How do I find a job?

Attention – finding a job in itself is hard work! It is like a real job – you should spend several hours each day looking for work. You should send off at least 3 job applications every day or deliver the job applications personally to the companies you are applying to.

  • Download an application to your phone:
  • Check the newspapers (on paper or online) for a suitable job. Here you can often also find tips on the job application process:
  • Think about which company you would like to work for and apply directly to that company.
    • Visit the company’s website and try to find out if there are any positions open.
      • Usually there is a page on the website named “careers” (“Karriere”) or “jobs” (“Jobs”) or “team” (“Team”). Here you can apply directly for the job.
      • Using the website or by making a brief phone call to the company, try to find out who is responsible for hiring new employees and send them an e-mail with your application, so that they can contact you as soon as a position in the company becomes available.
    • Print out your CV, put on your best outfit, go directly to the company and tell them that you would like to work for them. Leave your CV with them and ask them to call you as soon as a position becomes available.
  • Apply for an internship:
    • An internship means that you work for a company between 1 to 6 months, so that you are able to get to know the company and that they are able to get to know you. If the company likes you and profits from your skills, then it is likely that the company will offer you a regular job at the end of your internship.
    • Every internship will provide you with useful contacts and a work certificate or reference letter.
    • Sometimes you will also receive a salary for an internship. Please talk to your AMS counsellor about this.

What do I need in order to find a job?

You need to be able to speak and understand German:

  • If you want to know how to best learn German, click here..
  • For some jobs, you will only need to know basic German, for others you will need to know German very well.
  • You should work on improving your German skills every day for several hours.

You need the right qualifications:

  • The website tells you whether or not you need official qualifications in order to continue working in your profession in Austria. Here you can also find out what you need to do in order to get your school or university report cards and work certificates transcribed and recognised.
  • If you do not have any work certificates or letters of recommendation, you don’t need to despair. Try and figure out how you can get some.
    • Can you do an internship with a company in order to prove your skills?
    • Can you do voluntary work in order to get the necessary work certification or a letter of reference? Here you can find more information about working as a volunteer.
    • Can you make a deal with a company that they agree to pay for your education and in return, you work for them at a reduced pay or for free for a few months?
  • It is very possible that in Austria you cannot work in the profession that you learnt in your home country. Instead of abandoning hope and staying unemployed for the rest of your life, you should think of alternatives:
    •  Have a look at the list of shortage occupations in Austria. Consider whether you might already have the skills to work in one of them or perhaps you would like to be re-trained. As there are not enough skilled people in Austria for these jobs, it would be easy for you to get one of these jobs, since they are in high demand.
    • Ask your AMS counsellor which jobs are currently understaffed and which of those you could apply for with your skills.
    • Consider your other talents! Think outside the box! Speak with your Austrian friends to find out what other jobs you might be able to do with your skills.
      • Did you study English literature? Maybe you can work as an English translator.
      • Did you study physiotherapy? Maybe you can work as a masseur.
      • Do you already speak very good German? Maybe you can work as an interpreter.
  • Please keep in mind that not all requirements and qualifications that are written in a job advertisement need to be fulfilled. It is often sufficient if you can fulfil 8 out of 10 of the requirements listed. Remember that every boss wants the best employee. But also remember that if the best employee doesn’t exist, then the boss will take the second best applicant…

You need a CV (curriculum vitae):

    • What is a CV?

  • If you don’t have a CV, you can’t apply for a job. That means that without a CV, you will never find a job. Therefore, it is your task and personal responsibility to write a CV.
  • Ask your AMS counsellor or your deine Austrian friends to help you with writing and correcting your CV. There must be no grammar or spelling mistakes.
  • Use Google to look at the CVs of other people and to improve your own CV. Enter “Lebenslauf Muster Österreich” in Google and look at the images.
  • You should print out your CV and always carry it with you. If you walk past a shop or a company that is looking for a new employee, you can immediately enter and give your CV to them.

You need a cover letter or a letter of motivation:

  • In this letter, you explain why you are eager to do this job and what makes you an excellent employee.
  • Every cover letter or letter of motivation must be adapted to the job and the company you are applying for. This takes time to do and you should make sure that you find out as much information as you can about the company and the job. You can use the Internet or just ask your Austrian friends to help you.
  • Use Google to have a look at other people’s cover letters and letters of motivation. Let yourself be inspired by them! Google for “Bewerbungsschreiben Österreich Muster” and click on the images.

How does a job interview work?

Before the job interview:

  • You usually get a phone call that you are invited to a job interview.
    • If the suggested date and time do not work for you (for example because you have a doctor’s appointment), you should propose an alternative time that would work for you.
    • If you are already asked several questions on the phone, which you feel unprepared to answer, it is perfectly acceptable to ask if you can call the person back a little later.
  • You should try to find out as much as possible about the company and the job being offered:
    • Use the Internet and google the company.
    • Use the Internet and google the job.
    • Inform yourself with the help of the AMS Karrierekompass
    • Travel the route to the company so that:
      • you know how much time it takes to get from your home to the company so that you are not late for the job interview.
      • you know where the entrance to the building is.
      • you can see what other employees are wearing and will know how elegantly you should dress for your interview.
  • You should practice the job interview with your Austrian friends or your partner. First in your mother tongue and then in German.
  • Gather all your documents and put them neatly into a folder:
    • copy of the asylum decision including your work permission
    • CV
    • certificates from school, university, work and volunteer work
    • certificates from German courses, Value and Orientation courses etc.
  • Think about the salary you want to ask for:

On the way to your job interview:

  • A well-groomed appearance is very important: clean shoes, dark socks, a white button-down shirt, maybe a tie…
  • You must be punctual! This means planning your commute so that you will arrive at the company at least 15 minutes before the interview. If you are not on time, it is a sign of disrespect and unreliability.
  • Let the person at the reception know that you have arrived in order to show that you are on time and that you are waiting.
  • Make sure that your phone is switched off completely.

During the job interview:

  • Greeting your interviewer:
    • Give a confident handshake (but not too firm), smile and look the other person in the eyes. In Austria, this is the same for men and women, because the handshake is a sign of respect.
    • In Austria, we say “Grüß Gott”. “Hallo” is too informal.
    • You should never use “du” when speaking to your future employer. Always use “Sie” and address them by their title and surname.
  • Be careful of your body language:
    • Hang up your jacket, if you are wearing one. Put your bag next to you, if you are carrying one.
    • Do not cross your arms in front of your chest.
    • Look your interviewer in the eyes while speaking and listening to him.
  • You should answer every question as briefly and directly as possible. If you do not understand a question, it is perfectly acceptable to ask your interviewer to repeat the question or to speak slower. Here are some typical interview questions:
    • Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Why did you apply for this particular job?
    • Please introduce yourself briefly!
      • Here you should be able to summarise your CV within 1 to 2 minutes.
    • What differentiates you from the other applicants? Why should we hire you?
    • What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Do you have any examples for them?
    • Do you enjoy working in a team?
    • How do you cope with stressful situations and conflicts at work? Can you give me an example from your past?
    • What do you do in your free time?
    • How much money would you like to earn?
      • In this situation, you need to say the figure of the gross salary that you calculated earlier.
      • Your salary is negotiable. Be careful that you don’t ask for too much or for too little. However, expect that the employer will try to bargain you down, so it’s ok to ask for a little more than you actually need.
    • Do you have any questions?
      • Here you should definitely ask a question in order to show your interest for the job. For example:
        • When would be my first day of work?
        • What is the team like in which I would be working?
        • What expectations do you have of me as an employee?

After the job interview:

  • As you are waiting to hear back whether you got the job or not, you should definitely continue applying every day for other jobs. Only once you have signed an employment contract, can you stop looking for a job.

What do I need to watch out for once I have the job?

  • Smile – you have mastered your first step into Austrian society! Congratulations!
  • You will be given a contract to sign:
    • Please read it diligently and only sign it once you have understood everything. You may ask questions and have your employer explain particular sections of the contract you are uncertain about – Austrians do the same!
    • You can also take the contract home with you to read it or show it to an Austrian friend who can have a look at it for you.
    • The contract will contain the most important aspects of your job:
      • how many hours a week you need to work
      • whether you are expected to work at night and on weekends
      • with which insurance company you are registered
      • how many days of vacation you will have each year (25 days is normal in Austria)
      • what your gross salary is and if you will be paid 12 or 14 times per year
      • how long your trial period lasts (during which it is easier to fire you)
      • …and much more.
  • You must under no circumstances be late for work. Being unpunctual is a reason to be fired in Austria.

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