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Registering as unemployed - what you should definitely know!

14th May 2024

Becoming unemployed can be one of the most challenging phases in life.

This moment is often associated with uncertainty, worry and a sense of urgency. It is important to be proactive during this time and understand what steps need to be taken to secure financial support and pave the way back into work. This article will provide you with detailed guidance on how to register as unemployed, understand the difference between ‘jobseeker’ and ‘unemployed’ and what documentation you will need. You will also receive tips on how to improve your career opportunities.

Suddenly unemployed: the most important facts in brief

If you find out that you are about to be made redundant or your fixed-term contract is coming to an end, you need to act quickly. Register as a jobseeker immediately and register as unemployed on the first day of your unemployment at the latest. These steps are crucial to avoid financial disadvantages and to be entitled to unemployment benefit. You can register online via the service portal of the Federal Employment Agency, by telephone or in person.

Jobseeker vs. unemployed - what's the difference?

Legally, there is a clear distinction between ‘jobseeker’ and ‘unemployed’. You are classed as a jobseeker if you are still employed or your employment relationship is about to end and you are looking for a new job. On the other hand, you are unemployed if you work less than 15 hours per week and are actively seeking employment subject to compulsory insurance. Registering early as a jobseeker helps you to receive benefits seamlessly as soon as you become unemployed.

Deadlines for registering as unemployed

You should register as a jobseeker as soon as you become aware that you may become unemployed, but no later than three months before your employment relationship is expected to end. If you are unexpectedly made redundant, you must register as a jobseeker within three working days. The actual registration of unemployment must then take place on the first day of unemployment in order to avoid financial disadvantages.

Register as unemployed before the deadline if possible

Although registering as unemployed on the first day of unemployment is sufficient, it can be advantageous to register early. This allows you to secure your entitlement to unemployment benefit in good time and, if necessary, apply for it before the start of unemployment. This can avoid delays in payment.

What documents do I need to register for unemployment?

You will need various documents to register as unemployed:

  • Letter of termination or fixed-term employment contract

  • Identity card or passport with confirmation of registration

  • Social security card

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Proof of previous benefits

These documents will help the employment agency to process your claim quickly and efficiently.

How do I apply for unemployment benefit?

Once you have registered as unemployed, you can apply for unemployment benefit. This is usually done via the Employment Agency's online portal, where you will find all the necessary information and forms. It is also possible to submit the application by telephone or in person. The application should be submitted immediately after registering as unemployed so as not to lose any benefits.

Improve your job and career opportunities

Use the period of unemployment to improve your qualifications. The Federal Employment Agency offers numerous further training and retraining programmes, which are often funded by education vouchers. Such measures can significantly improve your chances on the labour market and lead to faster reintegration.

Checklist for preparing to register for unemployment

Good preparation is crucial to ensure that the process of registering as unemployed goes smoothly. Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready and are aware of the deadlines and procedures. A checklist can help to ensure that you don't overlook any important steps and get everything organised in good time.
Detailed instructions on registering for unemployment

Step 1: Find out about your situation
Before you take any steps, it is important that you fully understand your current situation. Check your employment contract and other relevant documents to determine if and when your employment ends. This will help you determine the right time to make your notifications.

Step 2: Gather the necessary documents
Start collecting all the necessary documents early on. This includes not only your personal documents, but also any evidence of your previous employment and income. This information is crucial for calculating your unemployment benefit.

Step 3: Register online
The easiest way to register as a jobseeker or unemployed is to register online via the Employment Agency portal. Create a user account if you don't already have one and follow the instructions on the website to report your situation.

Step 4: Personal interview at the employment agency
After registering online, it is often necessary to visit the employment agency in person. There you will be assigned to a counsellor who will help you through the rest of the process, review your documents and help you plan your next job search steps.

Step 5: Utilise the resources on offer
The Employment Agency offers a variety of resources that can help you get back to work quickly. These include job placement services, training and career counselling. Take advantage of these offers to expand your skills and improve your chances on the labour market.

Step 6: Stay active in your job search
Even if you are registered as unemployed and possibly receiving unemployment benefits, it is important to actively look for new job opportunities. Keep your CV up to date, apply regularly for suitable jobs and expand your professional network.

The emotional and psychological aspects of unemployment

Reporting unemployment is not just a bureaucratic act, but also an emotional challenge. Many people experience feelings of insecurity, fear and even shame. It is important to recognise these feelings and actively deal with them. Seek support from family and friends or consider seeking professional help, such as counselling from a psychologist. There are also many self-help groups and online forums where people in similar situations can share and support each other. Dealing with this situation in the right way can make the difference between a quick return to work and long-term unemployment. This extended article gives you a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of the period of unemployment and improve your chances on the labour market

Networking and social media

Networking is an effective tool in the job search. Activate your professional network and inform contacts about your situation. New job opportunities often arise from such conversations. Social media such as LinkedIn can play an important role in this. Create a professional profile, take part in discussions in your industry and network with companies and HR experts.

Further training and retraining

The Federal Employment Agency not only offers financial support, but also further training measures that can improve your qualifications and increase your chances on the labour market. Find out about courses that are in demand in your sector or consider retraining (up- and reskilling) in a field that offers good prospects for the future. Many of these training programmes are funded by education vouchers, making them free of charge for jobseekers.

Advantages of using an education voucher

There are many advantages to using an education voucher. It gives unemployed people access to training programmes that they might not be able to attend without financial support. Through further training, participants can expand their professional skills, prepare for new professional fields or improve their chances of obtaining a higher position. In the long term, this can lead to greater job satisfaction and a more stable employment relationship.

Voluntary work

Volunteering can be a valuable addition to your professional career. Not only does it offer the opportunity to learn new skills and hone existing ones, but it also shows potential employers that you are proactive and committed. Volunteering also expands your network and can open unexpected professional doors.
Personal health and well-being
It is also important to look after your physical and mental health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and sufficient sleep can help reduce stress and improve your overall mood. This will have a positive impact on your job search and help you make a strong impression at interviews and networking events.

The digitalisation of the job search

The job search has changed dramatically in recent years. Many companies use automated systems to pre-select applications, so it is important that your CV is adapted accordingly. Use industry-standard keywords and make sure your CV is clear and concise. Use job portals and company careers pages to find out about vacancies and apply directly.

Successful job search on online job platforms

Online job platforms are a powerful tool for job seekers, especially those looking to get out of unemployment. Their broad reach and the ability to search for specific jobs and apply quickly make them an effective tool in the modern job search. Large job boards such as Indeed, Monster or StepStone also offer a variety of additional resources such as career tips, salary information and CV writing support.
With the right strategy, unemployed people can increase their visibility on the labour market and find suitable employment more quickly.
To use online job boards effectively, job seekers should create a complete and meaningful profile. This includes uploading an up-to-date CV and filling in all relevant skills and work experience. It is also advisable to write personalized cover letters tailored to specific job openings to increase employer attention.

The importance of soft skills

In addition to professional qualifications, soft skills are becoming increasingly important. Skills such as communication, teamwork and conflict resolution are important in almost every professional field. Think about how you can emphasize these skills on your CV and in job interviews. Examples from your professional career in which you have successfully utilized these skills can be particularly valuable here.

Dealing with job interviews

Job interviews can be intimidating, especially if you've been out of the workforce for a while. Prepare thoroughly by practicing possible questions and your answers to them. Understand the culture and values of the company you're applying to and consider how your experience and goals align with them. Be honest about your situation and emphasize how you have used the period of unemployment to develop and prepare yourself.

Long-term career planning

Use the period of unemployment to reflect on your long-term career goals. You may discover new areas of interest or decide to make a complete career change. Plan strategically what steps you need to take to achieve these goals and how you can develop your skills and qualifications accordingly.
Unemployment can also be an opportunity to upskill and expand your qualifications. Find out about further training courses, retraining or support programmes offered by the employment agency. Many of these programmes are financially supported and can improve your chances on the labour market.


Unemployment is undoubtedly a challenging time, but with the right attitude and strategies, you can use this phase as an opportunity for personal and professional
development. By being proactive, using all available resources and having a positive attitude, you can minimize the duration of unemployment and maximize your chances of a successful reintegration into the labour market. It is important to understand the differences between jobseeker and unemployed, meet all deadlines and have the necessary documentation ready. Also, take advantage of the counseling and training opportunities on offer to strengthen your position in the labour market. Remain committed and proactive to keep the period of unemployment as short as possible and get back into the labour market quickly. Remember that every situation, including unemployment, offers opportunities for improvement and growth. Use this time to strengthen your skills, expand your network and prepare for your next career move.

How we help you at neue fische

‘neue fische’ offers specialized bootcamps in the areas of web development, data science and UX/UI design, among others, which aim to train participants for the job market in these fast-growing and in-demand technology areas within a short period of time. These bootcamps are intensive and practice-orientated in order to provide participants not only with theoretical knowledge, but also with practical skills that can be applied directly in everyday working life.

Training and skills development

neue fische's bootcamps usually last three months (full-time) or six months (part-time) and are designed to comprehensively prepare participants for a career in the tech industry. Through projects that simulate real work requirements, participants can build a portfolio that they can present to potential employers.

Support through education vouchers

In many cases, it is possible to participate in neue fische bootcamps by using education vouchers issued by the employment agency or job centres. This funding can significantly reduce the financial burden for participants and makes the courses more accessible for people who want to start a new career from unemployment.

Accessibility and flexibility

neue fische also offers remote and on-demand courses that allow people to participate from anywhere and at any time. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for people who are restricted in terms of space or time.
The intensive training combined with job placement assistance and the opportunity to take advantage of funding make neue fische a valuable resource for job seekers looking to pursue a career in the tech industry.

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