Karin Reuschenbach-Coutinho
Head of Career Services
Karin has many years of experience supporting students of all levels to prepare for their careers. S...
Career Services

Employment opportunities in Germany for non-German speakers

February 11, 2015
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One of the most common questions we get asked in career services is how to find work for non-German speakers. There is no doubt that speaking fluent German opens up many more opportunities than are available for non-German speakers so learning German during your programme is important. Nevertheless, Germany is still a very attractive destination for international students due to its healthy economy and the shortage of skilled workers on the job market. In addition to this, the German government are actively encouraging international graduates from German universities to stay in the country after graduation by providing 18 months jobseekers visas. And once you find employment, changing to an employment visa is a straight forward process. There are also many companies that are willing to hire non-German speaking graduates, but the positions are not always advertised and many opportunities only arise with a speculative application or the right connection. So what can you do to increase your chances of finding employment? Here are a few tips:

  1. Learning German is the obvious answer and we provide our students with German classes during their studies. Many students also take the initiative to sign up for additional classes or language exchange, but if you are in an 18 month Masters degree or in the 15 month full-time MBA, there simply isn’t enough time to learn business German. So sign up for beginners German before you arrive in Germany. If you can get through a beginners course (A1 or A2) before you arrive, this will make a huge difference to how much you are able to improve during your studies. You will be able to start practicing and using your German right from day one.
  2. Target specific companies by matching your profile to their business needs. Companies often consider non-German speakers when you bring unique or relevant skills to the table.
  3. Don’t just focus on well-known brands. Germany has many hidden champions. They may not be household names that impress your classmates, but there are many companies with international operations and excellent career opportunities.
  4. Identify companies with international operations and development in countries where you have linguistic or local cultural knowledge. This will give you a big competitive advantage over other applicants and will also demonstrate that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in their company.
  5. Don’t just assume that the only opportunities in Frankfurt are in the finance industry. There are many international and German companies in the Frankfurt area, some of whom are going to be showcased at the upcoming Industry Day.
  6. And lastly, don’t forget to include your German language skills on your CV. Even if you have just started learning it is an important signal that you are serious about integrating and committed to a career in the German speaking world.

Find out how we can support your career with an MBA at Frankfurt School