Job search

back to the guide

Job search

Are you new in Germany and are looking for a job? Do you have a fixed-term employment contract? Are you threatened with impending dismissal? Are you looking for a career change? In Germany there are various ways to help you find a job in these situations.

1. Job search from a home country

If you are still in your home country, you have the option of contacting one of the numerous private recruitment agencies there that offer support in finding a job in Germany.

Please note: Be careful! Some recruitment companies are not trustworthy. They promise legal work, good wages and accommodation, and charge for their services. It is not infrequent, however, that they fail to keep their promises. There is a risk that you will end up in cheap collective accommodation, work 10 to 12 hours a day with little or no pay and not get an employment contract. Before accepting an offer from a private recruitment agency, you should check that the agency is trustworthy. If you are already in Germany and have the impression that you are not even receiving the minimum wage, you can contact the minimum wage hotline .

If you want to find out about vacancies in Germany on your own, the Internet offers you help via various network portals or various job exchanges. Larger companies in particular publish their personnel requirements in the “Personnel” or “Careers” sections directly on their company websites. In addition to researching in newspapers and on the internet, you can also use the information provided by the Federal Employment Agency, the Cooperation Network EURES and the Federal Government.

2. Support services when looking for a job in Germany

If you are already in Germany, in addition to the possibilities of searching for a job on your own, you can also register with the Federal Employment Agency as a “job seeker”. This can be done on the Internet portal “JOB EXCHANGE” as well as by telephone or in person at the employment agency responsible . If you are registered as a “job seeker”, as an EU citizen, you can receive the same help and support from the Employment Agency when looking for a job as German citizens. 

Note: A registration address is not a prerequisite for starting work. You merely need to give your employer an address where you can be reached. In our practical guide you will find detailed information on the subject of “Working without a registered address”.

If you want to or have tochange your profession in order to increase your chances of finding new employment, you should make use of the free advisory and recruitment services of the Employment Agency as early as possible.

Please note: In the event of impending unemployment, employees are obliged to register as jobseekers with the responsible employment agency. Certain deadlines must be adhered to in order not to suffer any disadvantages (“Blocking period”). 

2.1 Advisory and recruitment services

As soon as you have registered as a jobseeker, the employment agency responsible can provide you with comprehensive support in your search for a new job or apprenticeship position. The best thing to do is to arrange a personal advisory appointment to discuss your individual situation. Your responsible advisory and recruitment specialist will be able to answer any questions you may have about the topics

  • Choice of job,
  • professional development,
  • Changing your profession and job,
  • Searching for a job including the application and interview
  • The situation and development of the labour market and professions,
  • Your individual recruitment options,
  • Vocational training opportunities as well as
  • Competent advice on employment support services.

Note: If you do not yet have sufficient knowledge of German and do not know anyone who can translate for you at the appointment, you should send the Employment Agency a message in advance . In this case, the Employment Agency can provide you with an interpreter hotline service.

The job placement in the Employment Agencies usually begins with an analysis of your situation . Together with your integration and recruitment specialist, all relevant professional and personal skills and qualifications as well as your individual support needs are documented (analysis of potential ). An individual applicant profile will then be created for you and be published anonymously in the job exchange. If there is a suitable job offerfor you, the corresponding recruitment proposal will be sent to you either in a personal interview or in writing or communicated by telephone. In addition, the so-called integration agreement stipulates in writing which specific steps must be followed by you and the employment agency so that you can find suitable employment as quickly as possible.

People whose occupational integration is difficult due to various recruitment barriers (e.g. lack of language skills or lack of recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad) are given additional support by the Employment Agency.

Further information on the advisory and recruitment services of the Employment Agency is available here.

2.2 Activation and professional integration measures

If the advisory and recruitment services of your recruitment agency are not sufficient to find a job for you, it is possible to provide you with measures of active employment support to help you in getting work – even if you are not entitled to unemployment benefit.

Important: The services of active employment support are discretionary services to which there is no legal entitlement. This means that the recruitment specialist checks in each individual case whether the individual funding requirements are met. It is therefore very important that you find out from the responsible recruitment agency about the individual options and eligibility requirements early on and personally.

Note: If your recruitment agency at the Employment Agency or the job centre does not approve active employment support benefits, you can request a written notification of this decision. The recruitment agency must justify why a measure is not suitable for you ( discretionary decision) so that you can take action against this decision. If you do not agree with the reasons for the decision, you can object to it.

2.2.1 Funding of employment “Recruitment budget“

As an EU employee, you can apply for financial support from the so-called recruitment budget if you want to take up work that is subject to social insurance contributions. The possibilities of individual support through the recruitment budget are varied and offer your recruitment agency a lot of leeway to reimburse you for various costs in individual cases.

For example, under certain conditions the following expenses can be borne:

  • Costs for the recognition of foreign educational or professional certificates,
  • Costs for the preparation and sending of application documents,
  • Costs for trips to job interviews,
  • Travel expenses for the trip to take up an external job,
  • Costs for commuting when taking up external work,
  • Costs for work equipment such as work clothing and work tools,
  • Other costs, e.g. translations, instruction/certificate from the health department.

Important: If you have a current or permanent job or are looking for a new job for personal reasons (e.g. higher earnings/change of residence), you are not at risk of unemployment and do not receive support from the recruitment budget.

Tip: The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) also offers a recognition grant . Comprehensive advice and information on the recognition of your foreign educational or professional qualifications can also be obtained from the “IQ specialist advice and qualification” or at

2.2.2 Activation and professional integration measures

If you are unemployed or you are about to lose your job, you can receive support by means of “measures for activation and professional integration”. With the activation and recruitment vouchers (AVGS), your recruitment agency certifies that the funding requirements are met and together with you will define the specific goal and content of the measure. The AVGS entitles you to choose a provider, a private recruitment agency or an employer, who offers you the corresponding formulated objective and content and approved (operational) measures. Possible contents of such a measure can be for example:

  • Job application training,
  • Competency assessment,
  • Coaching,
  • vocational imparting of knowledge incl. job-related language training
  • Trial employment
  • Voucher for private recruitment agency.

In addition to the issuing of an AVGS, the recruitment agency can also assign you directly to participate in activation and professional integration . The decision about what suits you better is made by your recruitment agency taking into account the local range of measures.

Tip: Before the personal interview with your recruitment specialist at KURSNET , find out about suitable offers in your region.

Note: If you are entitled to unemployment benefit and have been unemployed for at least 6 weeks and have not yet been recruited, you are entitled to a recruitment voucher for the free use of a private recruitment agency. The involvement of private labour market service providers can result in additional opportunities for new employment.

Here the following also applies: If you have a current or permanent job or are looking for a new job for personal reasons (e.g. higher earnings/ change of residence ), you are not at risk of impending unemployment. The funding of a measure for activation and professional integration is then not possible.

2.3 Funding of continuing vocational training - “Training voucher“

If you are unemployed and continuing vocational training is necessary to improve your chances of a permanent job significantly, then you can be supported by the Employment Agency . Even if you are employed and your professional knowledge and skills have to be adapted to changed requirements in the professional field in order to avert an impending dismissal or if you want to make up for a lacking professional qualification, under certain conditions you can receive financial support. If you fulfil the funding requirements, you will receive a so-called training voucher from your recruitment agency. This certifies the bearing of the expenses of the continuing vocational training (course costs, travel costs, costs for external accommodation and meals as well as costs for looking after children) and, if necessary, continued payment of unemployment benefits while participating in the vocational training measure.

Continuing vocational training measures include:

  • Adaptation qualification
  • Preparation for external examination
  • Partial qualifications
  • Retraining with a provider
  • Company individual retraining or
  • part-time vocational training (in combination with job-related language training possible).

Important: The issuing of an training voucher requires among other things that you seek personal advice from the Employment Agency before you start taking part.

Further information on the training voucher and other funding possibilities in continuing vocational training can be found on the homepage of the Federal Employment Agency .

Note: If your recruitment agency in the Employment Agency or at the job centre does not approve a certain support measure (vocational training, measure for professional integration etc.), you can request a written notification of this decision. The recruitment agency must justify why a measure is not suitable for you ( error-free discretionary decision) so that you can take action against this decision. If you do not agree with the reasons for the decision, you can object to it.