What to put in a reference for German companies

13 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi, I have really searched the forums and didn't find quite what I needed to answer this question, but I do apologise if this has already come up and I missed it!

 

I have just stopped work on a Government project in the UK that is due to be totally closed and disbanded in the next few months. I will be starting Uni in 6 weeks in the UK and part of my course in that I spend 1 year working in Germany, my long-term aim is to move to Germany.

 

I did excellently at my last job and I understand that in Germany is customary to take a reference from your job when you leave. However in a few months they will be totally unable to contact my old manager and I think it's important I ask them for a reference now that I can use in the future.

 

Does anyone know what is included in a German reference? I speak German and can translate any forms you send my way. I really would appreciate some kind of guidance.

 

Thanks guys!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

They should give you a recommendation letter which details what you did and what your strengths and accomplishments are. German recommendation letters follow certain implicit rules (i.e. there's a "secret code"), but if it is written in English by an English employer, nobody expects this code to be followed.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Mentioning a willingness/love to travel to other European countries by various means* will always get their interest.

 

:-)

 

being serious however, see if you can find anything on this code thing. For example..

 

Always gives 100% means only does his job.

tries hard means never actually succeeds.

 

It is a tricky subject but as said above, if it is in English it shouldn't be too much an issue.

For the future (when you start applying) remember to look into how a German CV should be formatted. It is different to the standard UK one.

 

 

 

 

 

Tank, U-boat, military plane, marching is also accepted :-)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the posts, they are much appreciated.

 

What should be included in a letter of recommendation, any checklists/sample letters out there?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A reference should always include the following:

 

 

1. A description of your job and responsibilities (including how many people reported to you in case you held a managerial position)

 

2. What you have personally accomplished during your time with the company (e.g., you implemented a new booking system which saved your company a lot of money)

 

3. How well you did your job (being 'exceptional' on paper always helps...) and how well you worked in a team. Mentioning a positive professional relationship with your superiors is also a good thing to have in writing.

 

4. Skills of yours that were particularly valuable to the company (e.g. speaking a second language). Your manager needs to list those.

 

5. The reason why you left the company

 

 

Try to get a written reference that is as positive as possible, and get it signed by your direct manager and at least another senior manager, if possible.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

kritzykins: this may or may not be relevant for the future if you come here and then return to the UK and need references. I work in insurance and needed to arrange an agency agreement with a UK insurance company a few years ago. They needed three references from German insurance companies with which I have agreements that I am "kosher". All three German insurance companies refused to give references despite my explicit permission because of "Datenschutzgründe". I really don´t know if that´s helpful for you, probably not , but just (maybe) to bear in mind. Good luck!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Iif your old (German) company liked you, the reference will normally include a final sentence saying how sorry it is to lose you. The writer will also normally wish you all the best for your professional and personal future.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

However in a few months they will be totally unable to contact my old manager and I think it's important I ask them for a reference now that I can use in the future.

 

 

It is also a good idea to maintain contact with your last management - not so difficult in the modern technology world - in case you need any sort of input later.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Sorry, my question pertains to academic reference, but I didn't want to open a new thread.

 

I'm trying to get an academic reference from my MA dissertation supervisor. I contacted him on Friday, (first time since I left my uni in Cardiff, so 2006/7) asking if he don't mind being my referee. He replied promptly saying he'll be happy to be so. I wrote back the same evening requesting that I'll need to mail a hard copy of his reference to the unis, so could he write one for me? I also proposed to email him my CV, all degree/ language certificates as well my motivations for applying for new courses, so he knows what I've been up to in last few years.

 

I have not heard from him since then. :unsure:

I think I was very polite and even 'apologized for inconvenience' twice.

 

Was my approach wrong or should I wait out for a few more days? If I don't hear from him again today, how long before I follow up? He has actually permitted me to use his contact details already for references, but I still need the real thing in my hands, possibly asap.

 

Any suggestions?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Aqua_Minie,

 

I am no expert in university applications but why don´t you inform yourself on what the new university needs in the letter of reference, prepare a template on what you did exactly in your work there (not too long), then submit it to your supervisor and ask him to modify it as much as he deems it appropriate and then sign it? I don´t know you or your dissertation work, but you say you left Uni 6-7 years ago, he might as well just not remember you with all the students he had; he is probably also very busy himself so he doesn´t have the time to do the due research on what to write (nor can he go through your whole CV and endorse all you wrote in there); and above all, it might be the first time he does this for somebody and is not aware of what the other university needs (requirements change according to the universities you apply to, he cannot know everything). Just a bit of perspective on the reasons behind him not answering.

 

As far as I know, there is nothing against you preparing a template and having him review and sign it and then send it to you as scan/pdf; in fact, I believe it can be considered common practice.

 

He can always modify anything he doesn´t agree to and you´ll make sure he has all the information already available, so the work on his side will be minimal.

 

Also, make sure the new university doesn´t need a transcript of your academic records; if so, it´s not your supervisor who should provide it - as far as I know, it´s the administrative office of your old university.

 

Hope this helps a little! Maybe somebody with experience in this kind of things can chime in, too.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Livializ

 

Thanks for your reply!

 

I thought of writing a template as well, in fact other references were prepared just the exact way as you've described. But then I googled 'how to ask your professor for a reference'. Most of the results that I read suggested that students should provide professor with details and what not, and then let them write.

 

Hmmm Now I'm wondering what to do, and how should I approach him once again. I have not heard from him since last Friday. I guess I'll prepare a template and send him my CV and other details this weekend...

 

Any other suggestions though?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Acqua_minie, I write academic references here, and while I do my best, a one-week turnaround isn't always possible unless the person asking for the reference has given me a deadline. So, first of all, if you haven't already done so, politely let your previous supervisor know when you need the reference. ASAP is a bit vague. (Equally, since UK academic references are often confidential, make it clear that in this case, you need something *you* can hand in directly. Some people have a problem with that.)

 

I wouldn't prepare a template (I write enough references - I've got a few already!) but I would put all the crucial info in point form in the body of the message, rather than requiring the reference-writer to wade through your CV. I wouldn't send a copy of all your certificates either. If you must, then the main ones, but I admit that I don't generally look at them. The transcript couldn't hurt, or if you don't have a full one (common UK problem), then a note of your dissertation grade or grades in courses particularly relevant to him/the course you want to study is a good idea.

 

Since it's been a week, then I would send this information now. He may well be waiting for it - I don't always answer that sort of message and just assume the student will send the documents once I've said yes to the general request. And you don't need to apologise too much, although being polite is obviously very welcome. Writing references comes with the territory in an academic job, and you've already had permission to use the lecturer's name.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Wow! Thank you flavia for sharing all this!

 

And here I've been puzzled all along about why I did not hear from him since that last correspondence. So, the next course of action will be sending off the infos! :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now