Err, no, you don't.
I've been asked many, many times, "How do you find an English speaking job in Berlin?"
Some people will tell you, many of whom are on the internet, that it is impossible to find a job in Berlin without knowing at least a little bit of German. I am living proof that this is not the case, as is my boyfriend, and we are still woefully inept at speaking this glorious language.
It took Dan and I a solid two months of applying, so here's a few tips and tricks we learnt along the way that may make it easier when it comes your time to join the job merry-go-round.
Job searches and aggregators
- Google is your friend
Start off by Googling "english speaking jobs Berlin" - a lot of sites come up, many of which I've listed below.
To be honest, Monster.de isn't the greatest search engine for jobs - I've never had a lot of luck with finding good jobs on it. However, lots of recruiters seem to use it to CV sift, so it's a good idea to put your CV up on it. Can't read German? No worries. Put your CV up on the UK site (monster.co.uk), fill in your details and then when you return to Monster.de, most of it will transfer into German. Another little tip is to re-upload your CV every week, as it seems to put it back to the top of the sifting pile again.
- Jobs in Berlin
Just a job aggregator, but it lists a lot of roles where English is required (either natively or not).
Facebook for grownups! I'm pretty sure I ended up finding my job here on LinkedIn in the end, but a lot of large name companies advertise here so don't rule it out.
- The Local
As it says straight up on the home page, 8,360 English-language jobs in Germany.
Indeed it is one of the largest growing job aggregators on the web at the moment. They even have a search dedicated to English jobs in Berlin.
- Berlin Startup Jobs
Berlin having had such a divided past, is not the home to many large name corporations. However, it is a absolutely booming hub for startups, many of which are English speaking. The pay may not be quite as good, but you'll get some warm fuzzies from being part of a breakthrough company's story.
This site is primarily a employer review site, and to be honest it's not that popular in Germany, with preference going to Kununu. However, you can still find a lot of jobs that have been aggregated here as they pull jobs from countless websites every day.
Big English only companies in Berlin
I don't have a lot to add to this list, as the one I am currently working for has made our whole team redundant, so I obviously cannot recommend it! However, here are a couple of others that I know of that hire a lot of people who speak English.
Note: I will keep updating to this as I find out more companies, and also feel free to let me know if you have some more to add!
Huge Europe-wide online fashion retailer. They hire an insane amount of people every 2 weeks (not sure if I'm at liberty to say how many exactly!) and at any one time there's about 500 jobs on their website (in Berlin alone) in any area from IT, to sales, to marketing. Also, you get pretty sweet staff benefits (discounts, anyone?)
You can either work for Rocket or work for companies which Rocket recruit for.
Not many jobs at one time, but their office language is English and Berlin Mitte is their headquarters.
Pretty cool industry, searching a lot of engineers and designers but other roles in there as well.
Direct competitors to Zalando, Amazon have a big base here in Berlin and at any one time have a couple of hundred jobs available.
Helpful things to know
- 3 month notice period
One thing that would have been nice to know in the beginning was that, in general, Germany has a 3 month notice period when people leave a company. Like wut. In Australia, it's 2-4 weeks and even then sometimes you're shown the door the moment you've put your resignation in. Due to this extended notice period, it can often take companies a very long time to get back to you.
- Put a photo on your resume (maybe)
Another big no-no in Australia is putting your photo on your resume. However, here it is not only expected, but you get tax reductions for what you've paid for professional photos to put on your resume. This could be a two edged sword, though. In my case, my resume stood out to my employer because they were specifically looking for someone not from Germany. However I think in many other cases, my resume was overlooked. You decide and perhaps keep two copies of your resume, one with and one without a photo.
- 1st of the month
Due to "insurance reasons" (everyone who tells me this just shakes their head), in many instances you can only start working on the 1st of every month (or in Zalando's case, the first and third week of every month). This can be mildly problematic if you get your job offer on the 2nd of the month and then have to wait a full month until you start, but that's German bureaucracy for you! Sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Not in IT?
Don't worry - there are jobs out there for you. Berlin is known as a tech hub, specifically for systems engineers who won't have any problems finding a job. The list above is largely for those who are not tech-related, who still want to try to find a role in the field they studied/already work in.
And finally, good luck!
Just remember to hang in there and keep trying. I know it's demoralising, the lack of response, the rejections (although at least you've heard from them, right? Right?) I was reasonably picky about my roles because I wanted to stay in my field (Communications and Social Media) and it paid off in the end.
You can do it. Stay positive. Get yourself a bier and start sending off those applications. Good luck!