Finding ANY jobs in Berlin: Tips for non-German speakers

1,061 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I am new to Toytown and just joined to get some friendly advice before I too move to Berlin. Apparently not all of the advice here is friendly. I am feeling for uxiizo and was hoping to maybe steer this conversation in a more productive light as many of you are, for reasons unknown to me, extremely angry at the original post.

 

I am also a Canadian and will be moving in with my boyfriend (a native German) before Christmas and hopefully starting my PhD in October. This leaves me with quite a gap of time in which I will need to feed myself, hopefully with some sort of gainful employment. I realize that the situation is 'dismal', however much of my life is in Berlin right now and living in another less trendy city is not exactly optimal. I was wondering if anyone had tried the SWAP work abroad programs offered to young Canadians in which you pay a fee (~ $450CAD) to this SWAP company that ensures you a working visa for up to a year and support services with things such as housing and finding work. I already have an apartment but was wondering if anyone had used this service for visas or for finding English work in Berlin and if it was successful? I also only have intermediate German skills and so would most likely need and English speaking job.

 

If there are good reviews on this SWAP program maybe uxiizo will have a more hopeful option and everyone can stop belittling him. I have searched the forums and didn't find any reference to the SWAP program so I am assuming this is a NEW question to ask and hopefully will not piss anyone off. If there is already a forum discussion on the SWAP topic then please just upload a link and be nice. I understand everyone's frustration with the job market but it seems petty to take it out on Newbies who are only looking for advice from more experienced members.

 

Thank you for any advice you can offer us Newbies. We honestly really appreciate it!

 

Rose

 

PS Canadians are overly polite, to the point of nausea, so please don't frighten your poor flannel loving friends by being to brash.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rose, how much money would you need to make, and what field are you in/what skills do you have (knowing that might help others give you more useful responses)? Students are sometimes hired for temporary or part-time positions to do work that entry level people would otherwise do. You don't need to pay a company to get a work visa for you or find housing for you, so I would advise you not to go that route.

 

Have you discussed a job search in Berlin with your boyfriend (who sounds from your post as if he resides in or near Berlin)?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes my boyfriend does reside in Berlin and I would be moving into our apartment there. He grew up in the North East and it may be possible for me to work for businesses owned by his family members in villages surrounding Berlin, if it comes to it. I am a M.Sc. student in Animal Sciences (molecular epidemiology work with pathogens). I have looked at Bayer a bit and Praxel as they are international companies, however I feel as though I am not a good candidate for most of their positions as they are long-term and I just need something to get me through until I can acquire a PhD most likely in October(I am applying to a few schools right now and am in contact with several potential supervisors).

 

I, like uxiizo, would just need enough to get by while I learned the culture and got my German to a more fluent level. I have stayed in Berlin for vacation last Christmas for 3weeks and again this summer for school for about a month and survived alright on my stipend which is probably under 700euro/month. Anything around that would be AWESOME however from reading the previous post I feel like maybe I should be setting my sites closer to 400euro/month?

 

Is the situation so dismal that we should consider paying this SWAP program to help us find minimum wage jobs? Will I just be throwing away money I could use to survive for another couple weeks or has anyone heard of these services that assist in finding employment actually being successful? I would love to fill out my own visa paperwork to save the cash and am willing to run around Berlin 10hrs/day handing out my CV to any place that will have a B level German speaker, however from all of the previous posts it doesn't sound like finding a job on your own is particularly easy or maybe even an option at all.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Is the situation so dismal that we should consider paying this SWAP program to help us find minimum wage jobs? Will I just be throwing away money I could use to survive for another couple weeks or has anyone heard of these services that assist in finding employment actually being successful? I would love to fill out my own visa paperwork to save the cash and am willing to run around Berlin 10hrs/day handing out my CV to any place that will have a B level German speaker, however from all of the previous posts it doesn't sound like finding a job on your own is particularly easy or maybe even an option at all.

Hello Rose,

 

First of all we do not have anything personal aginst the OP, people on this forum sometimes feel like we are beating a dead horse on this subject of Jobs in Berlin.. and then usually the standard response is 'but your there and surviving huuh'... but what the people fail to understand is that most of the expats that are here are just BARELY scaping by enough to survive, pay the bills, on a small or multiple 400 Euro gigs. UNLESS you have a skill that is deemed needed in the country such as IT Skills, Nurse, etc that are deemed a national shortage..(this is the wrong city for business.. Frankfurt is better) and or have skills or skillsets that no one else has!

 

Its not a fun life nor satisfying..(even though the city is a people grabber) And that is for the people that do have work permission.. (EU nationals) if you are a non EU national.. then honestly good luck you must compete not only with a line of highly skilled, multilanguage, diploma bearing graduates, but all of the Russians, Turkish, Italian, Polish, African, etc.. that are desperate for a job also..The unemployment rate ROUGHLY in Berlin is 20% give or take.. extremely high for a poor eastern city.. Even time work (Zeitarbeit) which traditionally would take anybody if your breathing, has started denying people.. thats really sad! Overall please see we are not being overly aggressive just had our fill of people that dont listen or take advice!

 

If you do decide to come here then i would persue whatever contacts or 'Vitamin B' you can to get your foot in the door, try all avenues even if its just a small step its better than nothing :)

Although ive never heard of this SWAP program if something can benefit you job wise here without much risk, then i say go for it.. but you must have the capital to survive, this city has no love for starving artists anymore, (not saying that you are ;)and honestly sending out 50 or more resumes and getting no response or BS offers gets old real quick! Remember to get whatever offer you have on paper even if its a study place, because too many have come here and had their dreams smashed because of a verbal promise..

 

Hope this info is a bit useful and you can get a clearer picture why some members have had genüg (enough or the limit) ;)

 

Cheers

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK. I'm new here and like so many people I too am asking about working in Berlin. I know the city considerably well after spending many years visiting. I live in London and have decided that this place is no longer for me. My work is in drama and my question is of course how difficult is it to find work in this area as a teacher who doesnt speak the language. I'm learning on my own at the moment and have one or two friends who live in Berlin, but they dont seem to know about how difficult or easy it would be to get work there and to support myself. Can anyone reply with a reasonable answer? Many thanks

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mozzy - did you read the post directly above yours? Or any of the other threads that discuss finding work and supporting yourself in Berlin? Check out the search function, it should help you - top right hand corner of your screen. The threads might not directly refer to "drama teachers who don't speak German", but you should certainly get a good idea of what life is like here when you're looking for work without being fluent in German.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a Drama teacher you could try the International schools if a plan for a course comes together in your head and you get it down on paper. Arrange a meeting with them and sell yourself. As for English teaching at present from what I have heard from friends in the job you have more chance of getting run over by a tram than getting a good position these days.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I am a M.Sc. student in Animal Sciences (molecular epidemiology work with pathogens). I have looked at Bayer a bit and Praxel as they are international companies, however I feel as though I am not a good candidate for most of their positions as they are long-term and I just need something to get me through until I can acquire a PhD most likely in October

Look at Bayer some more. I can only speak for the Healthcare (for humans) side of things, but there are loads of student internships, probably about 70 interns here at the moment... I'd be surprised if something vaguely similar didn't exist in animal stuff here. They're not too badly paid either, and could be useful for you.

If you don't find something on www.mybayerjob.de (get a German speaker to help you read it if necessary, some jobs are only listed in German even though they require English speakers) then contact someone in the company. My internship didn't previously exist, but was set up because they knew I wanted it.

It would be conveniently short term enough for you to do your PhD next year as well. It's also quite possibe that the same principle applies to other companies.

 

Alternatively you could get one of their longer term jobs and delay your PhD for a year? Not sure how that works for residence permits etc though.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are jobs in Berlin, you just have to look for them and get lucky. Career jet.de and the Arbeitsagentur websites list quiet a lot of jobs.

Also, Berlin isn't that poor. If it is, then why do I see so many well dressed people there and nice cars there every time I visit Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg. The last time I was in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg seemed little different from London. So there MUST be jobs out there.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

There are jobs in Moscow, you just have to look for them and get lucky. ... websites list quiet a lot of jobs. Also, Moscow isn't that poor. If it is, then why do I see so many well dressed people there and nice cars there every time I visit central and KitiaGorog. The last time I was in Moscow, KitiaGorog seemed little different from London. So there MUST be jobs out there.

Excuse my play on your comments MattRoberts - I chose Moscow but we could pick a city in Iraq if you wish!!!

 

Overall the comment is about as smart as saying there were jobs in the great Depression - given that unemployment reached approx 15% (I would guess) in the UK and approx 20% in the USA. Meaning: 80% to 85% of people had jobs!!!

 

No one is saying there are NO jobs (nor rich people) but the unemployment levels are a lot higher than many other places in Germany (and social deprivation) and that it is different to the London/UK in that much economic and cultural power is spread between a number of cities: Frankfurt (Banking), Munich (Automobiles and Insurance), Hamburg (Publishing), Koln (TV) etc.

 

In addition, not speaking the language also reduces the number of jobs that will be open for you....

 

Stanford... a Moscow fan (but not sure how to spell the area KitiaGorog!)

 

Just a random google:

 

city econoimic and development ranking

 

Berlin 64th Place, Manchester 35th Place!!! Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuggart all within the top 31. Not sure why Dublin is so low in this ranking... maybe the credit crunch...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about this recent survey, though, which ranks Berlin as now being RICHER overall than London. So there ARE opportunities in Berlin, but yes I agree the good jobs are likely to be pretty specialist and your German will have to be pretty good unless you want some godawful 400 Euro a month job.

 

http://www.citymayors.com/economics/richest_cities.html

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I'm going to get negitives for this, but fuck it.

 

I gave three friends the contact details of the survey company I work for, one's been hired and one has an interview next week. Dunno about the third. (They're not hiring any more - sorry!)

 

Someone else just started working on a building site in Magdeburg Strasse, or whatever it's called. He also got it through networking.

 

If you think there are no jobs, you're either not trying hard enough, already have one, or just plain pessimistic.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

USB conducted its standardized Prices and Earnings survey in 73 international cities in March 2009. The data was collected by several independent observers in each city. In all, more than 30,000 data points were included in the analysis. All amounts were converted into a single currency to ensure that the surveyed prices and earnings could be compared. To compensate for daily exchange rate fluctuations, we used the average exchange rate over the data collection period. An international price comparison needs a common, standard basket of goods and services. As in past studies, the basket of goods and services was based on Western European consumer preferences. Living costs were calculated based on a survey of 154 items in total. They include 122 products and services that are used directly to calculate the reference basket. Apartment rents were classified as high-, mid- and low-priced.

It was my fault for listing in the first place one of these type of ranking tables but in the end one has to be careful of what you are measuring on average: mean, mode or medium. Also does this survey weight for the levels of unemployment? I will leave other to decide if it is a true reflection or not.

 

Exchange rates always cause problems with international comparisons. For example two years ago the UK would scored higher in international income rankings in terms of average GDP figures but now the pound has tanked it will fall down the rankings. Does this really matter if some one works in London, pays their rent in London and earns a high salary in London? Overall, the weak pound will only matter in terms of their holidays and how much it has sparked internal inflation. That is to say, their domestic purchasing parity will not change much especially if there is no or little change to domestic inflation.

 

Surely, the point to be made is that London dominates economic and cultural life in the UK in a way that Berlin does not do in Germany...despite it's alternative and hip imagine...

 

But anyhow this is all mute point as people move cities of personal circumstances not STATS.

 

Stanford...not in London!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WELL YOU CAN DO WHAT MY FRIEND DID. SHE HAD NO JOB IN BERLIN FOR OVER A YEAR (WAS LIVING THERE WITH HER SAVINGS AND TAKING GERMAN CLASSES). WHAT SHE DID AT THE END OF THAT YEAR (SINCE SHE HAS TWO BACHELOR DEGREES AND ONE MASTERS DEGREE) IS TO APPLY FOR A PHD PROGRAM AT A UNIVERSITY. THEY ACCEPTED HER SO NOW SHE WILL BE ABLE TO WORK 20 HOURS A WEEK, (FULL-TIME IN THE SUMMER) PAY VERY LITTLE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE AND SINCE COMPANIES DON'T HAVE TO PAY AS MUCH FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IN TERMS OF TAXES, ETC., HER PROSPECTS ARE GOOD AS FINDING A JOB. IN ADDITION SHE IS WORKING ON GETTING EXTRA FINANCIAL BACKING FORM FOUNDATIONS, ETC., TO HAVE EXTRA INCOME DURING HER PHD WORK. IN 3 OR 4 YEARS AFTER SHE KNOWS A LOT OF PEOPLE, HAS A PHD AND SPEAKS FLUENT AND CORRECT GERMAN SHE SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM TO GET A PERMANENT JOB IN BERLIN AND STAY HERE. SO MY ADVICE IS: ENTER A UNIVERSITY OR TRAINING PROGRAM AT WHATEVER LEVEL YOU CAN, MAKE LOTS OF FRIENDS AND LEARN GERMAN!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh, I hate to tell you this, but gettng a PhD is not exactly a guarantee for getting a job, in Berlin or any other city...And getting the first job post PhD usually means being willing to move - anywhere.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh don't worry about over the hill el moses he knows less than I do and his imaginary friends, voices in his head and virtual delusions are well known.

 

As StephS says PhD's are two a penny these days. I've seen people in call centers with PhD's. I've met people with PhD's who couldn't boil an egg or hold down a informative conversation for two minutes.

 

Which University are you doing your PhD in Moses or are you still in the wilderness?

 

Perhaps it's neither HERE nor there...

 

Perhaps this an option for you as well

 

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=153481

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't be too sanguine about her employment opportunities in Germany with a PhD in History:

 

 

I have a friend who is currently in Berlin learning German. She has the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree in Education from a former Soviet country which was for the purpose of being an English teacher in a secondary school level. After graduating she taught English at her college. She later on immigrated to the United States where she got two further degrees. One was a Bachelor's degree in History and the other one was a Master's degree in History. Considering the shortage of teachers in Berlin and in Germany and her being an American citizen what can she do to break into the public school system in Berlin considering that her German is still not good?

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YES BUT MUST BE TRUE AND VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT OR HE WOULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN IT IN ALL CAPS.

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CAPS aside, I found hillelmoses' post actually quite good.

 

If I could sum it up - everyone's different, so you can't always relate statistics to you, because you are unique. Odds are against you is all one can say, but hey maybe you're clever, easy-going, attractive, charming, and experienced. Then screw the stats and do what you do best - trust your instincts and confidence.

 

I think if you were an Arts major, the odds are stacked against you, big time. If you are a scientist / software developer, your chances are indeed very good, though as a Canadian your big problem is getting the appropriate visa.

 

Getting work as a student here is much easier than if you weren't one; many cafes prefer to hire students because it's cheaper for them, for example, or there are many jobs associated with universities for students, so that they can learn as they go / support the cost of studying. So, if you are looking to experience Berlin, beef up your resume in times of financial downturn by continuing education, and be able to afford all that, I would say Berlin is one of the best German cities in which to be a student. You have to live frugally, no doubt about that, but with 600,000 students in berlin and 20% unemployment, so is everyone else, so you don't often feel left out. If you are reading this post and feel inclined to argue it, please only from people who've lived and experienced Berlin. I don't understand how naysayers in Munich or Darmstadt or wherever feel like their posts carry any weight if they've not lived here.

3

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