How to improve your chances of finding a job in Germany?

80% of the CVs get rejected within the first 6-7 seconds. Do you want to fall in this category or would you like to be part of the remaining 20% who make it to the next round?

In my 13+ years of IT career, I came across 100s of applicants who applied for open positions in the companies where I was the hiring manager. Most of the applications got rejected within the first few seconds mainly because they were not targeted applications.

So, how do you optimize your job application in the German job market?

The answer is simple! Follow a framework and put in some extra effort each time you apply for a job.

The framework

There is no guarantee that this framework will work for everyone but this is something that I personally tried and tested throughout my career as a software professional.

This framework helped me 10x my salary in the last 5 years and helped me move from a Software Engineer in India to a Senior Engineering manager in Germany.

There are a few simple rules to this framework:

1. Always have a cover letter

Back in India, I never used a cover letter to apply for jobs. But, I realized the hard way in Germany that a cover letter is a very important part of the job application.

While crafting your cover letter, you need to ensure that the cover letter is easily customizable so that you can quickly update the details before applying for a job.

Never use a generic cover letter. Employers and hiring managers in Germany hate cover letters that do not address them with their name or the company’s name.

A lot of applications are not targetted. They are very generic like Dear sir/madam and goes directly to the bin.

If you use a generic cover letter, it shows that you haven’t done your research and employers won’t be interested in your profile either.

The other important thing to consider while preparing the cover letter is to quickly highlight how you will be a great value addition to the potential employer.

If you already know the project you will be working on, then highlight your experience in the relevant domain that will make you an irreplaceable asset to the company.

2. Apply to jobs daily

This is another lesson I learned during my job search phase.

The more jobs I apply, the better chances I have.

But, it doesn’t mean that I blindly applied to all the jobs that came up in the search results.

Always read through the job description and apply to the job only if it matches your experience and skill set.

It is better to apply for only a few jobs after thorough research than applying for many jobs without any research.

Another benefit of applying for jobs that match your skill set and experience is that you get fewer rejections in the screening round. This is helpful, especially in the beginning when you want the maximum motivation.

Researching about the potential employer will also help you ask the right questions during the interview process. Asking the right question always adds value to the candidate’s profile in an interview.

3. Upskill yourself

If you want to progress in your career, you should prepare yourself for the next big challenge.

The best way to do it is by upskilling yourself.

Upskilling means learning new skills, polishing your existing skills, and going deeper into the topics to become an expert in that domain.

Startups in Germany are looking for candidates who are young and open to learn new skills.

When I was on the job search journey, I took the LinkedIn premium subscription and devoted 2 hours a day to learning something new via the LinkedIn learning platform.

This daily routine helped me upskill my programming skills and knowledge of software architecture.

Apart from the LinkedIn Learning platform, I also bought a couple of management books and read them multiple times.

All these efforts of upskilling myself helped me land jobs in Germany that paid 8x to 10x the salary I was making back in India.

4. Showcase your skills

Everyone knows that they have to update their LinkedIn profile and CV with the latest skills they acquired.

But, no one emphasizes the external tools and services that an employer might refer to before making a hiring decision.

One such tool is Github.

I made the mistake of not having a public GitHub profile that I could share with my potential employer when I was applying for jobs.

Later, I realized it the hard way and started pushing my project code to a public repository that I could share with hiring managers.

If you are a software engineer, make sure that your code ends up on GitHub and your activity feed is visible to the public.

I also created a personal project that was a complex web application.

This helped me brush up my technical skills and at the same time, I was able to showcase a consistent coding behavior via my public GitHub profile.

This project and the public GitHub profile helped me land two different jobs in Germany in the last 5 years.

5. Maintain Persistence

This is probably the most important rule of the framework. I.e to be persistent when it comes to applying for jobs in Germany.

If you follow all other rules and do everything right for just a couple of days, nothing will happen.

You need to make sure that you have a recurring schedule where you continuously upskill yourself, apply for jobs daily, optimize your CV and cover letter for each job application, and push code to your public repository.

Persistance is the key. You will reap the benefits of your hard work only if you let it compound over a period of time.

To help you stay on track and to prevent you from being distracted, we have developed a Job search planner tool to help you plan your Job search in Germany.

In Summary

Cracking the German job market might sound daunting.

If you prepare yourself for this task and follow the best practices and the framework I mentioned in this post, you are already way ahead of the crowd.

The framework I shared is derived from my own experience. If this works for me, I am sure that it will work for you as well.

Finally, feel free to add or remove elements from this framework to suit your situation and needs.

Let me know if you find this useful. Your feedback is always welcome.

Whenever you are ready, there are 3 ways we can help you with your job search in Germany

1. The GIC Community: We built an active discord community of thousands of professionals who are searching for a job in Germany or moved to Germany and are helping others to make their move. Join the community and learn from others.

2. The GIC+ Membership: This premium membership grants you additional privileges to speed up your job search in Germany. Some of the benefits of joining the premium tier include weekly meet-ups, access to visa-sponsored jobs, access to the job search planner tool, and more.

3. The Job Search Support Service: We have partnered with Senior HRs and Recruiters from Germany who will help you customize your profile to meet the requirements of the German job market. This is different from what is offered by the traditional international job consultancies.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. We strongly advise readers to conduct their due diligence or consult with a professional legal or immigration consultant before taking any action based on the content of this post. "Germany Is Calling" or the author of this post does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of the information provided.