How to apply in Germany
Like every other country, Germany has its own standards and rules for applying. Applicants have to provide different documents and information depending on the professional level and industry.
How does applying in Germany work?
Job ads usually state how you should apply and which documents are required. A complete application in Germany consists of a cover letter, a CV with a photo, references, and other certificates. You can usually submit applications by email or via the company’s careers page.
Foreign applicants should also include certified translations of relevant documents. If necessary, you should explain points in your CV or in your documents that may not be clear to a German employer – e.g., if the grading system in your country is different than in Germany.
Ensure that you provide all required documents, that the text is well written, there are no spelling errors, and that the documents are in a standard format (PDF, Word, JPG) and have a clear name that describes the content, e.g., B. “CV-Your-Name.pdf”.
1. Cover letter
Depending on the type of position, the cover letter can be a brief introduction or a detailed explanation of your motivation, expectations, and experiences. It shouldn’t be longer than 1 page.
In your CV, you describe your previous personal and professional career in tabular form: your education, professional experience, skills. Add your contact information and a photo. It shouldn’t be longer than two pages. Here you can download the template for the popular Europass CV.
A photo is an essential part of an application in Germany. You should add it to your CV or, if required, send it as a separate file, preferably in JPG format. Avoid selfies and use passport photos or professional headshots.
Provide relevant documents and certificates that support your application. Concentrate on the most important documents such as the latest language certificate, your diploma, and your references. Do not send more than 5-6 certificates.
All documents should be translated into German by a certified translator. If necessary, additional explanations should be added to the documents, e.g., that the issuing institution of a degree is accredited in your country.
When employees in Germany leave a job, their employers are obliged to write them a job reference in which their job tasks and results are described. Since such references are unusual outside of German-speaking countries, you can optionally include recommendations from former employers or other relevant people.
What is the procedure for applying in Germany?
You can usually apply for most positions by email, via the employer’s website, or LinkedIn and XING. In some cases, you may be asked to send a printed application or bring it in in person if you are already in Germany.
During the selection phase, employers review the applications received, compare candidates and check documents. You may be asked to provide additional information before receiving an answer on whether or not you will be invited to the interview.
Job interviews can consist of several rounds and include tasks or tests. Applicants from abroad are usually interviewed by phone or video first. Only those who make it through to the last round are invited to Germany, or the interviews are conducted in their home countries.
If you meet all the requirements and the interview goes well, the company will make you an offer. Before you sign the contract, you should clarify all essential, logistical, and financial details. Often there is room for negotiation.
The essential requirement for a German work visa is a valid employment contract or a binding job offer. Make sure that the contract meets the required minimum standards and salary limits for the desired visa.