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Looking for a suitable apprenticeship or the right degree course starts with you. If you know your strengths and the things you are genuinely interested in, you can find out what suits you the best. The following tips have been designed to help you to identify your strengths and interests.
The subjects you enjoy in school and that you are good at will tell you something about your abilities and interests. That’s why you should ask yourself which subjects suit you the best. Are you interested in and do you have a gift for maths? Then taking a technical degree course may be the right thing for you, such as mechanical engineering or information technology. You might like doing things with your hands, however, which means an occupation such as dental technician or roofer would be more appropriate. Or you could go for an apprenticeship in commerce, and train as an industrial clerk or an office management specialist, for instance. If you’re good at learning foreign languages, you could consider an apprenticeship as a foreign language correspondent or a university degree in languages.
You can then start thinking about your interests outside school. What do you do in your leisure time? Whether you like reading and writing, sports, programming a computer or helping family members: These activities will also tell you a lot about yourself.
You may have gained some initial practical experiences of the workplace, at your parent’s company for example, or as an assistant at another company. Did you enjoy the work, or did you decide that it wasn’t the right thing for you? This can help you find out what kind of activities suit you the best, what kind of occupation you can imagine working in, and what you’d prefer not to do.
You can also gain work experience in Germany through internships. If you want to get some direct insight into occupations that require a university degree, you can apply for an internship, which are available at many companies.
Tests are available that put your interests and strengths to the test and suggest suitable areas of work or courses of study. In addition to this, many universities offer self-assessments which determine your suitability for a particular course of study. You can do most of these tests online. Before you get started, you should check if the test costs anything, as many free offerings are available.
That includes Check-U – das Erkundungstool der Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Check-U – the fact-finding tool of the Federal Employment Agency). With this online test (in German), you can find out which degree or apprenticeship suits you. You work on four modules in which you assess your skills, your social skills, your interests and your professional preferences. Depending on your choices, you receive suggestions for appropriate areas of study or apprenticeship occupations.
The MySkills test helps you to verify your background occupational knowledge. To do this, you are required to answer questions in the form of texts, images and videos about an occupation you have learned. 30 occupations are available to choose from. The check.work test, with which you are also able to demonstrate that you already have work experience, is slightly different (module 1: Practice). By selecting images and answering technical questions, you prove that you are familiar with a specific area of work and specific activities. You can take the test in German, English, French, Farsi, Modern Arabic and Ukrainian. You can enclose the evaluation with your application documents or bring them along with you to a job interview. Or you can complete “module 2: Potential” and ascertain your skills, such as logical thinking, creativity or team-working ability. Check.work is offered at a number of chambers of commerce, Jobcenters and educational institutions.
The 100Fachbegriffe (100 key terms) tool (in German) helps you to prepare yourself for an internship or apprenticeship at the language-related level. Test your knowledge of the key technical terms from ten professional fields or have them explained to you in a comprehensible way – in words, pictures and sound.
Further information and links to tests are available (in German) in the section Orientieren > Was will ich? Was kann ich? > Testverfahren (Orientation > What do I want to do? What can I do? > Test procedure).
Another important factor is conversations with other people, such as your family and (new) friends. Ask them how they perceive you. What personal qualities and strengths do they attribute to you? Do they consider you to be resilient and responsible, team-oriented and communicative? Do you have a gift for working with your hands or are you more comfortable organising things? Compare what others say about you with what you think about yourself.
When it comes to degree courses or apprenticeships which suit your personal interests and strengths, you can also get advice from professionals. The career advisors in the federal employment agencies are available to assist you with a personal interview. Make an appointment at web.arbeitsagentur.de/portal/kontakt/de/terminvereinbarung/berufsberatung.
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