In the university setting you will probably encounter a term “minijob”. It describes a job, where you can earn up to 520 Euro monthly (this sum may change - last updated January 2023). If you have a minijob, you are exempt from income tax. You are eligible for pension insurance, but you can, if you wish, be exempt from it.
HiWi is an abbreviation for “Hilfswissenschaftler” meaning “student researcher” and is generally used for any minijob, where a student is employed at the university.
You may also encounter an abbreviation WiMi, meaning “scientific worker” is a person with at least a master's degree, employed by university and engaging in scientific activity.
Some of the documents you will probably need, while applying for a job:
- Tax number (Steueridentifikationsnummer)
- Social Security Card (Sozialversicherungsausweis)
- If you don’t have one, ask your health insurance provider for one.
- Proof of your health insurance
- Immatriculation certificate
- Current residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) + Additional leaf (Zusatzblatt)
- Copy of your birth certificate
- Copy of your wedding certificate, if married
Always make sure, if your employer requires any more documents.
There are several ways of finding a HiWi job:
- The students council (FaRaFIN) has a mailing list with different job listings including HiWi positions.
- Some offers are posted on the white-boards in the hallways of the faculties.
- You can always ask a professor or a scientific worker if there are HiWi positions currently available in their group.
- You can also try looking up positions on portals like Linkedin, Xing or Indeed.
You can email a professor or a scientific worker expressing your interest and describing your skills and possible previous experiences. You can ask to be considered if an open position matching your skills opens up. Be patient and do not spam your recipient. In this animated video, you can find out how to approach a faculty member. You may also consider consulting this email etiquette article.
You are allowed to have a job while studying. Most students prefer to have a minijob, since it provides an income up to 520 Euro without tax (this sum may change - last updated January 2023). It also limits the number of hours you can work, so it is potentially easier to manage in combination with your studies.
In line with the German student visa, a student can work for 120 full days or 240 half days, except assisting a professor inside the university. 120 full days corresponds to 80 hours of work per month on an average, if you work all the months of the year. You can find the regulations on the additional sheet (Zusatzblatt) of your residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). You can also have several student jobs, as long as the total number of hours does not exceed the given limit.
You can roughly divide the most available student jobs in the following four categories:
- Tutoring jobs: Some courses in the university come with exercises. Some lecturers hire students to hold these exercises. After you have successfully completed such a course, you could apply to become a tutor for this course.
- HiWi jobs: Aside from tutoring you can apply for a more general student researcher position. There are a lot of positions that cover a wide range of activities, which may include doing literature reviews, maintaining a website, creating graphics, preparing course material, ect.
- Part time jobs in software companies: You can also work as a student in a software company. Same with the HiWi job your responsibilities could cover a wide range of topics.
- Other jobs: you may also consider working part-time jobs in supermarkets, restaurants or delivery companies.
In theory, it is allowed, but is generally not advised. We would suggest for you to take time familiarising yourself with the city, university and your studies.
The knowledge of German language (or any other language) will be mentioned in the job listing. If it isn’t, then German language skills are not mandatory for the job.
Please note, while language skills might not be crucial within the university, they will significantly increase your chances and options when you are looking for a job outside the university.
You should follow the instructions provided in the job listing. You will probably need to provide your potential employer - the contact person on the job listing - at least with your resume and a cover letter. In case you would need someone to go through your application, feel free to contact a mentor.
Unless the job listing explicitly asks for it, it is not required. For many students their student job is their first job.
You can approach a mentor or ask your fellow students for their personal experiences.
There are also a series of podcasts created by a former mentor Anirban Saha, discussing with students their experience with student jobs.
In theory yes. But as mentors, we would suggest that you take courses at first and then apply for jobs at the end of the first semesters.
- Please be patient. From your first interaction with the faculty/interviewer till you get a final response, it might take time. It is normal.
- Keep your options open and search proactively.
- Be open to feedback. If you were rejected from a position you can still ask for some feedback or tips.
- Independent working is important. Usually, students are expected to work independently in their job roles.