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What documents do you need for a job & tips for employment contracts in Germany

What documents are required to apply for a vacancy in Germany?

Paying to find a vacancy is a scam. All job postings in Germany are free.

When it comes to qualified professions in the office, most of the documents should be submitted online.

Resume (CV) – German CVs are high quality, structured, without grammatical errors with good photos. Tip: It is better to remove the photo from the CV, if it is not professional. CV must be compiled in chronological order, starting from the last or current place of employment. Only provide professionally relevant information.

Cover letter – (optional, but good to have) – can increase your chances of receiving an invitation to an interview. Contains a brief argumentation for applying for a specific position. Write only relevant, clear and concise information. Be creative, do not use banal introductory and concluding sentences that you find on the Internet. People should want to read your letter to the end and prefer you to the dozens and hundreds of other applicants.

Recommendation letters – (optional) – this is the standard when applying for a vacancy.

Diplomas, certificates – (optional). For regulated professions (eg. engineer, doctor) – required.

Examples of projects, portfolio – (if any available). Important – do not send files in an archive, provide links to secure sources.

What do you need to pay attention to in the employment contract?

The employment contract is concluded in writing with the signatures of both parties.

Wages in Germany are usually indicated as gross (taxes are not yet deducted).

Probationary period – 6 months. During these 6 months, the leave notice period for the employer and the employee is 2 weeks. During the probationary period, the employer has the right to dismiss the employee without explaining the reasons for dismissal.

Vacation – 24 days when working 6 days a week, 20 days when working 5 days a week. Many German employers give extra days.

Leave notice period after the probationary period – four weeks to the fifteenth or the end of the calendar month. The term may be extended by the employment contract.

Fixed-term contract (with a specified deadline) – does not require dismissal by the employer or employee. Can be concluded for 2 years.

Part-time employment is common for women with children, 30 to 35 hours per week.

The number of working hours per week is usually 40, some companies may reduce it, for example, to 39.

Overtime – can be paid, a maximum of 10 hours a day

Break – after 6 hours of work there is supposed to be a break. 6-9 hours: 30 minutes break. 9 hours: 45 minutes break. There should be an 11-hour resting period between the end of work in the evening and the start of work in the morning.

Sick leave – sick leave slip must be provided within 3 days, usually on the 3rd day of illness. Sometimes by the contract you have to provide the sick leave slip from the first day of absence from work. A new employee is not entitled to sick leave payments from the employer in case of illness during the first four weeks of work. During the first 6 weeks, the employer pays the full salary. If you are ill for more than 6 weeks, you will receive financial help from a health insurance company.

Dismissal – after the probationary period, if the company has more than 10 people, there is a protection against dismissal and the right of the employee to file a complaint to the court within 3 months from the date of receipt of the notice of dismissal.

Job Certificate (Arbeitszeugnis) – can be provided to any employee, contains information about the work tasks, as well as an assessment of your performance.

More information on employee rights (in english) → 

Do I need a proof of qualification/diploma?

Recognition of your professional qualifications is mandatory, if you want to work in a regulated profession (eg. doctor, teacher). In non-regulated professions, recognition of qualification significantly increases the chances of finding a job that matches your qualification.

More information on the recognition of professions can be found on the website (also in Russian) 

You can get a free consultation on the recognition of your qualifications in the recognition and qualification counseling centers under the Integration through Qualifications (IQ) program. The nearest counseling center can be found here:

Information in Russian on the recognition of documents can be found at: