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Top 3 Tips to Finding a Job in Dusseldorf

By on May 17th, 2016

Because many of us can resonate with the fact that it is not always so simple finding a job as an English speaker in a German city, today we have Malaika Neri, writer at giving us her top 3 tips to finding a job in Dusseldorf. . . . .

Malaika Neri: We went to college together, then he moved to the Middle East and taught himself Arabic. After three years in Dubai’s advertising industry, Derek was ready for something different. He wrote me last week, about finding a job in Dusseldorf.

“I’m ready to move out of the Gulf region,” he says. “It’s not me. I want to move to Germany, I think it would be a good fit.”

“That’s great,” I tell him, smiling, remembering the passionate, intellectually curious polyglot who joined me for late-night falafel runs in New York City.

“So I’m open to any opportunity,” he continues, “but I’m scared of not finding anything,” he admits. “I’m unsure if not knowing German will be a big burden.”

“No worries, dude,” I tell my old friend, “You’ll definitely find something. After all, I found two great jobs here.”

“How did you do it?” he asks. 

Well, here’s what I told him and what I will tell you.

My top 3 tips to finding a job in Dusseldorf:

Brand yourself as a specialist.

Germans don’t do generalists; local hires are often expected to have a string of certifications in a highly specialised area, and although this expectation is less strongly applied to foreign hires, Germans have a tendency to think “If you haven’t studied computer science, you can’t be a programmer.”

You can prove your abilities once you’ve been hired, but in order to get hired, pick a silo, and fit yourself into it.


Market your outsider perspective.

Though I’ve picked up enough German listening to 1LIVE and chatting with Deutsch colleagues, I’ll never be a native speaker, and still have difficulty planning vacation more than three months in advance. So why try to be what I’m not?

Instead, I apply to organisations specifically seeking candidates with international and/or non-traditional backgrounds, who can think on their feet, and add a fresh perspective to the team. Sitting down for a coffee with my previous boss, I asked him, “Why did you hire me?”

“Because I knew you’d bring us lots of new ideas,” he said, without missing a beat.


Apply only to jobs targeting international candidates.

Stop looking at postings that want native German skills; apply instead to jobs that specifically look for high-level English speakers and internationally minded candidates who have studied outside Germany and have experience in countries and contexts outside Europe.

TIP: The international development and NGO sector frequently hires non-EU citizens, and operates in an English-language environment; possibilities abound, with several international NGO’s based in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Frankfurt, and  over 100 development and humanitarian aid organisations based in Germany. Wondering where else to look? Here is a list of the only 5 websites you’ll ever need to find a job in development.


Relax, and remember that Germany, and particularly the Rhineland, despite its quirks, is enormously open to foreign hires. Use the lists above to identify the organisations that inspire you, and, depending on the job posting, you can send in a German Lebenslauf or an international CV.

finding a job in dusseldorf

Looking for more tips about finding a job in Dusseldorf? Do you have any other questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your questions at If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo. 



Jenna Davis
Düsseldorf, Germany

This is our online publication for sharing the best about life in Düsseldorf in a generous and honest way. We spend our mornings writing content and our afternoons interviewing locals, participating in forums and calling businesses so you don’t have to.

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