In Jena, there is a lot of support for people who are newly moving here, especially from abroad. In this series, we introduce you to some of the people who provide support with questions about arriving and staying. Today we introduce you to Franziska Stang from the Career Service at the University of Applied Sciences Jena. We visited her at her office at the Carl-Zeiss-Promenade 2.
Ms. Stang, please briefly introduce yourself and your work.
I have been working at the Career Service of the EAH Jena since the end of 2016 and accompany students on their way to graduation. What I like most about my work is the contact with young people and the insight into the diverse life biographies of our students.
Who do you advise and on what topics? What are your daily tasks?
In my work, I support students in the application process and in their search for internships, theses and jobs after graduation. This also applies to students who have already completed their studies (alumni). Some students already have a plan for their career entry, others are still unsure of their path after graduation. In this case, I help with career orientation.
On the other hand, I am the contact person for companies and institutions interested in cooperating with us, e.g. job publications or supporting the “Deutschlandstipendium”. The scholarship programme is aimed at high-achieving and committed students and is funded by companies, foundations and private individuals.
It is important to inform students about how they can find suitable companies and how they can make contact with those companies.
What are typical questions you are being asked? What do you answer? And what were perhaps also curious questions or topics that made you smile?
Often they are general questions about the application process.
- Are my application documents up to standard?
- Is an application photo necessary? (It is not compulsory in Germany, but it is appreciated.)
- How do I justify my desired salary in the interview? (Argumentation based on my degree, practical experience, research on starting salary etc.).
International students usually find it more difficult to approach companies actively, whether it’s for speculative applications or at career fairs. For example, if they are looking for an internship in a certain region, but there are not enough published positions there. Then, it is important to inform students about how they can find suitable companies and in what way they can make contact.
Why should students stay in Jena after graduation?
In Jena, in addition to the well-known and large companies, there are many “hidden champions”, start-ups as well as small and medium-sized companies that offer, for example, interesting fields of work, a creative work atmosphere or individual opportunities for further training.
Jena is particularly strong in optics and photonics, the digital economy, health technology and precision engineering. Here, (almost) everyone can find a suitable job for themselves!
In addition, the city offers a wide range of cultural activities, many opportunities for families and a great landscape to linger and relax in.
What are your three or four suggestions for finding a job and starting a career in Jena?
- it’s important to make a plan while you’re still studying so that you can focus on a goal. This makes it easier to master difficult situations during your studies. But it is just as important to be open to new paths and to throw this plan overboard sometimes when a suitable opportunity arises. This could be, for example, an internship offer that doesn’t seem so attractive at first glance, but could mean a variety of follow-up opportunities.
- Studies at a University of Applied Sciences are characterised by a high degree of practical orientation. Not only do the lecturers come from the business world. . Internships and theses are also integrated into the curricula, which take place in companies. This enables international students in particular to get to know the job market in Jena, Thuringia or elsewhere in Germany and to familiarise themselves with the work culture.
In addition to these obligatory practical assignments, I always encourage students to gain further practical experience – of course, only if time permits during their studies. Because during the study period, there is the best opportunity to get a taste of some areas and to be able to orientate oneself. This makes it easier to assess which tasks suit someone and which do not.
In addition, an internship or a thesis can be the entry point into a company. Colleagues get to know the students and their skills and competences and can thus assess the work accordingly.
- Networks are of great importance – throughout life, but especially for students. That is why I advise students to establish and maintain contacts already during their studies. In addition to the social networks online, this means contacts during an internship in a company, during a student job, with teachers and staff at the university, with fellow students, etc. These networks can help you later when you are looking for a job.
My tips: Start planning during your studies, gain practical experience, cultivate networks.
What makes life in Jena special for you? What is typical of Jena for you?
The international students and professionals bring their different cultures to the city, making it more colourful and lively.
Would you tell us your favourite place in Jena?
I don’t have a particular favourite place. There are so many beautiful places in Jena. But I like the view from above. So what I really like about Jena is that I can be in the countryside within a very short time and look down on the city from the hills.