My first job was in an apparel manufacturing company as an Industrial engineer. I worked there for 8 months. I quit my job due to several reasons (abusive work environment, poor management, irregular salary). I wasn't given any experience certificate (according to HR, the company does not provide such things!).

I wish to pursue MS in Germany next year. After MS, I want to look for jobs there. I know it helps if you have previous work experience. When I will be looking for jobs, can I use this experience even though I don't have any certificate? Will the employer ask for any proof of my previous work?

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    As far as I know if you ask for arbeitszeugnis they cannot refuse it, so when you asked for experience certificate, what did you ask for exactly? And you can always list your experience on CV, papers get lost all the time (though not having the paper may hurt you). Aug 30 '20 at 12:34
  • I forgot to mention, I am from Bangladesh and it was a Bangladeshi company. I did not specifically ask for anything because I knew that people come and go in that company without asking for such thing. Also, I quit without a month's notice. I did not think much about this certificate as it does not matter much for me in BD. However, I have become interested to go for MS in Germany. Now I'm a bit concerned about this since German employers prefers work experience.
    – Tii
    Aug 30 '20 at 12:50
  • Work experience before an MS would probably count similar to an internship, since it's not work experience with the same degree you're using to apply, especially if it's only slightly longer than a typical internship. I'd probably look if the company exists, but any certificate you'd get at this point would be near useless to base a decision on, so I wouldn't even blink if there is no supporting documentation. Aug 30 '20 at 15:44

In your specific case having such a letter of recommendation is not important because

  • most employers might understand that such letters of recommendation are not common in Bangladesh
  • you held the position only for a short time and
  • it was work experience prior to your MS anyway.

But keep in mind that in Germany the situation is different because German employers are actually required by law to hand out such letters of recommendation (Arbeitszeugnis) on request (§630 BGB) at the end of employment. And it is advised to always claim those employment references when giving notice.

And in general, many companies in Germany still expect you to send copies of those letters together with your CV when you apply for a new job.


One thing German employers want to see is a full chronological CV. That does not mean that you have to put the same detail for every position, for example the more experience you get the more your "schools" will shrink to a single line that only mentions your highest diploma. But it does mean that you should list everything you did, whether you have paperwork for it or not.

With work experience in other countries, a German employer might not count it in, because of multiple factors, from missing paperwork (or just paperwork we have no way of verifying at all) to differences in how things are run in different countries.

But experience is never a hard limit, don't constrain yourself by not applying. Apply for the job, list all you have, let your potential employer worry about whether they are happy with it as presented or not. The only mistake you really could make would be lying. Don't say you have the paperwork. Just say it's not common with that company and you did not get any.

With a master degree, people will probably not care whether you had an 8 months employment somewhere anyway. Your masters degree should be worth more to people.

  • I hear that having work experience is necessary to land a job in Germany. The companies require 2-3 years of work experience.
    – Tii
    Aug 31 '20 at 14:02
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    @Tii How would anybody ever get a job if experience were a strict requirement?
    – nvoigt
    Aug 31 '20 at 14:03
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    That sounds completely unlike Germany. Up until 2007 we did not even have the BS/MS split. You either did the whole thing to the end, or quit mid way with nothing to show at all. What academic field are you in?
    – nvoigt
    Aug 31 '20 at 14:16
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    Relevant experience is highly helpful (as probably everywhere) but irrelevant experience won't help you much. Not getting fired while flipping burgers is the bare minimum expected from a future employee but nothing that helps decide if they are a good employee. I rahter advocate finding a relevant internship or student job while going to university for the MSc. This is a lot easier to land than a full-time job, will give you a certified relevant experience in Germany and if you are lucky a later full-time job opportunity at a company that already knows you
    – Manziel
    Sep 1 '20 at 12:55
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    @Tii re getting a job at 31 - if you have a decent grade in your degree and you get a work visa (or apply for a bluecard - see §19a AufenthG) and you learn German while you study, getting a job should be possible. Engineers of all kinds are generally in shorter supply than a lot of other jobs in Germany. And the German employment system doesn't require references like e.g. the UK.
    – simbabque
    Sep 1 '20 at 14:34

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