What are the top holiday jobs for students in Germany?

The Christmas holidays offer students many flexible job opportunities in industries which can help to sharpen transferrable skills. Here's where - and how - to apply.

What are the top holiday jobs for students in Germany?
A student working in an office over Christmas. Photo: DPA

Classes are wrapping up, revision is done and you’ve finished up the last of your exams for the year!

READ ALSO: Working in German over the festive period: What you need to know about the rules

Tempting as it is to kick back and binge on all the available Netflix boxsets, you might be thinking that this is a good time to bank a little extra income.

Seasonal jobs are ideal for gaining initial experience in the world of work and a nice boost to your bank account for the coming year!

It's not hard to find Christmastime work in Germany, usually minus the holiday sweater. Photo: DPA

Future employers always appreciate students taking on seasonal work, as it shows a willingness to get stuck in and gain some more experience. It is also a great chance to hone social skills such as manners, punctuality and customer service; all things that are useful for future applications!

What kinds of seasonal jobs should students look for?

The Christmas holidays and the build-up to them offer students many flexible job opportunities in industries which can help to sharpen your transferrable skills. Here are some popular seasonal options for students:

Bar and restaurant staff. Christmas work parties; friends and family getting together to celebrate; and tourists visiting the famed German Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets).

December is a busy time for the gastronomy industry! Students can often easily pick up hours in bars, cafes and restaurants seeking to cope with their numbers and increased number of guests. Tips are generally quite good as people are feeling more generous during the festive season.

Events and catering. Bars and restaurants are great, but don’t forget to check out catering and event companies too. At this time of year, there are big Christmas dinners, balls and company events so there’s generally a solid demand for work in event and catering companies. 

Whether you assist with logistics, set-up or hosting on the day, there are many opportunities for students. Big recruitment websites like Indeed will have plenty of offers, but why not check out other specialised websites such as HotelCareer or Apetito Catering?

Photo: DPA

Courier/delivery worker. More and more people opt to do their Christmas shopping or order food online because they don’t fancy facing the chilly winter winds. The result being delivery drivers certainly have no shortage of work at this time of year. Alternatively, there are also general roles available in warehouses and the sorting rooms of post offices.

Check out companies such as Lieferando, DHL, DPD and Hermes, or even enquire with local restaurants whether they are in need of extra delivery drivers. Alternatively, there are also generally roles available in warehouses, particularly Amazon, and the sorting rooms of post offices.

Pet-sitting. Those with experience of caring for pets should consider pet-sitting during the holidays. There are lots of mobile apps like Rover and Pawshake in additional to lots of Facebook groups for various cities that you can join and advertise your services.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about having a pet in Germany

This can be a fun and easy way to earn some extra pocket money while helping owners who are away during the holidays and unable to take their furry friend with them.

Retail. A holiday season staple. Retail stores often take on extra staff to cope over the Christmas holidays, but it’s worth getting your application in early as they normally start taking on staff in November.

If you’re interested in working on the shop floor, a reasonable command of German is necessary to give the customer service needed, but back-office roles may be more flexible.

Malls like this one in Erfurt are busy places over the holidays. Photo: DPA

Customer Service. Gift giving is a wonderful thing, but invariably there is always the odd gift that doesn’t quite hit the mark, or the receiver isn’t sure how to use it. To tackle the increased demand on their services, many companies try to boost the availability of their customer service support. 

Whether it’s via telephone, webchat or answering emails, getting some customer service skills under your belt will serve any student well for future employment.

If multi-lingual support can be provided, even better. Websites such as Studitemps are great for students looking to pick up work or even just shifts in areas like customer service and promotion.

Every experience counts!

Don’t forget, every job, no matter how long or short, is also a fabulous networking opportunity. Not only can you make new friends outside of your college, but you can connect with colleagues and managers who may be able to assist you in finding more work in the future!

Don’t forget to add this experience to both your CV and LinkedIn profile too. Employers value people who show a drive to work and the proactiveness of taking on a job during semesters.

READ ALSO: How to reach out to German employers on LinkedIn or Xing

By Catherine Flynn, Student Services Manager at Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI)

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Reader question: Is it ever legally too hot to work from home in Germany?

Germany has regulations on working during a heatwave - but does that also apply to people who work remotely? We take a look.

Reader question: Is it ever legally too hot to work from home in Germany?

The number of people working from home shot up during the Covid pandemic, and though employees no longer have the right to work remotely by law, many have chosen to stick with more flexible arrangements and set up a home office at least part of the week.

This is great news for people who enjoy a lie-in more than a long commute, but there are some downsides. One major issue is that it’s not always clear how Germany’s strict employee protection rules actually apply in a home setting. The rules for working during a heatwave are a good example of this.

How does Germany regulate working in extreme heat? 

By law in Germany, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workers. This means that they should try and keep the temperature below 26C at all times and are legally obliged to take action if the temperature goes above 30C. 

That could include putting blinds on the windows to prevent the glare of the sun, installing air conditioning systems or purchasing fans. In some cases – such as outdoor manual labour – it could also involve starting and finishing earlier in the day. 

And in really high temperatures, employers may simply decide to call the whole thing off and give their employees a ‘hitzefrei’ day – basically a heat-induced day off – to go and cool down in a lake. However, business owners are generally given free rein to decide how hot is too hot in this instance (except in the case of vulnerable workers). 

READ ALSO: Hitzefrei: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Do the heat rules apply to ‘home office?’

Unfortunately not. In most cases in Germany, the company isn’t directly involved in setting up the workspace for an employee that works from home, aside from possibly providing a laptop or phone for remote use. 

“The occupational health and safety regulations regarding room temperature do not apply in this case,” labour law expert Meike Brecklinghaus told German business publication T3N. “This is because the employer does not have direct access to the employee’s workplace and in this respect cannot take remedial action.”

That means that on hot days, it’s the employee’s own responsibility to make sure the environment is suitable for working in. 

woman works from home in Germany

A woman works in her living room at home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Naupold

One duty employers do have, however, is to instruct their workers about the best way to set up a healthy work environment at home, for example by giving guidance on how to regulate the temperature. 

“In the end, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her workplace in a condition in which he or she can perform his or her work without the threat of health impairments,” Brecklinghaus explained.

What can home office workers do in hot weather?

There are plenty of ways to keep flats cooler in the summer months, including purchasing your own fan, keeping curtains or blinds drawn and ventilating the rooms in the evening or early morning when the weather is cooler.

However, if heat is really becoming a problem, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your employer. This is especially important if you have a health condition that makes it more dangerous to work in hot weather. 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate for the employer to pay for the purchase of a fan or mobile air conditioner as goodwill gesture. If possible, you could also arrange to travel to the office where the temperature should be better regulated.

Another option for early birds or night owls is to arrange more flexible working hours so you can avoid sweltering at your desk in the midday sun, although this of course depends on operational factors. 

READ ASO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?