One in five “international hires” in Germany believes that making friends is easy here. Sixty percent disagree. We Germans don’t open up easily.
In today's column I share my favourite tips on how to break the ice – at least in a professional setting.
This is the holy grail for your job search. Managers know what really goes on in the company. They know about new positions opening up, long before they are advertised.
Finally they can do more for your career with one recommendation to an old friend than you can achieve through sending out a hundred application letters.
The job websites LinkedIn and Xing make it easier than ever to find the manager behind a job offer. But many professionals don’t use these tools effectively. They take a “mechanical” view on connections, when they are in reality all about respect and real human interaction.
I have reached out to more than 2000 managers on behalf of my coaching clients since 2013. One out of three will connect with me within 14 days or less. The reason? Respect.
In many cultures the first contact is easy. In the Anglo-American world, for example, many will not hesitate to add just about everyone to their social network.
Breaking the shell
We Germans have a different view on new relationships. Some compare us to a coconut: No, not hairy and brown. Hard on the outside, but if you get past the shell, we are quite sweet.
How do you break through the German shell?
Let me use myself as an example, since I receive hundreds of contact requests: At this moment there about 160 people who sent a contact request who will never hear back from me.
They reached out with the bare minimum effort: A contact request without any sort of message.
If they care so little about a possible connection with me, then why should I care about them?
Every day there are also people who reach out to me with a short message. They take the time to write to me about their needs. I will not connect with them, but I always take the time to write them a short answer.
And then there are those that really “click”. They clearly took the time to learn a little bit about me and it shows in their messages. They talk about something that connects us. And they give me a clear idea why they reach out to me.
(I will still not connect right away, but I will engage in the conversation and that might lead to a common project along the way.)
The details matter
Germans will invest time in you if you are investing time in them. A column is a way to short to explain how to best reach out to German managers in all details (and the details matter). Especially if you want to reach the managers behind a job offer that you are interested in.
But here are two short video clips that can give you a better idea.
And for those of you who really want to make this work: Join my Expats Job Offer Miracle or take the more affordable “Meet Your Future Boss” course. These months until Christmas are the time when employers hire more than in all the rest of the year combined.
ABOUT CHRIS PYAK
Chris Pyak is the Author of “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans“. The managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH has worked in four different cultures and lived in five different countries.
Chris returned to Germany in 2011. His mission: Bring the Immigrant Spirit to his home country. Chris introduces international professionals to employers in Germany.