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Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Italy

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: April 2015

Finding a Job

Currently there are not a great many opportunities for work in Italy, so finding work may take some time. As there are plenty of online job portals, you can start your job search before you leave your home country. They also enable you to filter your search according to job function, industry, salary and location, or search for keywords. Some of the most popular Italian job portals are:

Note that all these sites are in Italian. In most areas of employment, to give yourself the best chance of finding work, a good level of Italian is nigh on essential.

You can also look for work by registering with the European Job Mobility Portal, EURES. Many daily newspapers also publish job advertisements, both in their print issues and online. Some of the most widely read Italian newspapers are:

Another good option for jobseekers in Italy is to register with Government’s official website, Clic Lavoro. In addition, you can go to centri per l'impiego, local job centres.

In Italy, most recruitment agencies (lavori ad interim) can only place you in temporary positions. This, of course, may be what you are looking for when you first arrive in the country. If possible, before committing yourself, you should check that the agency is accredited and look at some online reviews. There are also executive agencies (ricerca personale) though these do not always have much work available.

Once you have arrived in Italy, you can also look in newspapers and browse notice boards in shops. In addition, networking is exceedingly important in Italy and is easier to do when you are in situ. It may take time to establish connections, but if you do have any, you should not hesitate to make use of them. Lastly, keep an eye out for career fairs and exhibitions, and look at ‘Vacancies’ sections on the websites of organisations that interest you. Speculative applications can also pay dividends in Italy. For more information on job prospects in Italy, see Work Culture and Labour Market.


CVs

As your curriculum vitae or CV (originally from Latin, these are also used in Italian) is an introduction to a potential employer, it is essential to make it strong, highlighting your academic qualifications and professional experience. If the advertisement for the job in question was in English, you can write the CV in English, otherwise it should be in Italian. You should also translate your qualification certificates.

The CV should be reasonably concise at no more than two pages. must be well structured. You should first list your personal details: your name, date and place of birth and marital status and contact details. The first section of the main body should be Employment History; this  can be followed by Education and Training, IT Skills, Language Skills (including Italian, naturally), Voluntary Work and Scholarships as required. Interests or Hobbies need not be mentioned.

Note that the Italians regard relevant qualifications as more important than work experience. Arrange education and employment history sections in reverse chronological order, accounting for any gaps. When listing your academic qualifications, include dates attended, the name of the educational institution, study programme, degree obtained and your study subject. Employment History should include start and end dates, job title and name of the organisation you worked for. Include brief details of primary responsibilities in your recent jobs.

In all correspondence with your prospective employer, check that your spelling and grammar are correct, avoid using informal language and explain any abbreviations used. You should not attach a photo, though references can be included. There is additional information on writing CVs in Italy on The Local site.

 

Cover Letters

Some employers require a cover letter with job applications. This should be brief at half to one A4 page long, and written in a highly formal style. The letter should explain why you want the position and highlight what you will bring to that particular role. When writing cover letters, pay attention to the requirements mentioned in the job advertisement and demonstrate how you fulfil them. Including a recommendation from a well-known or reputable person will impress the employer. It may take be some time until you get a response; how long exactly might be worth checking.

 

Interviews

When preparing for a job interview, it is crucial to show that you understand how the organisation operates, what its objectives are and how you could contribute to its success. Interviews in Italy vary, though there are some similarities. Terms of address are habitually formal (i.e. you should use lei for ‘you’ rather than the over-familiar tu) though the actual content of the interview tends to be quite informal. There is an emphasis on finding rapport with the interviewee, who is expected to be enthusiastic and personable.

There may be up to three or four interviews plus psychometric testing; the entire process can take more than a month. Though most interviews take place in person, in recent years, telephone and online video interviews have become common, especially when the candidate is abroad at the time of interview.

Many interviews start with “Tell me about yourself”, after which they expect you to give a brief summary of your background and current situation. The questions that follow will test how your skills match the interviewers’ requirements. This gives you the opportunity to show your motivation and argue why you are a good candidate for the position. It is important to emphasise personal reasons over professional ones. Be aware that some interviewers ask cunning questions that probe your ability to think on the spot. Finally, they will ask if you have any questions about your potential future role.

Some Italy-based international companies and large domestic companies use assessment centres for recruiting purposes. These assessments last a day or two and include tasks that test your suitability for the position, such as presentations, group activities and written tests. For more information on interviewing techniques and sample interview questions, see the Going Global site.

 

Etiquette

When attending a job interview, remember that punctuality is vital. It is better to arrive a few minutes early than keep your potential employer waiting. Another important rule is to dress appropriately. Smart, stylish dress is a must – this is Italy after all! Women should avoid using eye-catching jewellery or heavy make-up. Throughout the interview, make sure to sit up straight and make appropriate eye contact with the interviewers. Show that you are professional and do not forget that a smile can take you a long way!

Once you have successfully obtained a job, you may be eligible for a work permit. For more information on how to apply for work permits, see Expats Working in the Immigration section.

 

 

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