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How to get a job in Hungary as a foreigner?

If you are a foreign student studying in Hungary the question of finding a job during or after your studies might come up. This article is a guideline on finding a job here.

For students

Without Hungarian language knowledge your options are usually limited to catering or hospitality in the city centre that focus on tourism such as hotels, hostels, franchise coffeeshops. There is also the option of food delivery with companies. You can also check out multinational companies for an internship in an office that is related to your studies. An internship can be a good choice as it is compulsory part of some university programs, it gives you relevant work experience and also enables you to find a job after your studies with experience already in your CV. Some university faculties even help you find the right workplace by giving you contacts.

For EU citizens

When finishing your studies, if you are EU citizen you can get a job the same way as if you were Hungarian. You only need EU identification document, registered address, health insurance and signed labor contract. Make sure to apply to places where Hungarian language knowledge is not required – where the description is in English you are usually at the right place.

Third country nationals

If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need a work permit after completing your studies in order to secure employment. Additionally, proficiency in a language other than English can be advantageous in obtaining a job. Some workplaces even take care of your work permit in exchange for staying at the company for some time because they are in need of language speaking professionals. For example, you can work in IT Helpdesk even with user level IT skills; in customer service, automotive warranty or insurance. If you are more interested in working in your own profession there are always multinational companies in Budapest which welcome you with English knowledge and professional skills, especially if you already had an internship somewhere. To get a work permit you need a letter of intent or preliminary labor contract, identification document, registered address in Hungary, documents verifying qualifications and travel insurance if your health insurance expired after university. Getting a work permit usually takes around 3 months and is valid for 2 years at the same employer.

Job search sites and job fairs

LinkedIn and Profession are the most popular websites to look for a job in Hungary. On LinkedIn you can make a profile and set your status as ‘Open to work’ so recruiters can offer you jobs through direct messages. They only get your phone number and CV if you send it to them, so no cold calls are to be expected. On Profession you upload your CV so your contact information is available to all recruiters and you can also set your expected salary. Make sure you have a fresh CV uploaded with a professional photo and modern design. Say a few words about all your accomplishments and try to highlight your skills. You can send your resume to companies directly whose profile match your interest.

Jobs fair are personal or online events where the representatives of companies are present so you have a chance to talk with HR and potential colleagues. This is a networking opportunity where you share your CV online with several companies in advance, then you can apply directly to positions during the fair. This can accelerate the job searching process as you can skip screens and get into lots of databases in one day.

Application and interview

You should apply to several places as they all have many applicants and in lots of cases you don’t even get invited to an interview – and you don’t even get a response. Getting a job could take several rounds of interview with different staff of the same company, so it can take weeks or even months to find something that fits you and finds you a good fit. Unfortunately, you don’t always get a feedback if you have not been chosen – after 2 weeks without contact it is usually over.

When going on a job interview

  • make sure you arrive on time, wearing appropriate clothing like a shirt or blouse with trousers or long skirt, tattoos covered and no flip-flops
  • prepare to present your motivation and personality as well as your career skills
  • have some questions about e.g. the company’s vision, the responsibilities, the colleagues – it shows interest
  • make sure to check the office vibe, the people and the environment if you have a personal interview – you are choosing the company not only the company is choosing you
  • in Hungarian law it is forbidden to ask about your private life at a job interview so you can always refuse to share your marital status or whether you have kids
  • if you have an online interview be at an undisturbed place, in front of a white wall or with blurred background, also wear elegant clothing, be punctual and check the technical requirements in advance

In Hungary it is typical not to include the salary in the job description so they ask your expectation at the interview. To understand your situation better, you can check salaries for different positions on the page of HAYS or Bluebird (recruitment agencies) but they tend to put the highest rates up there. Another option is Numbeo website where you can compare living expenses of different countries which can help you determine how much money you would need in Budapest if you can compare with your home country.