Finding a Job in Germany

As a Canadian who has worked both in Canada and the USA, finding a job in Germany is turning out to be quite the experience.

First of all, Germany has the same 'economic crisis' as North America. At the end of 2008 I turned a job down here because I wanted to learn more German and do some more travelling. After all, I had just arrived a few weeks prior. Now, in the summer of 2009 it's very hard to get even a nibble.

Second is the resume (Lebenslauf or Bewerbung). Although you technically don't have to include such things as marital status (Familienstand), your birth date (Geburtsdatum) and a photo (and there are even laws against this - Antidiskriminierungs-Gesetz), it's nonetheless expected. Don't forget to include where you went to elementary and high school too, btw, even if it was 20 years ago!

Third is commuting, (pendeln). From what I've experienced, it's pretty common for an employee to travel to a different city, live there in a hotel for a week at a time, and travel home on weekends. Of course you'll get reimbursed for the travelleing fees (Reisekosten), and that's tax-free too. Not my idea of a great quality of life situation, but hey, gotta pay the bills, right?

Fourth is the interview (Vorstellungsgespräch). Not too different, actually. They'll tell you all about their company history, what they do, and who their customers are. When it's your turn to talk, tell them where you grew up, where you went to school and what you studied. Talk about how you met your wife, where you live and how you got there. If you do end up getting around to talking about your work experience, be prepared to back it up with a letter of reference (Arbeitszeugnis) from your previous employer.

And last of all is the follow up. If you were lucky enough to get an interview but for some reason or another it didn't work out, you may never know. I've heard more than on example of people (including myself) having interviews, calling afterwards and getting agreement on a decision by a time and date, then nothing. Whatever happened to the good old PFO letter?

Good luck in the job hunt!