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Type of contract

Direct recruitment

Direct recruitment is the most common way to start a job for most graduates. This is often referred to as "Training on the Job", as you will only be active in one specialized area. From the very beginning, you get to know the structures of the company and get integrated into the work-process of the department. From a brief familiarisation phase, followed by taking over responsibilities in projects or in other tasks In contrast to a trainee-programme, you generally only get to know the department in which you work. With direct employment, you receive an open-ended contract of employment. Therefore, your salary is usually somewhat higher than that of a trainee, but further training measures are limited and/or not offered.

Type of contract

Freelance work

Self-employed persons are also referred to as freelancers. The term freelancer comes from the novel Ivanhoe from Sir Walter Scott. In the novel, Scott refers to the medieval solders as freelancers.

Freelancers are self-employed and also employees, who complete jobs for companies on a few days each, without being integrated into the actual company. Freelancers are therefore not part of the company's normal workforce. This means employees can also be freelancers in another company. Contracts between freelancers and companies are generally temporary. A company pays a freelancer a contractually agreed amount of remuneration, for which the company does not have to pay any ancillary wage costs. As a freelancer, you are not bound by the usual working times of the company, which means you can organise your weekly working time individually.

Type of contract


Generally, a placement or internship is a working relationship with a fixed duration, which is used to acquire new knowledge or increase existing knowledge.

Those who stand out during their internship have it easier when it comes to finding a job later on:

Show initiative. Those who can work independently and don't have a problem menial tasks will have better chances. On one hand, it shows team spirit, and on the other hand it shows that you are able to cope with stress.

Take part in forming your internship. Offer colleagues your help in certain projects and support them in the areas that you enjoy working in the most.

Ask questions if anything is unclear. Queries and generally questions on your activities will show you are committed and interested. And note: there are no stupid questions, just ones that are too late.

Type of contract

Doctoral studies (PhD)

Postgraduates are students who are studying for a PhD degree and aiming to achieve the highest academic grade – a doctor's degree. This takes place after a Master's degree or similar of after passing the state examinations.

With regard to scientific subjects, a doctoral degree is generally completed in cooperation with a company. The doctoral candidate completes this while also carrying out their teaching activities at the university. This is not usually the case for degrees covering the arts and humanities. Here, the doctoral candidates often only have their teaching activities and the responsibility to complete their dissertation within the defined period of time. There are however some companies that will offer cooperation here. On you can see which companies are generally interested in supporting doctoral candidates and therefore your studies.

Type of contract

Degree thesis

Many companies offer cooperation whilst writting your dissertation. This involves developing a question, which you work on together with the employees of the company. This generally relates to topics, which are directly related to specific research projects of the respective company.

Thanks to the cooperation, you not only receive financial support from the company, but also valuable insight into the everyday work as well as a good relationship with the potential future employer.

Type of contract

Trainee programme

When starting as a trainee, you work for a limited period of time in different departments of a company. This enables you to get to know all of the departments of the company in detail before you take on a permanent position. At the same time, you can get to know your colleagues and are not restricted to one department or the like. Furthermore, practical work is often supported with theoretical, specialist and personal training in the form of workshops or seminars. The salary of trainees is lower than that of people employed directly. The duration of the trainee programme, generally lasts 12 or 24 months, and it often ends with a regular fulltime position in a specific department.

A traineeship can therefore open up many possibilities to you for your future career, as you receive insight into all areas of the company, which in turn allows you to focus on your preferred area later on.

Type of contract

Voluntary service

An internship is the classic entry into the journalism profession. In the field of public relations or any general profession that deal primarily with the media, the employer provides you to get started, as a volunteer. Providing a university degree or a similar qualification. Unlike a trainee programme you don't go through all departments, but take over responsibility from the outset for a specific area of responsibility. At the same time you have training, where you get the opportunity to learn subject areas for which you'll find lack of time, in your later professional life. Similar to the trainee programme the duration is around 12 - 24 months. Your salary is usually between 1,000 and 2,000 euros.

Type of contract

Working student (part time)

A working student is someone that is registered at a university and also works at the same time, in order to gain practical experience and earn money to support themselves. Working students activities exceed those of marginal employment and are subject to pension requirements, but not on health, unemployment and long-term care requirements.

As the degree should be the focal point for a student, the weekly working time should not exceed 20 hours – this does not include semester breaks, during which a student can work full time.

Working student activities are beneficial above all when you want to get to now the sectors in which you will probably want to work in future and wish to gain direct, practical experience. Such activities are very positive on a curriculum vitae when applying for positions.

Type of contract

Research associate

Research associates are employees (occasionally also civil servants) of state and private universities as well as research institutions that are responsible for carrying out scientific activities. They work on research projects and hold educational courses, especially in the university sector, which are also occasionally mandatory. Candidates completing degree courses in scientific subjects are often supported and supervised by research associates when completing so-called internships, which involve working on specific research objektives or in specific research areas.

People working on a PhD often hold positions as research assistants within the scope of completing their doctoral degrees. Research associates generally report to other scientists with higher qualifications, such as professors but also project managers with PhD degrees.

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