After my posts on the affordable wonder that is studying in Germany, you may thinking more about the prospect, but still seeing that I’ve got bills, I gotta pay, there’s still some missing answers. Fortunately, the answer is in the lyrics: I’m gonna work, work, work every day (too cheesy?). Germany has an abundance of student jobs available and your student visa allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during the semester break. Don’t speak German? Kein Problem! Both of my student jobs have been in English. That is not to say that your options are not limited by not speaking German, because they certainly are, but there are still many positions that do not require German.
Although working 20 hours per week during your studies may be difficult, it is 100 percent worth it to graduate debt-free. I find that student jobs in Germany are generally really flexible and understanding of your other obligations. Every student job I’ve had has allowed flexible working hours and extended vacation for my trips home.
First, before searching you should understand the importance of differentiating between a working student job (Werkstudent) and internship (Praktikum).
A working student is a part-time employee working between 15-20 hours per week alongside one’s studies. Since you are only there part-time, your tasks are often require less responsibility and less thinking in general. However, you can hit the jackpot or the with working student jobs (not the financial jackpot, but rather the job jackpot), which I somehow have done twice. Therefore, during the interview try and get a real feel for your day-to-day activities because preparing for a meeting with the board is much more exciting than filling out your boss’s expense report. If it is a larger company, talk to fellow students who already work there about their day-to-day tasks. As far as pay goes, it widely varies by region and field, but in the “industry” in Munich at 20 hrs/wk, you can expect to net anywhere between 800 – 1200 Euros.
Internships in Germany rather are typically 3-6 month, full-time positions within a company. During an internship, you are usually put on a project and gain more practical experience being there full-time. It is very common for German students to take a semester or two “off” to complete a Praktikum in Germany or abroad. Some study programs require an internship, while others (like mine) do not. The pay for internships varies greatly. Some jobs will net the same as a working student, while others compensate for the time. As an intern in the “industry” in Munich, you can expect to net anywhere between 800 – 2000 Euros.
It is also important to know that for any student job, you are required to present your certificate of enrollment (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung) for employment.
So, now that you know the difference between the two positions, let’s talk about how to find one.
This is a big “no shit”, but many people move to Munich with the dream of working at BMW, and if that is you, just go to bmwgroup.com/karriere and get to exploring. BMW is a very traditional company in the culture sense, so unfortunately you will need German to work there. However, there are many other esteemed Munich companies, such as Allianz, Siemens and The Linde Group, as well as international companies, such as Airbus, Amazon, Intel, Google, and Oracle, with strong presences in Munich and across Germany. Beyond the large corporations, the a thriving startup scene is emerging in Munich. For a different experience working in a startup, check out Deutsche Startups. Startups are also renowned for hiring in English! If there is a company you’ve dreamed of working at, simply check out their website and see what they have to offer.
The job boards that you have likely used in your home country are international (Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn). Germany is no exception and you can browse many of these sites, even filtering for english speaking jobs in Germany. I found my first student job at Intel by simply reading the emails from LinkedIn about recommended jobs for you. For a more Germany-oriented job search engines, check out JoZoo and StepStone.
Surely you will get involved at your new university, right? Student organizations are hotspots for student jobs. Most student groups have email lists where people send around open positions at their companies. This is a great opportunity as you can get firsthand knowledge of the position before wasting any time applying. On top of that, these are often jobs that have not even been posted externally as companies love references and it saves them a ton of time and money. I got my job at Allianz this way and it made the whole process much quicker and easier!
Career Fairs & more
Your university will host many classic career fairs where companies will send recruiters. At TUM, the group running the show is called IKOM, and you can even get involved as a part of the organization! In addition to career fairs, many of the seminars have a company, typically a consultancy, come host workshops or give guest lectures. Why do the companies do this? Well, recruiting of course! If you are interested in working at the respective company, be sure to get a card and follow up about a student job ASAP! Companies are looking for highly motivated students, plain and simple.
What is your experience as a working student or intern in your country?