Life in Italy

Practical steps for landing a job in Italy (for foreigners) that actually work

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Become a PRO at landing a job in Italy!

Finding work can be difficult in your own country, but landing a job in Italy might sound like mission impossible.

To show you that it is doable, I have decided to share all the steps I have done before I have found my current marketing job.

I have to say that my search lasted for a while, because when I moved to Italy I still had my Croatian business running, so I didn’t start looking for job immediately. However, once I decided to test work market, this is what I did.

landing a job in Italy

1. Get your documents straight

Landing a job in Italy
Carta di identità

If you don’t want to risk penalties for working in black market or deportation from the country, I would suggest doing all the legal steps.

Landing a job in Italy and work legally is the only right thing to do. There are several ways for getting the docs.

EU citizens have it easy.

We only need to obtain Codice Fiscale (Social security number) and Carta di identità (ID card). Process is simple and it can be done within 1 week. Once you have it, your employer can employ you.

CODICE FISCALE (SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER) is obtained in Agenzia delle Entrate (Income Agency). Since I live in province of Bergamo, I went to agency in the city center.

Once I arrived they gave me waiting number and the form which I needed to fill. 20 min later I was called in for a quick chat with government official.

I had with me a copy of my passport and my Croatian ID card. I was only asked my new residence address.

My social security number was ready within 5 minutes and it’s free of charge. 

CARTA DI IDENTITA’ (ID CARD) is issued in your local municipality office (Comune).

  • Bring 2 photos,
  • Your new codice fiscale
  • A rent contract
  • And 5 euros

If you are staying with someone (I live with my boyfriend) then they will fill document stating that you live there.

ID card was done in 1 week and I had to pick it up in municipality.

Non EU citizens have a different rout in getting the documents.

There are 4 scenarios in which non EU citizens can get the valid visas and then work permits:

  • Student visa: it has the same validity as the course that is to be followed in Italy.
  • Family reunion visa: valid for one year after its release
  • Visa for a subordinate job (indefinite, determined, seasonal): In order to establish a subordinate employment relationship with a non-EU citizen, the employer (Italian or foreign legally residing in Italy) must file a nominee’s request for employment with the local authorities where the work activities will engage.
  • Visa for self-employed work: may be required to carry out in Italy non-occasional self-employed, industrial, professional, craft or commercial activity.

The duration of the residence permit is that required by the entry visa and can not exceed:

(A) Three months for visits, business and tourism;
(B) Nine months for seasonal work;
(C) One year, for the duration of a course of study or professional training certified; There is an annual renewal for multi-year courses;
(D) Two years, for self-employment, for indefinite employment and for family reunification;
(E) Duration related to the specifically documented needs and the others provided for in the Single Immigration Act.

Work permits for longer periods

The residence permit for study / training purposes may be converted into a residence permit for subordinate or self-employed work if the requirements for this type are met.

  • The residence permit for seasonal work can be converted into a residence permit for indefinite or contracted employment of at least one year when:The foreigner has entered Italy for seasonal work for the second consecutive year and is in possession of a valid residence permit;
  • The foreigner has entered Italy for seasonal employment and, at the end of the first seasonal work permit, is in possession of a valid residence permit.

Once you have your documents in place you can officially start applying for jobs.

There are several ways to landing a job in Italy and I will show you all the things I have done.

2. Translate your CV and your motivational letter in Italian

Landing a job in Italy - curriculum
Your curriculum in Italian is a MUST

You can be a super star employee and someone every company desires, BUT if your CV is not translated in Italian you will have a hard time proving it.

Make sure you have a professionally translated curriculum, as you want to leave a best possible first impression.

At the beginning I was sending my CV in English and surprisingly I wouldn’t get any feedback. It was confusing as my experiences were a perfect match for an advertised position.

I assumed that because company has head office in US that Italian employees would speak English and that my curriculum would be welcome. Sadly that was not the reality.

Landing a job in Italy is very likely, if you have very specific expertise or if you do all the things I will advise you.

3. Employment Agencies as a first step

A quick jump to test how your curriculum will do on Italian market is contacting the employment agencies.

Landing a job in Italy - agency interview
Interview with agency employees

You have two options:

A) Visiting personally agencies, with or without an appointment.

I have done both, I walked in Adecco and found helpful girl working there, who took the time to listen to me and has looked over my CV.

With AXL I have made an appointment and the girl working there didn’t speak any English, so I gave her brief overview of my CV and had to send an Italian version later on.

I would say that even though I felt uncomfortable going to agencies, the impact was visible immediately. They each called me later offering admin jobs, which I refused. I had my mind set upon creative jobs.

B) Sending your curriculum via email or applying on agency sites for jobs.

In Italy there is a bunch of employment agencies, however the big part is situated in big cities like Milan and Rome, so if you have chosen to live in smaller city you will have less choice.

4. Applying for jobs online through vacancies boards

There are several sites that work only with online job announcements. These sites are open to job openings from companies or agencies.

Sites I have used in my job search are Kijiji, Monster and Indeed. Also Linkedin has job board, which you might search through.

I would insert the job title, such as marketing manager or fashion buyer (written in English) and then would select Bergamo. The jobs in my interest zone would pop up instantly.

I have to mention that when applied for jobs posted by agencies I didn’t get a single feedback, but when I applied to companies directly, I got called in for interviews.

Thats how I found my job.

I also saw job boards in my local gym. Watch out for them as you stroll through the city.

5. Start Networking – become known among people

Landing a job in Italy - networking
Landing a job in Italy through networking

As you can imagine a networking is like a open interview. You hang out with people, have fun, socialize and build relationships. New relationships means new circles.

If you have left good impression, you might be lucky and hear for an upcoming open position or even better – get recommend you for an interview.

I have done networking online and offline. Both have its advantages.

I have received invitations for interview because of my posts and comments on Linkedin. I have made myself visible in the mass and people working in that industry became curious in hearing more.

You can contact HR people directly on Linkedin.

Check Business networks:

  • Linkedin (people all over the world use it)
  • Xing (where you can meet a lot of German speaking companies and people – popular lately in northern Italy)

Or Expats network:

In Milan there are very active and they organize weekly events, fun, tours, food, theatre. They have members in all industries, so you might find someone who already works at your dream company.

You just need to sign up to their newsletter and show up when they organize events. You can register as a basic member or you can become paid one and that will give you some advantages on upcoming events.

6. Contact the companies you would like to work for

Don’t ever underestimate the power of flattery. Even in the business world people like to be told that they are your favorite company and that you dream in furthering your career there.

Landing a job in Italy
Landing a job in Italy in your dream company

What I did is I made a list of all companies where I would like to work. I started from my recent experience as fashion buyer and then I enlarged it to a marketing expert.

I looked for local and international companies. Places where my knowledge of English, Croatian and German would be an advantage.

Once I have made a thorough research of potential companies I started checking if they had open positions and if they didn’t I would send my spontaneous application.

Lets say that you a passionate engineer and you always admired their vehicles, write them an email. Yes, you might not be the only one that does it, but nobody can copy your originality or your past experience. You have nothing to loose by trying.

If you are brave enough (I wasn’t) knock on their door and present your self. What you have to loose. They might like your guts.

7. Make a list of your talents (conventional and un conventional ones)

For landing a job in Italy you need to be well prepared. Make a list of your talents and experiences that make you unique and different from other candidates.

Imagine that in your work place they are looking for someone brave enough to try out new ways of working, or someone that is ready to try crazy things during team building times.

Would you be the one sharing that during your college, you were working as an animator and was a fire spitter?

Do you speak many languages? In Italy its very rare to find locals with great English knowledge and that can be your advantage.

Landing a job in Italy - fire spitter
Fire spitter

8. Start learning Italian upfront

In order to get better or equal chances as locals, you need at least basic knowledge of Italian.

Your English or German (or any other language) might be perfect, but if you have no knowledge of Italian your chances are slim.

In almost 3 years I have been living in Bergamo I’ve met maybe 5 people that spoke English fluently. Even the owners of big and successful companies didn’t speak it, or were at a very basic level.

As your interview will most likely be in Italian, you need to be able to express yourself and understand the questions. If your pronunciation is not perfect, don’t worry, it’s something you can work on later.

Landing a job in Italy might sound like a scary thing right now, but you can do it. I did it. Trust me, you can too!

Have you tried a job hunt in Italy already? Let me know if you have any questions please do let me know and stay tuned for updates and new advice’s.

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Good luck with your search!

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