As of march 2020, Berlin had an unemployment rate of 7,9% overall compared to the 5,4% in Germany on average. You might think it’s still doable to find a job in Berlin but those statistics are also counting the infamous mini-jobs and Nebenjobs that are widespread in Germany.
The thing is: it is not that difficult to find a job in Berlin.
Yep, I said it!
What is really difficult is to find a stable and decent one that is calling out to your education field. I have seen several people come to Berlin to enjoy its sweet life, stay for about 1 year and a half; and leave again because they didn’t have money anymore. It is apparently symptomatic of a city that is counts numerous underfunded start-ups & little money for the art scene.
The key to a proper job in Berlin is…
I will give you however a little secret of mine, the key to a durable career in Berlin. You won’t get away with it: you need to master German!
You need to speak German fluently to find a job in Berlin.Sure you will be able to get English-speaking jobs in cool companies, but that won’t get you too far at some point.
The first reason for that is that there are many overqualified foreigners like you applying for the same jobs. And even if you get the position, you won’t be able to progress so far within the company. I am sure that there are plenty of people out there that got their jobs in Berlin without peeping a word of German! But on the long-run, those people are likely to hit a glass ceiling and his/her colleague who spoke German got the long deserved promotion.
The reason I’m telling you all this is that the key decision makers are still often German people. They make the decisions, hire or fire and set-up strategies. If you are not able to play on the same level with them, it won’t be possible to eventually convince them that you are the good manager for the Berlin unit. Another valid reason beyond promotion and career is that not speaking German might negatively impact on your salary.
There are plenty of options to get started on this mission. You can go the good ol’ fashion way with language tandems and language schools. You can also go the more flexible and innovative route too with online languages schools like Lingoda. Make use of micro-moments of free time with learning apps. They are all great options depending on your needs. The main point is to get started (full guide here).
Now if you are planning to stay only a little while, it might not be necessary to learn German to find a job in Berlin. You might not find the best fitting one or the best pay, but it will be enough to pay your rent and your lifestyle.
Places to look to find a job in Berlin depending on your industry, experience & skills
Startup jobs in Berlin
You are young and hungry for experience, it might be why you came to Berlin: for its vivid start-up scene. Berlin has impressively raised up its profile and it is now known as true hub in Europe. Start-ups provide a lot of opportunities and are usually a lot more flexible concerning German skills. Showing motivation and spirit is often key. Money is sometimes not great but that can change quickly if you do well. Online Marketing, business intelligence, product management, sales & customer support know-hows are often what they are looking for.
- Deutsche Startups (in German)
- Berlin Startup Jobs
- Gründerszene (in German)
- StartupSucht in German)
You can also check the major venture’s websites that constantly looking for fresh blood for new ventures. Turnover can be quite high in those ventures but you will get plenty of responsibilities & experience and learn a lot in a very short time.
The following placement companies can also help you if you work in e-commerce or online marketing. They work for companies which search specific profiles for a position. You send them a CV and go through an interview, and they call you when they have a match. They get paid by the company with successful placements.
UX, UI & graphic design
If you have UX, UI, graphic design skills, those website are a good starting points. Berlin is a great place for graphic designers. Each start-up more or less needs one. In that case, to know a bit about HTML & CSS is often a big plus :
IT, Software developments jobs in Berlin
If you are an IT rock star, you won’t have much trouble finding a job in Berlin. Thanks to the many web based start-ups, you can hope for a good situation here, even if you don’t speak German at all. In addition to all the generic websites, you have those:
Jobs for creative, artists
If you are more of a creative type and want to find something in the arts, dance, music, film or theater industry, you might want to have a look at those websites. Competition is tough but the scene is very vivid and full of opportunities.
NGO, non-profit & public sector jobs
If you want to commit to a career in NGO, non-profit or socially-engaged organisations, you might want to give this a shot:
If your German skills are already up there, public sector jobs are also an option:
B-Corp, purpose & sustainability economy jobs in Berlin
People interested in the hospitality industry or jobs in cafés, restaurants can turn to:
Medical, science & engineering
You can also turn to science and engineering jobs on this job board:
If you have a medical background, you are in luck. Germany experiences a shortage of doctors & nurses.
Over the years, portals have sprung-up to cater to English-speaking jobs in Berlin. On those platforms, you won’t find any jobs that require German, although it is often mentioned as a nice-to-have.
Temp jobs & Student jobs in Berlin
You can signup for platforms who offers small jobs on a temp basis. You can signup and receive new offers daily for small jobs lasting a few hours. It’s a nice flexible option.
Finding internships, apprenticeships in Berlin
Whether you are enrolled in a German university, an exchange student or simply wanting to try your first experience in Berlin, some specialized platforms can help you get a cool spot. Consider:
Other resources to consider
- English jobs in Berlin
- Jobs in Berlin
- Berlin StartUp Jobs
- English speaking jobs in Berlin
- Startup Jobs Germany
Big generic job boards:
- Linkedin Jobboard
Living in Berlin, working remotely
Remote jobs have gain in popularity, starting in the tech industry, slowly spreading to other sectors as well. The global COVID-19 crisis also helped accelerate the movement.
Berlin offers a great living standard and it’s definitely possible to settle here on a remote job. If that speaks to you, you may be interested in those platforms to find a remote job in Berlin.
How to secure a job from abroad, if you don’t have a visa yet
If you are a software engineer, there is a good chance you could secure a job in Germany, as it is a highly-sought after skill. You can go through job search and visa application on your own, which is possible, but often lead to a stressful process, with a fair chance of rejection. To secure a great application, you can also turn to support organisations like Imagine, which help you every step of the way and maximize your chances of success.
Securing a work visa:
If you are not an EU-citizen, you probably already know that you ought to apply to a work visa in order to establish yourself in Berlin.
It will massively help if you belong to a skilled worker category, in an industry that is actively looking for profiles like yours. If that is the case, not speaking the language will often much less of a problem.
You can see an overview of all relevant visa types you could apply to here, or look at this detailed guide on the German work visa.
How to make sure your are getting a fair salary offer:
Don’t sell yourself short by doing your research on how much you should ask when negotiating your salary. I have made a dedicated post on how much you should get paid in Berlin this way. This is an important step to getting a job you are excited about. Added to that: don’t forget that rent prices have increased much quicker than salary levels in Berlin; the excuse that some employers used (“You should decrease your expectations because the city is cheaper than where you come from.) is now more and more obsolete.
How to make sure the company you applied for offers a good work environment:
One of the trends that came with web 2.0 is the ability to leave reviews for pretty much anything on the web. What started on Amazon products has expanded to local shops, tourist attractions, services or hotels. Companies and employers did not escape that trend and platforms have emerged to provide insider information on what it is really like to work there. You can access testimonies by former/current employees or people that applied to some jobs. Although reviews are by nature biased, they can give you a good idea of what’s it like. If you are interested head to:
Alternatively, you can also try to search for former employees on Facebook groups above or via a quick Linkedin search and ask there.
Tip 1 : I really can’t state that enough : to find a job in Berlin, you need to learn German. Please do invest some time in the language! If you need some guidance on this topic too, you might be interested in this article.
Tip 2 : Improve your chance to find a job by signing up for a profile on Xing. It is the German equivalent for LinkedIn or Viadeo. Xing has also a job board of its own with many job offers that cannot be found elsewhere. Having a profile there also allows to do better networking and shows that you are proactive to integrate the local job market. Interface can be switched to English. It is a must-have for anyone being serious about their work profile in Germany. It’s totally worth 2 min of your time to get started.
I hope this first overview helps you finding a job in Berlin, whether you are a fresh graduate, a young professional or a seniro profile. Good luck and feel to leave questions in the comment section. 🙂Bastien