“So, what do you want to do after your studies?”

Do you also feel overwhelmed when Uncle Albert asks you this question at the family birthday party?

There are so many options out there, so much you can do. But what suits you?

You know one thing for sure: you don’t just want to work somewhere to earn money.

Sure, money is part of life.

But the essential question you should ask yourself is: Is this job a good fit for my life?

Other questions follow:

  • Does the work there fulfill me?
  • Does this company have a mission and values that are important to me?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement, the option to work from home and other benefits?

You want to know these things before you decide on an employer.

There’s a big but: these days, every company can write great-sounding job advertisements and mission statements. And reviews on Glassdoor or kununu can be faked.

You know that, and that’s what drives you to despair.

Because how can you separate the wheat from the chaff?

With our tips and tricks.

Ensure clarity: What do I want?

To find the right employer, you first need to get to know yourself and find out what is important to you.

People are very different. Some people want to have a career and flex with lots of money, others want as much time as possible for themselves or for childcare. Still others value a cool team where work is fun.

In most cases, it is a mixture of different needs that employees value in their desired employer.

Sit down in a quiet minute and write down what is important to you personally with your employer. Don’t think about it, just write down everything that comes to mind. That’s what I did and it gave me a lot of clarity.

Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out on your own what is important to you in a suitable employer. Then ask relatives and friends what they think of you. The perspective of people who know you well helps you to find out what is really important to you.

  • Extra tip: Visit the BiZ, the careers information center in your city. Competent people there will help you find suitable professions for you.

We also recommend that you take a personality test to find out about your strengths and talents.

These are popular and helpful personality tests:

Gallup’s personality test is the most complex and costs money, but in our experience it also offers you the most comprehensive and differentiated profile of your skills and character traits.

The 65 euros are a considerable outlay, but consider the test an investment in your future. In all likelihood, the test will lead you to the jobs that really suit you, so that you avoid bitter mistakes in your career choice.

The other two tests will help you to get to know yourself better, but are much more superficial. We recommend that you use them as an introduction or supplement.

Incidentally, support and advice from a career coach is better than any online test.

Let yourself be coached

Coaches – aren’t they the guys who stand on stage in skinny jeans, white sneakers and too-tight T-shirts and shout calendar slogans into the audience?

Yes, they exist too. And there are serious career coaches who may not reach an audience of millions on YouTube, but who will help you find suitable employers.

During the interview, the career coach will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes.

Based on this, the next step is to draw up a plan with you on how you can not only find your dream employer, but also convince them of you. Good career coaches know exactly what to include in an application these days and how to master an assessment.

A coach will also recognize key skills that they will work with you to develop, for example soft skills such as public speaking, body language, time management, etc.

What does a reputable career coach look for?

  • References: What learning and work stages has the coach been through that qualify them?
  • Testimonials: Are there credible recommendations from clients on the coach’s website?
  • Gut feeling: Do you have a good feeling about your contact with the coach, e.g. in emails and phone calls?

These pointers will help you in your search for a suitable career coach.

The next step is to get a taste of the world of work.

Do an internship

You’ve probably heard the term Generation Internship. It used to refer to young people who shuffled from internship to internship in the hope that this method would eventually lead to a good job.

Fortunately, the labor market has changed dramatically. There is still a shortage of skilled workers in Germany and employees are desperately needed, for example in the railroad, catering and manufacturing industries (chemicals, etc.).

Many employers are now open to career changers, in other words: in addition to professional qualifications, what matters nowadays is whether you are a committed, inquisitive employee.

This closes the circle: if you find the right employer for you, you are committed and motivated, which means the employer is satisfied with your work performance – a classic win-win situation.

That’s why the reputation of internships is much better today than it was ten or twenty years ago: It helps both sides, you and the employer, to find out if you’re a good fit for each other.

In addition, it is now much easier to be offered an attractive position after an internship. High-performing, committed employees are hard to find, and those who perform well during their internship have good prospects of finding an attractive job.

In our article on internships, you can find out what you should bear in mind when looking for an internship.

Extra tip: Don’t fancy a month-long internship to find out whether an employer is right for you? Then how about a trial working day? Suggest such a trial day to the employer and find out on this day whether you are a good fit for the company and vice versa.

Talk to (ex-)employees

Who knows more about a company than the people who work or have worked there?

Get to know the company and its employees at networking events such as trade fairs and talk to them. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work for this employer.

Of course, it is particularly exciting if you can also talk to former employees who will tell you the pros and cons of the job in an unembellished and honest way.

But be careful, especially with ex-employees who only speak badly about the company. There are often personal or emotional stories behind this that are not very objective. You should therefore speak to several (ex-)employees to get a differentiated impression.

Be prepared for compromises

Finding the perfect employer where everything is right straight away is like the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack.

Especially at the beginning of your career, you should be willing to compromise, because you don’t get anything for free.

Some advantages have to be earned through hard work and reliability. Many employers will first put you to the test (probationary period) to find out whether you are an employee they can rely on.

If you can prove this to them, later negotiations on topics such as working from home, flexible working hours, new work equipment, etc. will be much easier. So be prepared to make compromises with an attractive employer if everything else is right.

Start your own business

Become your own boss and start your own business. This way, you can create the job you want with the clients that suit you. In many areas of self-employment, you can work from home or on the road, whether during the day or at night is also up to you.

This applies, for example, to areas such as web development, design, copywriting, etc. In most cases, however, you will have certain core working hours, just like in a regular job, which has to do with the fact that you work for clients who are available during the day.

Caution: Self-employment may sound tempting, but it is a challenge. So that you don’t start out naive, but well prepared, we recommend our article on self-employment. It gives you solid tips on how to become self-employed while studying and why this is absolutely the best time.

More articles in our blog

Are you already rolling up your sleeves and scouring the web for suitable jobs for you? Then be sure to read these articles in our blog to be even better prepared for your search:

Ready for takeoff?

We wish you every success in finding the right employer for you!

Ahoy and toi, toi, toi

Your Staytoo team