A job or career fair is a special event that aims to get companies and potential employees together to network and share information. These events are frequented by big companies that are looking to recruit large numbers of employees as well as fresh graduates for training programs. You will find organizations of all sizes, recruiters and possibly even colleges and universities at these events.
How to find a job in Berlin
If you work in tech, and you don’t speak German, it is very easy 1, 2 . There are many English-speaking tech companies in Berlin. English is the main language in many tech offices. There is a lot of demand for software developers and IT workers.
If you are a skilled worker, and you don’t speak German, it can be hard 1, 2 . Most jobs require German, but there are hundreds of businesses that hire English-speaking employees in Berlin. If you apply for medical or engineering positions, check if your education is recognized in Germany.
If you are not a skilled worker, and you don’t speak German, it can be really hard 1 . There are not many options, and there is a lot of competition. You compete with other people who speak English and German. If you are not a EU or EEA citizen, it’s hard to get a residence permit for unskilled work. You could still get a Working Holiday Visa, or a Youth Mobility Visa.
If you want to teach English in Berlin, it is very hard. If you are not certified, and don’t speak German, it’s very hard 1, 2, 3, 4 . The local English teachers’ association (ELTABB) has more resources. You can also teach English online, but if you are self-employed, you might need to register as a freelancer.
Contact companies directly.
If a company you are interested in doesn’t have any relevant jobs posted on their website, reach out to them via email or phone to see if they are looking to employ someone with your qualifications and experience. If a company is not actively recruiting for your role, you may not hear back from them, but they may keep you on file in case a position becomes available in the future.
The recruitment process costs a considerable amount of money, so if an employer hears from a suitable candidate directly before posting a job, they might favor employing you rather than spending time and money searching for other candidates. Also, if a company is experiencing rapid growth, they may be particularly open to hearing from qualified people, even if they have not advertised a position. This applies to start-up companies that have not yet fully considered their staffing needs.
Make a list of companies that you are interested in working for and how you can contact them. Note their current job vacancies on your list as well. Think carefully when figuring out what you want to say to each company, and consider writing a formal cover letter to convey that you are familiar with them and to explain why you would be an ideal employee.
Don’t burn bridges
No matter how frustrated you are, don’t storm off in a huff. In the long term, it’s never worth it. At the very least you’re going to want a decent referral from your existing employer, and you don’t want to create a reputation as someone who leaves co-workers in a lurch. At some point you might wind up working with your former colleagues again — or even report to one — at another company. As satisfying as it can feel in the moment, leaving with little or no notice can come back to haunt you for years to come. (See #4, below.)
The best way to find a job is through people you know who can vouch for your skills and knowledge, potential fit with their company, and work ethic. And while the pandemic has certainly isolated people, it’s a good time to pick your head up and join (or re-join) user groups, build or strengthen your university alumni connections, and attend relevant Meetups.
“If you’re a specialized Java e-commerce programmer, what groups do you belong to?” asks Victor Janulaitis, founder and CEO of Janco Associates. “That’s how you find your next job or figure out which skills to add to your inventory or meet someone who knows the quality of the work you do and can recommend you.” You need someone “who can advocate for you in a new organization.”
Ask people you know who recently landed new jobs how they did it, even if it’s in another industry. Also make sure to stay in touch with, or renew your relationship with, anyone who has mentored you in the past.
Use your personal, non-work phone and computer to contact potential employers, set up interviews, and send out your resume. Don’t put any personal email on your work machine. “Everyone should have their own desktop and cellphone that are airgapped from the job,” Janulaitis says.
Any gear your company gave or sent you when you started working there, or anything they help pay for (like your phone bill), means that equipment is theirs. Not only can the company demand it back at any point, but there might be a ‘big brother’-type app that monitors what you’re doing. And if you have to hand everything back, there go all your connections, text messages, and the like.
You might also need to ‘airgap’ your professional associations. If your company paid for those, and you find them valuable, then spend your own money on those fees so you can legitimately take membership lists, minutes from any meetings, and conference proceedings with you to your next post, or to help you land that new job.
Don’t neglect your existing job…
Remember it might take a while to find your new role, and you must continue to tend to your existing job. “At the end of the day, you have a commitment to your current job and are still expected to meet the requirements,” Hired’s Lawrence says. Go to the meetings, nail those deadlines. You don’t want your inattention to detail to be a tell to your boss or co-workers that your brain has left the building even if your body is still there.
“Some people are so sucked into their jobs, like gravity, that they need willpower to make the search work,” Burns says. The good news is that with so much remote work going on, you probably won’t need to physically travel anywhere to interview. Pre-pandemic you’d need to take vacation time, or work through lunchtime and leave the office early. Just schedule any online search-related meetings or interviews at times when you won’t be missed.
Hired’s Lawrence says that how much time you spend searching, and when, depends on how badly you want — or need — to leave your current job. If you must leave imminently for any reason, then consider taking time off to update your resume or portfolio, identify or learn any new skills you might need, or conduct that assessment of what you want to do next. But if you can make it a more leisurely search, you might be able to fit it all in without taking vacation time.