How to find a job in Berlin

This guide helps you find a job in Berlin, from finding job listings to your first day at work.

Can you work in Germany?

You might need a residence permit to work in Germany. You can get a work visa or a Blue Card, or any other residence permit.

Who needs a residence permit?

It takes at least 6 to 10 weeks to get a residence permit. Most employers know this, and they will wait for you. Some employers hire a relocation consultant to help you.

Do you need to speak German?

No, but it helps. You can find English-speaking jobs, but most companies want German speakers.

If you don’t speak German, you can still find jobs in…

Do you need to speak German in Berlin?

How long does it take to get hired?

A few months. Even if you find a job quickly, the hiring process is very slow.

Salaries in Germany

Know how much you should earn, and how much taxes you should pay. This helps you negotiate a better salary.

Salaries in Germany

Calculate your income tax

Step 1: Look for jobs

  • – Job search engine. You can filter by language and set alerts.
  • LinkedIn – Networking website with a big jobs section. Very popular.
  • Jobsuche der Bundesagentur (in German) – Run by the Agentur für Arbeit
  • Talent Berlin – Run by the state of Berlin. You can’t filter by language.
  • HeyJobs – Job listing website. Made in Berlin.
  • ArbeitNow – Job listing website. Made in Berlin.
  • Jobted – You can filter jobs by language.
  • Xing – Similar to LinkedIn. You can’t filter by language.
  • Glassdoor - Company reviews, salary reports and job listings. You need an account.

English-speaking jobs

These websites only have English-speaking jobs, or let you filter by language:

Tech jobs

Creative jobs: media, communications, design

Startup jobs

Internships, temp work and minijobs

Freelance work

Restaurant jobs

Step 2: Apply for jobs

German resumes

German CVs are longer than American resumes. They include your date of birth, your citizenship and a photo of you.1 You should go to a photo studio and get a professional portrait for your resume. A career coach can help you write a better resume.

Useful links:

Cover letters

Include a short cover letter (Anschreiben) with your application. It’s a personal introduction. It explains who you are, what you do, why you apply for this job, and why they should hire you.

Don’t send the same cover letter to everyone. Do your research, and personalise the letter for each job offer. Keep it short and easy to read. Get feedback from other people before you send it. A career coach can help you write better cover letters.

Step 3: The job interview

In Germany, the interview process is very long. It can take a few weeks, and even a few months. You might have multiple interviews with different people. It depends on the company and the job. You need a lot of time for this.

The phone screen

The interview process starts with a short call. A recruiter or hiring manager will ask you a few questions. They will try to understand who you are, what you want, and how you fit the job offer. It’s a simple check before they invite you for an interview.

How to prepare – Imagine Foundation

The technical interview

Most tech companies have technical interviews or coding challenges. They verify that you know how to do your job.

Technical interviews are different at every company. They might ask you technical questions, ask you to solve a problem during the interview, or complete a technical challenge at home. Some companies don’t have technical interviews.

Meet the team

Most companies have a team interview. You meet your future team to see if you work well together. This interview is more relaxed. You might just talk with the team, or have lunch together.

Step 4: The job offer

After your interview, the company can make a job offer.

Salary negotiation

After you get the job offer, you can negotiate a better salary. You can also ask for things like a relocation bonus or more vacation days.

Salaries in Germany

The job contract

Read your job contract carefully. If your employer promised something to you during the interview, verify that it’s in your contract. Only sign the contract if you agree with everything. Send the signed contract by post.

If you are not sure about your contract, ask for help or talk to a lawyer.

Step 5: Get a residence permit

If you need a residence permit to work in Germany, you must apply for it. You must have a job offer before you apply for the residence permit.

Do you need a residence permit?

Your employer can hire a relocation consultant to help you. It makes everything easier.

How to get a work visa

How to get a Blue Card

Step 6: Start working

Things your employer needs

During your first month at a new company, your employer needs a few things:

Your employer can’t ask for your Anmeldung to start working.5

The probation period

During your first 6 months at a new company, you are in your probation period (Probezeit).2 During that time, it’s easier to get fired. It’s also harder to find an apartment, because you don’t have a stable job.

How does the probation period work?

Things an employee must know

In Germany, most people are paid once per month, usually on the 1st or 15th day of the month. You get your first paycheck after 30 or 45 days after you start working. You usually get paid by bank transfer.

Most employees in Germany are paid by bank transfer once per month, on the first day of the month.4 Your employer takes salary tax, health insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance from your paycheck.

Income tax calculator

How taxes work

All employees in Germany get paid vacation days, and paid sick leave. You don’t work on public holidays, but you still get paid.

How to take vacations

What to do when you are sick

Step 7: Make a tax declaration

Many of your job search costs are tax-deductible:3

  • Relocation costs
    If you move closer to your new job, you can deduct your moving costs.
  • Job search costs
    Coaching, resume writing, professional photos, translations, printing costs, job search services…
  • Travel costs
    Fuel, train tickets, hotels, meals and parking fees to go to job interviews.

If you started working in the middle of the year, you probably paid too much salary tax. Make a tax declaration to lower your income tax, and get some money back.

Need help?

Career coaching

These people can help you get hired. For example, they can review your resume and cover letter. Their fee is tax-deductible.

Other services

Sources and footnotes



  4. §614 BGB