As international students in Germany, we all aspire to have sound social networks and careers by the time we graduate. I quickly realized that this was not as difficult a process, as I had thought it to be. Shortly after the beginning of my studies at Frankfurt School, I already had lots of touchpoints with Career Services. E.g. in their CV training, we discussed how the application process in Germany usually works and how to best apply to companies by creating state of the art CVs and cover letters. I learnt that it was very significant for one to have their picture, signature, and their residential address in the resume. This was new information to me, as this was not common in résumés in India – the country I am from.
Later, I also scheduled a one-on-one session with a career counselor: We worked on my profile and talked about the industry sectors in which I was interested to work in. I got the opportunity to address any specifics from my profile that I sought clarification for and was happy about the level of individual attention provided.
Next up was the Career Services event “My German Success” which was a very informative panel discussion with alumni who shared their personal journeys from being international students at Frankfurt School to finding great jobs and building successful careers in Germany. Here are my 3 key take aways I took from the event:
Preparing for networking events
“In Germany you will have to consciously and actively engage with new people, understand and learn about the market as well as the culture and build your own professional network.”, emphasized an alumna from India.
In light of this, she shared with us a few tips about tackling networking events like Career Day:
- “Prepare and practice an elevator pitch in German for introducing yourself to companies, if you have started to learn German. This will impress company representatives and will show them your willingness to learn the language.”
- “On LinkedIn or Xing, actively engage with professionals you have met and use the platforms to connect with people who might be interesting for your individual career journey.”
- “Continue to network and to grow even after you got a job: Use your current job for continuously building your own professional network.”
Preparing for an interview
Another panelist and alumnus from India shared with us his interview experience during which he had a forty-minute conversation just about what the company was currently undertaking. “Had I not put in the time to extensively research, I would not have been able to carry the conversation forward for these forty minutes.”, he reminded us. I also learned from him that most of the times all the information we need for an interview is right there on the company website. I must admit, that of all the sources I used to research on a company at that time (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Google), I never did invest much time in exploring this one.
An alumnus from China talked about constructive criticisms, and how to take them positively: “Constructive criticism is something that is not very unusual in Germany.” I realized that this is a wonderful growth opportunity both for the company and for oneself to know where one has gone wrong and how one can troubleshoot the same situation in the future. To me personally, this was valuable information as – coming from India where people are not quite used to constructive criticisms – one can easily get disheartened or end up concluding that his or her boss is not happy with them, which certainly is not the case.
To me “My German Success” was a wonderful success, where I received knowledge first hand from people who lived the experiences they shared with us. I am certainly looking forward to the next one. Planning our career and achieving our own German success is a steady process of growing and networking in this remarkable country. Starting with proper research and preparation as well as continuously interacting with Career Services will go a long way every step of the way.