Feedback Online Career Day Civil Engineering

Virtual Career Days– A model for the future


“Corona has challenged us. We accepted the challenge and are delighted with the result,” say Dr. Gitta Brüschke and Dirk Bansch, initiators and organisers of the first virtual career days in the construction industry.

On 16 and 17 June 2020, the Career Days organised by the Arbeitskreis Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft e.V. took place exclusively in virtual space for the first time. On both days, representatives* of eleven companies and over 120 students from the construction industry met in a virtual room for 15-minute discussions. The students had the opportunity to get to know interesting employers and to learn more about the companies without obligation. “I learned a lot. Otherwise, I don’t have the opportunity to ask such questions about my future,” said one student. 

However, the students were also able to apply for a student research project in practice, internships, a part-time job or a permanent position. At the same time, the companies presented themselves and were able to gain a first impression of potential employees*. Although most felt the brevity of the planned duration of the interviews was “sporty”, the participating companies and students agreed in retrospect that “the time span for a first interview is completely sufficient and one gets a good impression of whether an application is worthwhile.

The students had already been given numerous tips for preparing for the interviews in advance. These included examples of questions that can be asked of companies and advice on what to look out for in an online interview. The students’ feedback was extremely positive despite the one or other technical challenge. “The explanatory videos explained everything so clearly that no questions remained unanswered. Even without the videos, everything was clear and easy to understand,” was the feedback from one participant*.

The companies would also like to see this form of event in the future, because for them “the addition of the digital event is very helpful”. One of the participating company representatives* can even well imagine “that this (digital event) will also be well used when the usual events can take place again.

Salary Negotiations

Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations: 3 experts* and their most valuable tips

There should be people who enjoy negotiating starting salary or a pay rise. However, most people get sweaty just thinking about it. To make sure you belong to the first group in the future, we have interviewed three negotiation experts* and compiled their most important tips for you..

Claudia Kimich is a negotiation expert from Munich and has been helping her clients to earn more money for over 15 years. Her motto: “More is always possible. Even in times of crisis.”





Which brings us to her first tip.

Tip 1: Those who doubt have lost.

If you enter the salary negotiations with the firm conviction that it will work, you will act accordingly. Your counterpart will recognise from your language that you really believe that it will work. Therefore tip 2.

Tip 2: Conjunctives have no place in salary negotiations

“I could …”, “I would …” are statements that raise doubts in the other person and reveal your own doubts. Better: “I can …” or “I will….”. This is not always easy and needs a lot of practice. How? See tip 3, and remember: “Dignity” is anchored in the German constitution and has no place in salary negotiations in the form of the subjunctive.

Tip 3: Work on your self-esteem

Having a good self-esteem is the basic prerequisite for successful salary negotiations. The best prerequisite is to know what you can do, what you are worth and why you feel like you are in a salary negotiation. This is not something you can just do on the side. To work on your self-esteem, you need time. It’s best to start right away:

Yourself: What are you particularly good at? Can you name five points at once? Without using a subjunctive. No? Then go ahead! Sit down and think. Of course, it is always a good idea to tailor the points to the company you are negotiating the salary with. Work out the benefits that YOU bring to the company or your manager.

Value: What are your values? But also what value do you have expressed in money. Where is your pain threshold in salary? How much compensation for pain and suffering must the company pay. For activities that you actually did not want to do. Above all, think about what salary is good for you and which one will have you hanging under the chandelier for three days screaming. Between these two values you will get in.

Feeling: Most of us have a grumbling in our stomach when it comes to salary negotiations. Have you ever thought about why YOU have this grumbling? Get to the bottom of the mumbling. When do you react how? Is it the seniority of your counterpart? Is it the “old white man”? Only when you know the reason, you can dissolve it and negotiate freely.

You can find more tips from Claudia Kimich on her website and on YouTube.


Susanne Westphal is a coach from near Munich and has successfully helped many a coachee to a higher salary. She is also the author of several successful books. In her latest “Die Überzeugungstäterin” (The persuader), one of the main topics is how to negotiate with confidence.



Her most important tip in advance: Negotiate in general! Once a year. If you don’t negotiate, you’re sure to get nothing!

Tip 1: Well prepared is half the battle

Even if I don’t mention it in conversation, it is good to know how much my colleagues earn, what size is usual and possible in the company and how much I would get in another (comparable) company. I also make a note of all the successes since the last salary negotiation: What have I brought to the company? What additional benefits have I provided?

Tip 2: If you talk too much, you have lost

Better: ask questions! “How satisfied were you with my performance in project XYZ?” “What did your boss say about our team achieving this? With this I agree with my counterpart and force my manager to praise me. (If she does not praise me, it is not a good moment for a salary negotiation!)

Tip 3: There is no such thing as a “no”, at most a “not today”.

So we need at least one more meeting! But of course we would rather have a successful negotiation.

Please also read Susanne Westphal’s blog on her website


Martin Wehrle, who lives near Hamburg, is a journalist and one of Germany’s best-known career counsellors. He has already written several bestselling books about the mirror. Among them is “Secret Tricks for a Higher Salary”. On his website he has published the ABCs of Salary Increase, from which we take the most important punk

(Photo: A. Seeger (copyright free).


Tip 1: The starting salary must be right

Even if you are desperately looking for a job, your salary claim must not smell of “sell-out”. Otherwise the new boss will conclude from the low price that your labour is not in demand on the market. A salary demand in the upper third of the salary scale signals that you are a sought-after top executive.

You can find information on how your salary demand should be, for example, at (LINK:

Tip 2: The ideal situation for tufts

Your company will double its turnover in the current year, thanks to a major customer you have brought on board. Your industry is booming faster than the Green Cards are printed. And now your boss has also been voted “Entrepreneur*of the Year”.

Check all the above factors: Have you achieved top performances? How is your company and your industry doing. And: What is the mood of the boss?

Tip 3: You should never start a conversation without goals

It is tactically skilful in the salary interview if you present your three most important arguments in this order: first the second best (the boss becomes aware). Then the third best (the boss holds out, weighs in as the winner). And then, when it comes to the salary sausage: your top argument (the scales tip in your favour).

Further tips can also be found on Martin Wehrle’s YouTube channel (LINK: )

Now YOU are in demand! Which manslaughter arguments do you not know the answer to?

“If you get more, it’ll blow up the departmental structure.”

“Classification is by tariff/benefit levels/ salary bands. Upgrading is not possible.”

“Nobody gets a pay rise.”

“There is no budget this year.”

“Nobody else will get this salary in your position.”

“I’m afraid that’s all I can do.”

Are you afraid of manslaughter arguments in the salary negotiations? What arguments don’t you have answers to? Write to us. We will throw these arguments at our salary negotiation experts* and learn from their answers. Let us surprise and inspire you.

 Nicole Beste-Fopma

© Arbeitskreis Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft e.V. 2020