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My job change

Junge Frau steht im Büro, hat ihr Tablet in der Hand und schaut in die Kamera

You need more than just a good source of information to find what you're looking for in a new job. Your first step, of course, is to make sure you're looking for the right job.
And when you're looking for your dream job, you need to make sure you exploit the full potential of your possibilities.

Video - How do I find my dream job? (Duration 2:04 Min, Video in German)

Preliminary considerations

If you're looking for a job, you need to know what you're looking for. As obvious as that may sound, it is your fundamental starting point. True to the motto, "He who knows the goal will find the way", it is a good idea to consider the following questions before you start seriously looking for your later career, because everyone has his or her own goals – goals that might not be achievable with just any employer.

What do I want?

  • Why do I want to change companies? Am I overworked and dissatisfied or am I looking for a new industry and variety?
  • In which industry and for which companies would you like to work?
  • Which "dream job" is right for me?
  • Would a partner company or supplier be a good option for establishing contact with your actual dream employer?
  • Would it be easier to achieve your career goals with a particular employer or industry?
  • Would you be willing to live in another area (or areas), if that's what it takes to achieve your career goals or are you bound to a specific location?
  • Would a corporate group, a medium-sized company or perhaps a start-up appeal to you more?

What can I do well?

  • This question relates to both professional and personal qualifications
  • Professional qualifications can be more easily assessed because credentials or certificates can be easily verified
  • If you are unsure, ask friends or colleagues / classmates to give you an honest assessment
  • Think about what you'd like to do and whether you have any particular abilities in that area. If you really enjoy something, you're normally also good at it
  • If you've got a clear picture of your qualifications, you should now think about what positions and companies your skills would particularly suit

Online job portals

Nowadays, over 90 per cent of employers post their currently available positions with online portals or job boards. These online job markets are free for job seekers and represent a wide range of available positions. Some job boards also specialise in certain sectors, occupational groups or geographic areas.

However, it's not always clear whether an offer posted on an online market is current. If in doubt, you should enquire with the company before you submit an application.


Social media

After online job portals, social media is the most widely used recruiting option when it comes to headhunting, advertising vacancies and raising the visibility of an employer's brand. Vacancies are specifically posted to the business networking sites XING and LinkedIn, but also increasingly to Facebook or Twitter, because there is a high probability of finding a suitable candidate among the followers of these social media channels.

  • Xing:
    This online platform for social networking is still number one in Germany – one in ten employed persons in Germany has a XING account and uses it regularly. In addition to having company profiles, XING also features a personal timeline and gives users the ability to create their own portfolios. If you decide to join, pay close attention to what you put in your profile – anything listed should correspond to the information included in your CV.
  • LinkedIn:
    This international counterpart to XING has been gaining ground in Germany for some time now. In addition to advertising job postings, it also gives businesses the opportunity to publish corporate news features. Moreover, candidates and companies can use the LinkedIn Publisher feature to make their own publications available to others. This allows them to position themselves as well-informed contributors in the various individual LinkedIn groups.
  • Facebook:
    In addition to corporate and product news, job listings specifically tailored to reach desired target groups are readily posted here. This is a very good reason to make sure you start following your dream employer's Facebook page. You can often find jobs quicker on Facebook than you can on the company's homepage. Plus, you can also address current company news items directly in your job application.
  • Twitter:
    With Twitter, info about available positions can be sent via job tweets or direct messages to the company's followers. Because of the limit on the number of characters that can be used on Twitter, links usually lead to an external source, where a more accurate job listing is provided.

Other avenues such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube, however, will be playing a more important role in recruitment in future. Particularly in the creative sector, for example, the user timeline may replace a traditional printed CV or video applications may overtake the standard covering letter.

Print advertisements

In some industries, however, print media are still an important source for job openings. Specifically when it comes to local job searches, it's definitely worth having a look in your local newspapers.

Recruitment agencies

Where possible, it's best to submit one application and have that go to as many employers as possible. This is why a recruitment agency such as Hays is useful when you're looking for a job. Most recruitment companies have very good market access and network with a number of prestigious companies. Recruiters also have access to hidden vacancies – namely those that aren't officially listed on the company's homepage or that a company is seeking to fill in a more flexible manner. Provided you have the right qualifications, you stand a good chance of being approached. This will also save you a lot of work: With an application you can reach a variety of interesting companies. Plus, a recruitment company can supply you with honest feedback on how you come across to companies and highlight areas where you can improve.

Trade fairs

There are two types of trade fairs where the topic of careers is important: specialist fairs and dedicated careers fairs. When companies are seeking to find staff in a given region, they will hold in-house fairs so they can get to know potential applicants. Even the online community has well-established virtual fairs that are recognised entities. A good example is the VDI (Association of German Engineers) online careers fair.
Some fairs focus on particular professions, others solely on new starters and young professionals. With this in mind, you should ask yourself in advance what exactly you're expecting to achieve by visiting one of these events.
A great advantage of trade fairs: By speaking directly with others, you can find out more about a company or particular profession.

Personal networking

Personal contacts are an often-underestimated tool in finding a job. Especially any professional contacts you may have can potentially open any number of doors for you, because you'll already be moving in the same circles where you will hopefully soon be working. It is, therefore, prudent to draw up a list of all your contacts: Exactly where have your friends and acquaintances from university and any training courses ended up? Who are considered to be respected employees or external business partners? All these individuals have their own distinct advantages: They already know you, how you work and your qualities and can also recommend you to your dream company. But it's also a good idea to ask around among family and friends for good business contacts.

Unsolicited applications

Here's another tip you may not be aware of: Unsolicited applications can pay off! So, for instance, when a company signals in the media that it is looking to expand in a particular area or when you have something you can offer the company (e.g. customer contacts, special language skills, etc.) that will benefit them directly, making an unsolicited approach is definitely worthwhile. Call the company's HR department or the department you are interested in and find out whether they have a particular need and who the best person is to send an application to. Scour the Internet for a direct contact for other jobs with the same company.

Also use any existing contacts you may have on Xing or LinkedIn or email / write to a corporate employee directly. You should also not underestimate the value of referral marketing / word-of-mouth referrals. But remember: An unsolicited application should be just as well prepared as one you submit for a specific job vacancy.

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