How to find a job or a work placement
Are you looking for a work placement or a job during or after your studies? Then you need to define what kind of work you would like to do in order to get appropriate search results on the Internet.
If you prefer the English language, it might be best to focus your job search on big companies. You could also inform yourself on the Internet whether a company is exporting to your home country (if they export at all) or if they cooperate with companies from your home country.
As Germany's official language is German, most job offers and applications are written in German. If foreign students from an M.Sc. programme taught in English plan on staying in Germany after having finished their studies, they need to learn German in order to be able to write (or prepare for) a job application. Furthermore, some German language skills will make it a lot easier for you to find a work placement or a small job during your studies.
German companies often search for Fachkräfte, by which they mostly mean IT specialists, engineers and physicians. To be a good candidate for those positions, you should have studied the respective subject and/or have acquired the required skills during a work placement. The description of the work tasks should match your qualifications and your soft skills (approx. 70 %). Furthermore, there is a difference between mandatory and optional requirements (only in German!).
The Career Service for students of Ulm University offers consultations, a check of your written job application as well as regular information events. In addition, the International Office organises some events in English. During the counselling and information sessions you will be given information on how to write a good application, what to put in the application, which books are up to date on this matter, how to design your CV (curriculum vitae), where to find job offers, how to pass an assessment centre and much more.
A work placement is not only good for practically using your theoretical knowledge but also a great opportunity to form important connections for a later career entry. Many companies prefer applicants they already know e.g. through work placements, contract for work and labour (Werkvertrag) or who have been recommended to them.
A lot of jobs for students at the university (Studentische Hilfskraft) and work placements are advertised in the corridors of the respective departments or on notice boards at meeting places at the university. They are mostly written in German, so you should have some German language skills. Usually, German students would write their applications in German, but you can ask the professor or their assistant if they are willing to accept an English application. Furthermore, you can approach any professor or assistant directly and ask them for a student job in their department or if they know about any other open positions. You can also find jobs or work placements on Facebook, Twitter and Xing or you can contact employees of the Human Resources departments of German companies.
Internet job portals
The Arbeitsagentur is a governmental authority which functions as a job centre and keeps statistics of the development of the German employment market. Once a year, they publish a list (only in German!) of all current online job portals in Germany. Furthermore, you will find a lot of useful references on the pages of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB, partly in German!).
Online offers from German newspapers (only in German!)
Deutscher Bildungsserver - German education server
ZEIT Stellenmarkt (only in German!) and www.academics.de
www.hochschulstellenmarkt.de - job opportunities at German higher education institutions (only in German!)
DUZ - Wissenschaftskarriere - jobs in science
Work placement portals
Most online job portals have a section for the advertisement of work placements (key words: Studentenjob, Minijob etc.).
There are also specific portals for finding work placements, e.g.:
www.gelegenheitsjobs.de (only in German!)
www.jobs.de (only in German!)
www.studium-ratgeber.de and www.studium-ratgeber.de/praktikum-boersen (only in German!)
www.univillage.de/Praktikum (only in German!)
www.xing.com (only in German!)
Work placements and trainee openings at Ulm University
General information for your application
As described above, students of Ulm University can use the offers of the Career Service free of charge. There are some providers on the Internet offering to generate your application automatically (terrible quality) or to write your application at a high price (> € 100). For general information, have a look at the following websites (only in German!):
Information on pay scales
Sometimes companies want you to state your salary expectations (Gehaltsvorstellungen). Therefore, you should do some research on the usual salary range for this kind of job with your experience beforehand. The Human Resource staff might bring this topic up during the job interview or they might expect you to take initiative in addressing this matter yourself (and thus demonstrate self-confidence and assertiveness).