We spoke to more than 20 techies from all over the world who now live and work in Germany. All have one thing in common: They ‘made it’ in Germany. Yet all had very different job hunting experiences. Some received a good offer within a few weeks, others took many months, even up to a year.
All of them learned super valuable lessons along the way. Here is what these talents would do if they had to do it all over again. We distilled their lessons learned in 9 easily replicable steps.
Here you go.
Step 1. Put yourself in the position to win.
To win, you need a great application. We call it ‘rock star package’. To get there, read our series of targeted advice for techies seeking to relocate to Europe, and in particular to Germany.
We know, it’s a lot. Still, it’s already focused on the essentials…
Start with: “How to write a winning cover letter”
Step 2. Go to one of the big job sites in Germany.
Most people we know have found their jobs via these four sites:
Linkedin.com (always your #1 resource)
Berlinstartupjobs.com (#1 resource for startups, especially in Berlin)
Stackoverflow.com (great for developers, lists visa & relocation sponsors. Create a job alert here to stay up to date on new jobs)
Indeed.com (not only tech but very comprehensive)
Other credible alternatives:
Angel.co/jobs (any startup aspiring for US funding will advertise here)
Gruenderszene.de (German only but many jobs in English)
Deutsche Startups (German only, lots of startup jobs)
There are also job matching sites you can sign up for:
Relocate.me (mainly focused on Russian/Ukrainian developers)
Talent.io (experience is hit or miss — some easily find a job, some never)
Honeypot.io (similar to talent.io)
Step 3. Apply only for jobs you qualify for.
Do not only look at the job title. Instead, scan the job descriptions for keywords and apply only if you meet most of the criteria. Read this piece for details.
Step 4. Mass-customize your pitch to each job.
You should have slightly different versions of your CV and cover letter/email ready, customized to the specific keywords the company is hunting for. Our advice on cover letters gives an example of such mass-customization.
Example: You are a full stack engineer who knows Java and PHP. You now decide to apply for a Senior Java engineering position. In that case, highlight your specific Java experience and play down your other skills. This helps your recruiter categorize you as Java expert, rather than as full stack generalist.
Step 5. Send out max. 5 applications per batch.
If you take steps 2, 3 and 4 seriously, applying to 5 jobs will take you at least one hour, if not longer. This is a sign of quality. Put care and attention to detail in each of your applications. Do not spray and pray.
Step 6. Keep track of the applications you sent.
We love Job Hound (tutorial), an amazingly simple but effective open source tool. It helps you manage the application process and remember which jobs you applied for. If you are like us, keeping track of your open applications quickly becomes very confusing. This tool saves you from the embarrassment of applying to the same job twice and does much more.
Step 7. Repeat at least 2x per week.
Want to know a little well-kept secret of the HR profession? Your chances of getting the job are much higher if you are among the first to apply. Use it to your advantage.
PRO TIP: Set a job alert on the websites. Make sure you always apply within the first 3 days a job posting is online. If you apply late, chances are the company has already set its sights on other dream candidates.
Step 8. Use interviews as a way to learn.
Each interaction with a recruiter is an opportunity to learn. We hope by now you are scoring some interview invites.
The job search has a lot in common with dating. Understand how HR managers think, how they tick, and they will hire you. Read more here.
PRO TIP: After each interview, write down the questions you heard and answers you gave. How did the interviewers react? Did you succeed in building a personal relationship? Write down 3 things (or more) that you learned.
Step 9. Do this for up to 12 months.
This is a super long time, we know. It can be very very frustrating, especially when you start scoring 2nd and 3rd places out of a field of 50 or more applicants. You need to be incredibly persistent. It takes most people more than 6 months, and some even longer than a year until they strike gold. There is no shortcut. It took Youssef 12 months of persistent effort to find his dream job.
That’s it. We hope you enjoyed the read. Now it’s time for action. As always, we are rooting for you.
Keep us posted.