The Federal Empoyment Service, its local offices and the Central Office for Job Placement no longer have state monopoly over job placement and vocational guidance in Germany. Private employment agencies are allowed by law to offer temporary work and positions. Citizens of the EU can make use of the services of these offices. When applying for a job in Germany, the CV (Lebenslauf) is regarded as only part of the application and a number of other documents accompany the application, e. g. school certificates, university diplomas, references from previous employers, training courses etc. Only copies of these documents should be sent and the should be officially certified.These documents should be placed in a plastic folder and sent with the covering letter on top.
The German Curriculum Vitae
The “Lebenslauf” (CV) should be typed and should not be more than two pages, with a photo of the applicant attached to it. Testimonials carry great weight in a German CV. In addition, military service or alternative community service should also be included, if applicable. In the German CV it is very important that there should be no gaps. If applicants didn’t work or study for certain time there should be a good reason for it.
The CV contains the following points:
Personal details ( Angaben zur Person )
You should give your first name, family name, full address, telephone number, date and place of birth and your nationality. The martial status of the applicant is also part of these point.
Education and training ( Schule und Ausbildung )
The school education should be given in detail starting with primary school and continuing with secondary schools, universities or professional training courses. In Germany, the marks are more important than the name of the school.
Professional Experience ( Berufserfahrung )
The applicant gives detail of his previous work experience as it is relevant for the job. In the German Curriculum Vitae the career history doesn’t run in reverse, and previous jobs should be put in chronological order. Give the name and adress of the employer, the date concerned and details of the positions held. Place your work in positive light.
Language Skills ( Sprachkenntnisse )
Your language skills are very importent for the application in germany. List the language, maybe the place or institution where you acquired the language, and the level of your knowledge. The levels should be discribed in native (Muttersprache), very good (sehr gut), good (gut) and basics (Grundkenntnisse).
Additional Qualifications ( Zusätzliche Qualifikationen )
In this point you can mention relevant qualifications, membership of professionel or occupational associations, etc. Hobbys are not very importend for German employers.
Testimonials ( Arbeitszeugnisse )
Testimonials are very important in a German Application. You should ask your Employer for a Testimonial. The language could be english for an application in big international firms. For an application in a small firm, you should translate it in german and officially certified.
The German CV ends with place, date and signature.
In the covering letter you should refer to the various points in the advertisments to show that you have the necessary qualifications and experience. The letter should not be longer than one page. Don’t repete your CV, think what is important and nescessary for this job and tell it in short sentences.
It is important, that you don’t talk about money in your covering letter, only when it is demand in the job advertisement. Give the earliest date when you can start your work and future in the company. The next step is the question for an interview. Close the letter with greatings and sign it. Make sure that the letter is addressed to the right person. If there is no name given, address your application to the “Personalabteilung” of the company.
In a German Interview are a lot of tests possible, it could be that you have to make a personality test, a intelligence test and a psychological test. For higher positions it is normal to go in an Assessment-Center for tests. Don’t imitate something. The questions should be answered how you really think.
It is very important, that you arrived in time but this is not only in a german interview. Take your Curriculum Vitae, certificates and references with you. You could also ask questions about the company and the new job.
You make a very good impression if you could tell about background informations of the company. Information could be read by the website of the company. Now you can speak about money and working times. Don’t be surprised if you were invite for a second interview with an other person.