What are the top holiday jobs for students in Germany?

The Christmas holidays offer students many flexible job opportunities in industries which can help to sharpen transferrable skills. Here's where - and how - to apply.

What are the top holiday jobs for students in Germany?
A student working in an office over Christmas. Photo: DPA

Classes are wrapping up, revision is done and you’ve finished up the last of your exams for the year!

READ ALSO: Working in German over the festive period: What you need to know about the rules

Tempting as it is to kick back and binge on all the available Netflix boxsets, you might be thinking that this is a good time to bank a little extra income.

Seasonal jobs are ideal for gaining initial experience in the world of work and a nice boost to your bank account for the coming year!

It's not hard to find Christmastime work in Germany, usually minus the holiday sweater. Photo: DPA

Future employers always appreciate students taking on seasonal work, as it shows a willingness to get stuck in and gain some more experience. It is also a great chance to hone social skills such as manners, punctuality and customer service; all things that are useful for future applications!

What kinds of seasonal jobs should students look for?

The Christmas holidays and the build-up to them offer students many flexible job opportunities in industries which can help to sharpen your transferrable skills. Here are some popular seasonal options for students:

Bar and restaurant staff. Christmas work parties; friends and family getting together to celebrate; and tourists visiting the famed German Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets).

December is a busy time for the gastronomy industry! Students can often easily pick up hours in bars, cafes and restaurants seeking to cope with their numbers and increased number of guests. Tips are generally quite good as people are feeling more generous during the festive season.

Events and catering. Bars and restaurants are great, but don’t forget to check out catering and event companies too. At this time of year, there are big Christmas dinners, balls and company events so there’s generally a solid demand for work in event and catering companies. 

Whether you assist with logistics, set-up or hosting on the day, there are many opportunities for students. Big recruitment websites like Indeed will have plenty of offers, but why not check out other specialised websites such as HotelCareer or Apetito Catering?

Photo: DPA

Courier/delivery worker. More and more people opt to do their Christmas shopping or order food online because they don’t fancy facing the chilly winter winds. The result being delivery drivers certainly have no shortage of work at this time of year. Alternatively, there are also general roles available in warehouses and the sorting rooms of post offices.

Check out companies such as Lieferando, DHL, DPD and Hermes, or even enquire with local restaurants whether they are in need of extra delivery drivers. Alternatively, there are also generally roles available in warehouses, particularly Amazon, and the sorting rooms of post offices.

Pet-sitting. Those with experience of caring for pets should consider pet-sitting during the holidays. There are lots of mobile apps like Rover and Pawshake in additional to lots of Facebook groups for various cities that you can join and advertise your services.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about having a pet in Germany

This can be a fun and easy way to earn some extra pocket money while helping owners who are away during the holidays and unable to take their furry friend with them.

Retail. A holiday season staple. Retail stores often take on extra staff to cope over the Christmas holidays, but it’s worth getting your application in early as they normally start taking on staff in November.

If you’re interested in working on the shop floor, a reasonable command of German is necessary to give the customer service needed, but back-office roles may be more flexible.

Malls like this one in Erfurt are busy places over the holidays. Photo: DPA

Customer Service. Gift giving is a wonderful thing, but invariably there is always the odd gift that doesn’t quite hit the mark, or the receiver isn’t sure how to use it. To tackle the increased demand on their services, many companies try to boost the availability of their customer service support. 

Whether it’s via telephone, webchat or answering emails, getting some customer service skills under your belt will serve any student well for future employment.

If multi-lingual support can be provided, even better. Websites such as Studitemps are great for students looking to pick up work or even just shifts in areas like customer service and promotion.

Every experience counts!

Don’t forget, every job, no matter how long or short, is also a fabulous networking opportunity. Not only can you make new friends outside of your college, but you can connect with colleagues and managers who may be able to assist you in finding more work in the future!

Don’t forget to add this experience to both your CV and LinkedIn profile too. Employers value people who show a drive to work and the proactiveness of taking on a job during semesters.

READ ALSO: How to reach out to German employers on LinkedIn or Xing

By Catherine Flynn, Student Services Manager at Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI)

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How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck!