Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Finding a job in a foreign country can be daunting especially when the main working language in the country is not your mother tongue. This is arguably the number 1 fear for expats moving to the German capital. However, there are in fact many English-speaking jobs in Berlin and international companies are popping up left, right and centre in the city. With a thriving start-up scene, some have even labelled Berlin as the Silicon Valley of Europe.
In this article, we have laid out some tips and tricks for landing your dream job as well as some info on how we can help you along the way.
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Our Quick Tips
1. It's much easier to land a job in Berlin when you are actually living in the city than when you are applying from abroad – so don't be afraid of moving to the city without a job lined up. That way you are available straight away for interviews, etc. Always have a Berlin address on your CV to show that you are in the city.
2. Take a German course! While there are many English-speaking jobs in Berlin, it looks good on your CV to show that you are at least starting to learn the language.
3. Add a professional-looking photo to your CV. Germans often get professional photos taken to put on their CVs, so make sure that you have a high-quality picture of yourself before applying for jobs. This is really important and often a reason why CVs are overlooked in Germany.
4. Adapt your CV to the German job market. Ensure your CV is formatted and structured similarly to a German CV. The structure of German CVs are quite particular and are different from other countries.
5. Get a German number as soon as you arrive so that you can put it on your CV and are easily contactable by potential employers/recruiters.
6. Have savings. Save as much as possible before the move and delay the move to a later date if you don’t feel you have enough savings behind you. Our participants find a job on average between 4 - 6 weeks after arriving in Berlin, however, it can take longer. So prepare for the worst and have savings to keep you going for at least three months in Berlin. Salaries are paid monthly in Berlin so you could start a job and not be paid for a month, so it pays to be prepared.
7. Be flexible. If you focus too much on one area or sector, you may find it much trickier to find a job in Berlin. Be open to other avenues, career paths and opportunities. It may not be your dream job in the beginning, but a foot in the door will often open up opportunities further down the line. Often just having international experience on your CV, even if it’s in a different field, works wonders for your career progression. Career aside, having the opportunity to live and work in this wonderful city can be more worthwhile than finding the ‘perfect’ job. However, that doesn’t mean there aren't fantastic jobs out there –we have participants working at Zalando, interning at Spotify, completing apprenticeships in tattoo studios and working at music licensing companies. The city really has something for everyone!
The Job Market
Like any other European hub, the Berlin job market can be quite competitive and our programmes give you a great platform from which to start your job hunt. In all our programmes, we include listings of over 500 companies which hire English speakers (and other languages) – where possible, we also provide contact details for the recruiters at those companies and direct links to their jobs boards. Added to this, our online resource base includes detailed information on how to adapt your CV for the German job market, example CVs and detailed job hunting tips.
Listed below are just a few of the many companies in Berlin who have a large number of international employees.
Most common English-speaking roles in Berlin
In our experience with helping a large number of people from around the globe land jobs in Berlin, the most common English-speaking jobs in Berlin are currently:
Sales & Business Development
Childcare & Teaching
Marketing & Account Management
Job boards cost money and a lot of smaller companies and start-ups will therefore not post every opening on paid job boards. Posting a job on a job board also requires correct keyword planning so the job is found easily. Larger companies may have more experience in this or a larger budget for job ads. Therefore, job openings on larger job boards or those that are easily found will have a much wider audience and be far more competitive. Traditional methods of job hunting in Berlin (using large job boards like Indeed, etc.) may put you in a very large pool of candidates.
The best way to stand out and increase your chances of landing interviews in Berlin is to apply for jobs that a smaller group of people have seen. This is where our company listings of over 500 Berlin-based companies that employ English speakers come into play – the listings (which are included in all of our programmes) allow you to quickly go straight to the source and search directly on each company's own career page. Often jobs are posted on a company's own career page before an external job board – this way the company may even find a candidate directly before having to shell out to post it on an external job board. Our listings will help you find openings before other candidates and you will see which companies in Berlin hire English speakers in your industry. They are also very handy for sending out speculative applications, which are very common in the city. Our company listings are divided into categories for ease of use – business, tech, hospitality, childcare, education and retail.
We also provide listings of 80+ job boards that cover all the major sectors in Berlin as well as Facebook & LinkedIn groups.
Below are a few job boards to get you started
It is estimated that 49% of employees working in Berlin start-ups are foreigners so this is a great place to start when looking for an English-speaking job. Below are a few start-up job boards.
Freelancing is very common in Berlin. Don’t get put off a job ad if it asks for a freelancer as it's fairly easy to set up as a freelancer in Germany, and there are also many financial benefits of freelancing versus being an employee. Nomaden Berlin can also help you set up as a freelancer as part of our relocation programmes. We provide step-by-step guidance on applying for a Residence Permit for Freelance Employment, information on how to apply for a freelance tax number (Steuernummer), including a translated application form, and detailed information on how to freelance in Germany.
Job Search on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s advanced search function is handy for looking for English-speaking jobs in Berlin. Set the location to Berlin and use the keywords function to specify the type of work you are looking for, e.g. 'English', 'Spanish', 'part-time', 'business development'. You can also set up alerts for new job listings. Get a free 30-day trial of a LinkedIn premium account, which will give you more search options and allow you to message recruiters directly. On your LinkedIn privacy settings, you can now select to let recruiters know that you are open to new positions – make sure you enable this feature so that recruiters can find you more easily.
Xing is a platform similar to LinkedIn and is widely used in Germany. Create a Xing profile as Xing also has a job board. Also sign up for Woloho’s newsletter, they send weekly job opportunities many of which are English-speaking positions.
Facebook groups are also a great place to look for a job. As most job boards charge for listings, many recruiters and companies are turning to Facebook to advertise positions as it’s completely free.
Bars, shops, restaurants and hostels often employ English speakers. Your best bet of landing one of these jobs is to ask when the manager will be working and drop by with your CV. In our company listings, we list a large number of restaurants and bars in Berlin that hire English speakers. To work in hospitality in Berlin, you need to apply for a Red Card. Included in our programme information is detailed information on applying for a red card – securing this certificate will help you find a job in hospitality much quicker as many restaurants and cafes won’t allow you to even apply for openings without one.
If you wish to work in hospitality, it’s highly recommended that you take a German course or two. Despite hospitality being one of the main sectors that hire English speakers in Berlin, it's much better if you can communicate on some level with your German-speaking customers and it will significantly help your chances of finding a job. Prior to arriving in Berlin, study some of the common German terms and phrases used in the hospitality sector. This will make your life a little easier as well as the lives of your customers.
How can Nomaden Berlin help me land an English-speaking job in Berlin?
As part of all of our relocation programmes, we provide the following job hunting advice and support:
Company listings including 500+ companies that employ non-German speakers in Berlin.
An extensive list of relevant job boards in Germany.
Job hunting information and tips for Germany.
Detailed CV and LinkedIn advice.
Editable CV template and CV examples for the German market
With this support, most of our participants are able to secure full-time employment within 4 to 6 weeks of arriving in Berlin. All of our programmes also include full access to our relocation platform, that contains all you need to know to get set up in Berlin, from applying for and securing an employment visa, registering an address and getting a tax ID to finding an apartment, signing up for German health insurance, setting up a bank account and everything in between! On top of this, we offer a range of different services to suit your different needs. These services include:
Appointment booking service for address registration and visas.
Relocation workshop so you know exactly when, where and how to complete the different relocation steps.
Visa support and guidance for all major employment visas including the Residence Permit for Employment, EU Blue Card, Residence Permit for Freelance Employment and Job Seekers Visa.
Social events, tours and meetups in your first week in Berlin as well as 15+ ongoing events throughout the year.
If this takes your fancy, then why not check out our different relocation programmes through the links below:
Now is the time to move to Berlin with Nomaden Berlin!