Jobs in Krakow: An Insider’s Guide

With visitors to Krakow regularly falling in love with both the place and its inhabitants, there is inevitably a steady stream of foreigners taking the plunge and relocating to the city. Swiftly on the heels of this decision, comes the sudden realisation that it’s time to sort out new digs, a new language, and, most importantly – a new job. The Krakow Post has spoken extensively to employers and employees in the city to find out their top tips for landing that ideal job in Krakow.

Don’t just email your CV and cross your fingers

How often have employees in Krakow received the email (with beautifully crafted CV attached) from the job-seeker who is waiting in the UK for the perfect employment opportunity before relocating to Krakow? If you’re serious, get on the plane / train and get to the city and make yourself available for interview. It shows you are totally committed to the move. if an employer is interested in your CV, chances are he or she will want to see you immediately, not when the next cheap flight on Ryanair coincides with Bank Holiday time off from your current employment.

It’s competitive out here

That First Class Degree in Art History may have made you all the rage at Bristol, but it’s not going to cut much ice in Poland. Just remember that the local Jagiellonian University is not only much older (and almost certainly much more prestigious) than your own Alma Mater, but is producing a steady stream of students who have studied longer and are probably better qualified than you. And they speak Polish. Basically – you are entering one tough employment market. Be modest about your chances, especially at the beginning.

Be realistic about salary

Do your research about salary range before applying. That 50K pound job in marketing you’re leaving behind – well let’s just say you’re not going to walk into a 20,000 zloty per month equivalent. Typical local salaries can range from 2000 PLN per month (that’s about 400 pounds) to around 5000 PLN per month (about 1000 pounds). Expect to be offered something in the same range for non-specialist work.

Learn the language

It’s tough, and you will almost certainly never be fluent, but at least make a real effort, even before you get to Poland. Simple greetings, thank yous and so on go a long way. You’ll be working with Polish co-workers. You need to know how to ask if they’d like a coffee – or a beer. That’s why you’re here after all, surely? Showing that you have started learning the language prior to arrival will also convince potential employees that you plan to be here for the longer term.

Take several part-time jobs

Making ends meet at first may be hard. Don’t hold out for the perfect job, but take what you can. Perhaps some translation work, teaching English, even working online from home. One thing will lead to another, and the job you really want and deserve will eventually appear.

Teach English

It’s the one big advantage you have – use it! If you can, take a TEFL course in advance. This will give you an immediate advantage (and better salary) than others, though even without the qualification, there are a lot of language schools needing native English speakers. It may not be your job for ever, but it’s often the simplest start you can get.

Hang out with locals rather than expats

It’s tempting to stick to the Irish bars, watch the Premiership on Sky and generally live the life of the expat – but this is going to limit your potential contacts, and your chances for finding decent employment. As best you can, get involved in the community. Krakow has plenty of interest groups, from web start-up communities to sports associations. Join as many as you can and network – you may be surprised how often jobs come via word of mouth.

Use the internet

Hurrah – finally, an excuse to spend more time on Facebook! Check out Krakow-based businesses online – many of them flag up job opportunities via their Facebook pages. Subscribe to relevant businesses’ pages and keep abreast of employment vacancies. Perhaps a multinational is moving to the city and seeking native English speakers? You’ll find that information somewhere online – with a bit of searching. The flip side is to make sure your own Facebook page presents you in a good light. Employers regularly check these out before hiring. And don’t forget to also check out job sites specific to Poland such as praca.pl or infopraca.pl

9 thoughts on “Jobs in Krakow: An Insider’s Guide

  • Avatar
    October 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm
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    Interesting article as we have been coming to the city for 6 years and have discussed moving to Krakow many times. However we have family and business committments in the UK for the time being.

    Saying that it has not changed our point of view and what I would be interested in is any articles/comments on starting and running a small enterprise in Krakow. I often read publications saying the employment law, red tape and taxes are a big problem. Other publications say Poland generally and Krakow is the best place in the EU to start a business. I often see the smallest of retail, coffer shops, mobile communcation shops, etc businesses and they seem to survive pretty well. Plus the shop variation is very wide (unlike the UK high street).

    Any comments welcome.

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    • Avatar
      November 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm
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      A clarification on the English teaching thing. Just because one can speak the language does not mean one can teach it. Also there are many more qualified (certified and experienced) teachers in Krakow than students so anyone coming here assuming they can just teach English may be in for a rude awakening, especially in the Rynek area. Teaching salaries are also notoriously low with few benefits. It’s not for everyone that is for sure. You can meet the most amazing people (students) doing it but be aware it’s not like it was five to ten years ago when any native speaker could get a teaching job just by walking into a school.

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  • Avatar
    December 5, 2012 at 9:51 am
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    I moved to Krakow from UK at the start of last year and the tourist-friendly English speaking people you meet as a visitor vanish when dealing with utility and government departments. Yes, definitely learn the language but also have someone to help you when it comes to the more complicated discussions.

    There are plenty of companies who have off-shored to Krakow so good place to start there looking as Polish is not always required.

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  • Avatar
    December 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm
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    Thanks John. An interesting insight. If you dont mind me asking what sort of work are you involved with?

    I started a Polish language course at a local university in Lancashire. It was awful and the course colapsed when everyone started complaining. Since then I have picked it up as and when I can. However it never seems to evolve beyond hello, good bye, two beers, a black cofee please, etc. The reason: the minute I try Polish the locals answer me in English. I even had a security guard in a local shop in Krakow stop me and asked if he could practice his english on me. Hence my polish lessons are still stuggling after 6 years. We are over again for the new year celebrations so will just keep trying.

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    • Avatar
      December 22, 2012 at 2:40 am
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      Find senior citizens to talk to, many older people do not know any English. I found this article and the comments very interesting. I grew up in Poland and English is my second language, and I think that Polish must be extremely difficult to learn by native English speakers. But don’t get discouraged, it’s so cool that people from UK are considering moving to Poland.

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  • Avatar
    March 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm
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    I started speaking trying to use less English since the day 1. Now I can cover basics without English at all. But hey, I’m native Ukrainian so Polish is fairly easy to learn for me.

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    March 14, 2013 at 5:07 am
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    Interesting article indeed. Does anybody know if there are jobs for accountants in Krakow? Some recruiting agency perhaps? I am an ACCA from Cyprus and speak Greek and English fluently. Fell in love with Krakow just like so many other people and would love to move there.

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  • Avatar
    June 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm
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    Nice article, I have recently come back from a two week holiday visiting a friend. I found Krakow so beautiful, everyone was so friendly and nice. I want to move there but I am not specialized in any kind of career path. I am going to Krakow again this Sept for a few weeks. I am hoping to find a job whilst I am out there. I have kind of fallen for my friends sister which is another reason I want to move out there. I have never lived any where other than my Home town in Hertfordshire, UK. So this would be a massive change for me. Hopefuly a good one though :D

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  • Avatar
    August 5, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    Hurrah – finally, an excuse to spend more time on Facebook! Check out Krakow-based businesses online – many of them flag up job opportunities via their Facebook pages. Subscribe to relevant businesses’ pages and keep abreast of employment vacancies. Perhaps a multinational is moving to the city and seeking native English speakers?

    Reply

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