Rushing off and applying for countless positions, or picking the first recruiter you can make contact with is pretty much the worst idea for finding a good job anywhere in the world. One of the greatest tips for applying to jobs in Berlin, Germany (or anywhere else) is to prepare properly.

Step 1: Pre-application Review

Preparation extends to many areas of the hiring process but before carrying on with this guide to getting a job in Berlin for developers & engineers start off by asking yourself the following few questions: 

  • What are your long-term career objectives?
  • What are your short-term career objectives?
  • What does progress in your career look like for you? Team lead, or more money?
  • Where do you want to go, and what steps are needed to get there?
  • Why do developers and engineers with the same skill-set or a similar career path work for better companies, have better jobs, earn higher salaries, and enjoy more popularity than others?
  • Identify two or three people with your "dream job." Check out their background on LinkedIn, read interviews with them, and reach out to them directly for advice. Many people are happy to help. What steps did they take to reach your dream job? How can you emulate those steps?
  • Consider how to improve your communication skills. The ones who are most successful always seem to be the ones who communicate very well and interact professionally.

Are You A “Jumper”?

There is one crucial factor that every applicant needs to consider. Ask yourself, are you jumping? Do you look like a "jumper"? A major reason for concern for all employers is short stays over your last two to three roles. In HR-jargon, the word "jumper" describes a person who stays with companies for no more than twelve months at a time. What's worse is when references are cited with even shorter periods.

What to Do About Missing Information or A Poor History?

If you have “jumped” between many roles, make sure that you’re capable of explaining why in brief detail and practice explaining this out loud. If the company closed down, say so. If there was a change to your enterprise's organizational structure and you were let go, cite the retrenchment. Let no gap in your employment, or unemployment, go unexplained. Factors beyond your control can be wrapped up concisely.

Steer Clear of Spammy Recruiters

Changing jobs is very often a hurried affair, with people making hasty or emotional decisions. Either they can't stand their boss anymore, or they come to the sudden realization that their job isn't going anywhere. Perhaps they're not even interested in it anymore. What's the first thing that far too many people do? They reach out, replying to the first recruiter to have sent them an email. Thanks to this error in judgment, the number of bad recruiters rises. If a spammer hits two out of ten people emailed, that's great results. With no sincere motivation, poor recruitment prevails leading many candidates into a role that they're forced to drop far sooner than is in their best interest

Define Your Growth & Accountability

Personal reasons such as those that seem impossible to explain are opportunities for you to show growth, insight, and personal accountability. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We’ve all made mistakes. When you’ve got a resume filled with hiccups, have the resolve to explain how you presently see the situation, and what you would do if it was presented to you now. Without any reasoning behind untimely employment schedules, there’s very little chance that a recruiter or staffing manager will take anything more than a few seconds to see the pattern, and toss your resume aside. 

Step 2: Preparing Your Social Media Accounts & Online Profiles To Apply for Jobs

One of the most important parts of your preparation is making sure that your public profiles are professional and filled with nothing other than appropriate pictures, stories, posts, and comments. Here’s an overview of what you need to do:

  1. Clean Up Your Profile - Delete all inappropriate content, in all languages. In Berlin, and Germany in general, public debates and humor focused on sexism, politics, and religion are inappropriate. If your social media profiles mention anything vaguely along these lines, delete it before applying no matter what language it is in, and regardless of what degree of abstraction it may appear to have. Even with the right skills, it is highly unlikely that companies in Berlin will overlook sexism, politics, and religion.
  2. Get a Professional Profile- Keep professional profiles exclusively professional. Platforms like LinkedIn​, Xing​ , and Plaxo are created for professional purposes. Personal information on professional social media platforms is inappropriate - this includes photos of things like your recent holiday, weekend plans, and family weddings. Keep non-work-related personal information about your life for Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.  
  3. Considering Twitter?- Twitter is a great platform for keeping up to date and sparking conversation, but be careful about how your profile presents itself to potential employers. Always remember - social media feeds are available to everyone, including your hopeful hires, so don't blog your whole life. Are you discussing world events via Tweets? Did you have a 'digital debate' over a political topic?  We recommend reviewing this type of activity, as employers may not see it in a positive light, no matter what your perspective in the debate is. 
  4. What’s in your Banner?- We recommend reviewing your social media banners and profile pictures. Pay attention to anything that’s available on a public feed, and don’t go around friending people that you don’t know. The photographs that you share of yourself, your friends, and your favorite activities could easily be misinterpreted without context, ruining your chances at a position due to nothing other than a misunderstanding of who you are as a person. 
  5. Check Spelling & Grammar- Check your spelling and grammar on professional social media profiles. This, along with the dates of your career employment, are extremely vital to a sound, professional profile. Make sure that the dates of your career employment synchronize across all social media profiles. Honest apparent mismatches aren't easy to explain, and no employer really wants to hear your reasons. Fix issues before they arise.

Step 3: Guarantee Perfect Written Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate well in English is a vital component of working in any company with a broad vision for the future. Written communication, in all languages, especially English, is essential to every correspondence involved in the hiring process. Make sure that every email you send, and all written text presented to a potential employer is spell-checked. Friends and family are available for advice and never forget just how powerful specialized spelling, grammar, and proofreading software is. Finally, always remember to proofread aloud so that you make sure that your style & flow is fitting of speech.

Avoid the Pitfall of Poorly Written Emails, Reports & Responses

There's no excuse for poorly written emails -  We've seen it all: poor grammar, one-liners instead of proper responses, or long texts filled with excuses & wordiness. They won't do you any good.   Get the tone right. Be polite. Make sure you spell the person's name right. Don't forget your thank you, and most importantly, proofread before you hit 'Send.' Seriously! Proofread it. Twice, then aloud.

Honing Your Communication Skills

Over 50% of failed interviews are the result of poor communication skills among developers, not due to a lack of technical proficiency, as is commonly thought. Software developers and programmers find that how well they communicate is equal, if not slightly more important than their technical skills. Evaluate your own interpersonal skills & communication. After all, the final assessment or the potential offer that you receive, including your leeway for negotiation, all very much depends on your ability to communicate professionally. Your language proficiency has very little to do with your basic interpersonal communication skills.

Keep These Final Preparation Tips in Mind

When we here at Caissa Recruitment questioned applications regarding their short and long-term career objectives, a few things became clear, leading us to these closing thoughts & top tips for landing that perfect job.

  1. Visualize Your Future - Most people have no clear image of how they want to progress. Some want more responsibility, but motivations vary. Certain people want to become team leaders, while others are purely looking to earn more money. Regardless of which is applicable to your personal case, it's always a good idea to contemplate where you're going and note down your thoughts. Plan out your path - stay general if you must. The most important thing is to have a plan.
  2. Put In Enough Work - The more work you put into preparation and your approach, the better. There is a huge discrepancy between the projected input at the resulting output after interviews at the end of your application process. The time you've taken to refine the way that you are perceived says a lot about your determination & drive in business. It often makes all the difference between going unnoticed and finding placement at a firm that not only needs your skills but one that values you as a person as well. Never underestimate this vital step.
    • Examples of best-practice preparation for any upcoming job application include: 
      • Synchronizing your information across all online platforms used (LinkedIn, Twitter, social networks)
      • Ensuring your CV is up-to-date with no gaps and all knowledge & accomplishments listed
      • Contemplating the clarity & quality of your communication, while taking acts to improve - did you prepare for your interview the last time you had one? How could you do this better?

      • Spending at least one-hour researching as much as possible about the company

      • Revising your CV in accordance with the job description in order to prepare a few related points

      • Ensuring that you’ve asked questions during the interview and beforehand to prepare you for the requirements

      • Actively “selling” your skills & relevant experience by matching them with the current requirements

      • Choosing wisely by considering the entire "opportunity pie" and all its "slices" - salary, location, company caliber, technology stack, career advancement, etc.

  3. Improve Communication - There is a prevailing trend in society - the ones who are the most successful are almost always the ones who communicate very well and interact professionally. Every job that you take is a stepping stone that has a huge influence on your next job and future jobs. Whether it's the name (brand of the company, salary, and other benefits, the projects you'll be working on (and the skills developed) or even the location itself - they all play a role in determining your future career trajectory.

  4. Don’t Fixate On One Part Of The Job - Refrain as far as possible from focusing on one aspect of the offer alone, such as the salary or a certain technology they use. There will always be five to ten other people with similar experience and equal qualifications. Why should you be offered the job? How will you stand out from the other five PHP or Java Developers who applied for the position? Authenticity and originality are imperative.

  5. Show Initiative - Be proactive! Prepare a list of relevant questions that show interest and initiative, while at all times being nice. Presentation is everything, but don't make it all about you. Your interest is an opportunity to show the value that only you can add to a company. 

  6. Reaching Your Final Assessment - Once you reach the point of the final assessment, don't be hasty regarding your reply and negotiation regarding your potential offer. There's never an excuse for one-line emails, poor grammar, or taking interview calls in the middle of a busy street surrounded by traffic. Communicate clearly and professionally.

  7. Make Time For Your Interview, Responsibly - The fact that you entered into a recruitment process does not mean that you should drop everything and only focus on your prospective hire. Expect to be asked for interview availabilities during office working hours, and don't propose late evenings or weekends when asked. Once the situation arises, keep in mind that it's not fair to steal time out of your current employer's workday for an interview. Rather, ask to start work either an hour late or an hour early. Even if that's not possible, a short interview during lunch could be the best option. Always make yourself available for interviews as far as possible - it significantly increases the chances of actually getting the job. In the worst-case scenario, you don't get the job but still make a very good impression which will indeed help you in the future.

How to Get A Developer Job in Berlin: Appendix

Part 1: Job Preparation - What to do before applying

Part 2: How to Effectively Work With Recruiters

Part 3: CV Writing Tips for Developers

Part 4:Interview Tips: Everything You Need To Know

Part 5: Analyse a Job Offer: Accept or Reject?

Part 6Handing In Your Resignation

Ready to Apply?

Jobs Page features positions available now. Alternatively, get in touch via our Contact Page with questions or to tell us what you're looking for. 

Part 1 of Caissa's How To Get A Job Guide - What To Do Before Applying