letter. It is not a repetition of your resume; it should consist of arguments why you should be hired for that particular job and not the other candidate.
As well as why you choosed this company. Check the job ad for special requirements, duties, and responsibilities and refer to your own experiences and skills.
A cover letter in Germany is never longer than one page. There shouldn’t be any spelling mistakes or wrong grammar.
Ideally, have both documents translated or conducted in German, but if you aren’t capable and don’t have funds to hire someone, English is fine too.
These are the milestones of your application, and you should not underestimate their importance! In fact, a cover letter can be more important than your CV for the company!
Job interviews in Germany
Similar to a CV and cover letter, a job interview will be your key to success. German employers hire carefully, and even more carefully, they hire foreigners.
The German labor law is on the side of the employee; therefore, it will be hard to fire you if your boss doesn’t like something.
The “Hire slow and fire fast” rule doesn’t really work in Germany, as the employer must provide a long period of time for the employee to find another job before the actual termination date. In addition to this, there must be a solid reason for firing an employee.
For this reason, the long and complex interview process is typical in Germany. The candidate will go through 3-4 rounds of interviews with different managers, tests, exercises, etc. The interview process for one position can last more than a week. So you better have time.
There is a big-time gap between an invitation for the interview and signing a job contract.
1. Extend your student residence permit
After officially completing your degree, you will have 18 months to find a job.
The first step after completing a master’s degree in Germany will be an application for 18 months of your student residence permit extension. These documents you should provide at the immigration office of your town:
- A valid passport
- Proof of graduation from a university in Germany (diploma)
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of funds
- Proof of accommodations
If you don’t have enough funds to provide, a working contract can also be used for this purpose. During the job search, you can undertake full-time and part-time employment in different areas (usually student jobs).
However, to apply for a working residence permit, a graduate should have a full-time job in the field of their expertise *This criteria shouldn’t be full-filled when applying for the extension of a student visa.
The 18 months of job search starts from the day your final results are announced hence it’s advisable to start applying for a job during your last semester, so you have more time.
2. EU Blue card
EU Blue card has been around since 2012 and has helped thousands of people to be able to live and work in the country. It is the most popular way for qualified professionals to immigrate to Germany. But not that popular way for graduates to extend their stay in Germany.
The reason for this is a requirement for a minimum salary. To apply for the EU Blue Card, one must have an employment offer with at least 56,400 EUR annual gross salary (2022). This isn’t a typical salary for university graduates in Germany.
If you want to know how much will you potentially earn in Germany after the Master’s, check out Gehalt.de.
If future employment falls into the STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), the annual gross salary must be at least 43,992 EUR (2022).
The permit will allow you to stay in Germany for up to 4 years. After just 33 months of working on the EU Blue Card, you can obtain a Permanent Residence Permit.
In case you prove sufficient German Language level (B1) – you can get this PR just after 21 months. Read here more about Permanent Residence Permit in Germany.
3. Residence permit for employment purposes
This residence permit is offered to professionals with lower salaries since they can’t pretend on EU Blue Card. A German employment visa is a regular residence permit with permission to work.
After applying for the regular employment permit, the immigration office will check whether the position corresponds to your academic qualifications. As mentioned before, the job must match your expertise; otherwise, there is a risk of visa rejection.
The length of this residence permit usually aligns with the length of your working contract but has a maximum of 4 years, the same as the EU Blue Card. If your contract is for two years, your visa will also be for two years, although renewal is possible.
Holders of German employment visas can get the Permanent Residence Permit after 4 years of residing in Germany.
To apply, a candidate must present a similar document list as for other residence permits, plus the working contract. There are no limits and conditions for the size of the salary.
Also read: Salary requirements for German residence permits.
Professions in high demand in Germany
Do your research before starting the Master’s program in Germany. Choose a high demanded occupation with gab in labor marker. This way, you almost secure a job for yourself in Germany, and you don’t need to learn German.
Some academic occupations in Germany are particularly in high demand. However, the largest part of free job positions is reserved for skilled trade professionals (around 70%).
The gap in specialists for so-called STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) increased to 338,000 specialists, 42,000 more than a year ago. Only 15% of all STEM experts in Germany are women.
These experts are essential for the German economy since they work in leading and innovative German industries and generate a lot of added value.
That’s why Germany actively welcomes foreigners to work in STEM fields; they have even lowered the minimum required salary for EU Blue Card to 43,992 EUR annually.
The German labor market doesn’t have enough local people to fulfill the demand.
With the booming online industry, the number of vacancies among computer scientists and IT specialists has risen by a quarter, in 2018, around 42,000 new jobs were created in the IT sector. The shortage of IT experts has more than doubled in the past three years alone.
Berlin is a tech start-up hub where young professionals can find exciting and perspective jobs. Getting a job in a tech company in Germany is also relatively easy.
This demand is relevant not only for programmers or software developers but also for computer scientists experts.
All industries and businesses, automotive manufacturers or law firms, need at least one tech-savvy person.
Our future is in the data. Currently, cybersecurity and data analytics are especially needed in the German economy.
Computer scientists, IT specialists, and software developers don’t do the same job. Software developers possess several programming languages and consequently can build new computer programs and software.
They also test existing software for errors and find solutions. By now, there are almost 3,000 open vacancies for this position, nearly a third more than a year ago.
Software developers earn on average more than 50,000 EUR per year, which is considered great salary in Germany.
German industry has traditionally put a strong emphasis on science and technology. Germany is a paradise for engineers, with extensive numbers of production companies. Engineers also fall into a list of shortage professions, which makes job search uncomplicated.
Mechanical and vehicle construction
Due to the focus of German industry, mechanical engineers are very needed in the country. They can work in different areas where technic construction is needed, for example, automotive, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries.
Although mechanical engineering is also a very popular major to study in Germany, so expect competition for a spot at university.
Today in the smartphone and laptop world, electrical engineers are needed everywhere where civilization is. Electrical engineering involves developing and manufacturing electrical, electronic, and energy-related equipment.
If you have studied electrical engineering, you are in great demand in the German labor market. Students can assume that demand will continue to increase steadily.
Potential employers for engineers in Germany can be BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Samsung, Siemens, and Sony. They are all big German corporations with many thousands of employees and constantly demanding talents.
Specialists of natural science are on the shortage list too. They are needed at universities, research institutions, and in many businesses. These include subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Ecology, Geology, Astronomy, Meteorology, etc.
Germany has an especially high demand for Chemistry and Biology experts.
Mathematicians are specialists in algebra or geometry. Whether it’s theoretical or applicable math, they work in many different areas. The subject isn’t very popular to study in Germany; more and more experts are missing in the country.
Mathematicians are needed in many areas: software and telecommunications, research and development, banks and insurance companies, science and teaching at schools, and universities.
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