More DW Blogs DW.COM

Education for all

Five bloggers, five countries, one dialogue

Job search doldrums

"Arbeiten gehen" - "Get to work!"

I ran into some friends from school at a birthday party this weekend. A lot of my friends studied humanities or social sciences – some of them were able to find jobs rather quickly; others needed more time. I myself participated in my first assessment center (AC) with a big German company last week as part of my job search.

One of my friends who studied medicine asked me what the abbreviation AC stands for, and I envied her for not having to know about ACs as a doctor. Companies use them to find the right candidate for a job. As a candidate, you are observed doing many different exercises during a whole day. In my AC, we had to accomplish mainly group exercises while five observers kept watch over the six of us applicants.

It can be a long road from the university to a job

In the end, none of us got the job. The team of observers said that “interaction was lacking” between the six of us. So we weren’t qualified for the position at hand? The educational system hadn’t prepared us for this kind of evaluation. And it’s an open question whether the school system should do that at all.

A friend who majored in history and Egyptian studies tried to comfort me at the birthday party: “Then this job isn’t the right one for you.” At the same time she’s afraid of starting her own application process. She’s glad that she still has to write her master’s thesis and has some time left before needing to find a job.


May 9, 2012 | 11:00 am