I remember this story like it was just yesterday. I had heard everything about Freiberg even before my admission came through. How small the town is, how ‘unfriendly’ the inhabitants are and most importantly, how difficult it is to get a job there. So being a black girl who didn’t speak any German language at the time, I knew my chances were very limited.
I started job hunting weeks before I arrived in Germany but none of that was necessary. My CV had my Nigerian address and phone number and I was NOT applying for remote jobs – make it make sense.
Anyway, I stopped wasting my time and waited till I relocated before making more applications. Every evening after classes, I dug into glassdoor.de and sent out at least two applications. This time, with a well-thought-through cover -letter and a well-put-together CV. A few weeks after, I got invited to two different job interviews.
The first interview was for a Business Development working student role in Dresden. Dresden is the Capital of Saxony – the state in which Freiberg is also a city. I wasn’t sure whether or not to attend this interview because I imagined my zero German language knowledge would be a deal-breaker but hey, what did I have to lose? A few days later, I found myself on a train on what would be my first of many trips to the beautiful city of Dresden for an interview.
I remember stopping in front of the large window opposite the main gate of the office building and seeing everything I had watched about the company on YouTube happening live. Someone was controlling a robot with the smart jacket he was wearing – I was wowed! Anyway, I put myself together, ready for the interview only to get the first pre-interview question: How good is your German language?
“Not so good but I’m taking German lessons at the university” – I replied. “Oh well, then we’ll just have the interview in English” – said the lovely lady that co-interviewed me. I was wowed, again.
As you may or may not have guessed, I got the job. It’s been two and a half years now and my job role has changed a whole lot since then but as I look back now I’m just super happy that I:
- Sent out an honest CV without unnecessarily exaggerating my skills
- Put together a short, clear but catchy cover letter
- Didn’t limit myself because of language or location
I don’t have all the excellent job-hunting tips but one thing I know for sure is that the right amount of preparation, patience and courage is a good combination for success.