If you are finished with school, the way you probably are considering moving to Italy is by finding a job and starting a new life here thanks to a work visa. I’ve met many people who just tell me “Oh I’ll just find a job and move to Italy”, but really it isn’t as simple as sending a few CVs out. You should also be aware, just like everything that finding a job in Italy is a unique experience for everyone. But there are just a few tips and things to consider when looking. So here are some tips for how to find a job in Italy.
My own Job Experience
Before sharing these tips, I want to be very honest about my experience, and how I came up with this list. As I mentioned everyone’s experience is different. I have thrown together a few tips based on my own experience (rejection and acceptance to jobs), the experience of many other ex-pats throughout Italy (with not only US backgrounds), as well as various career coaches made available through my universities in the past.
I graduated with a degree in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management, and a Master’s in Arts Administration and Management from Italy’s top business school. Had many years of experience in communication and social media, and spoke both IT and EN when applying. Other ex-pats I spoke to had even more qualifications, with MBA’s or even 3+ languages.
Overall I couldn’t tell you how many interviews I have done, but I did accept 4 job contracts in Italy, two of which I left for better opportunities, one as it was a short-term contract, and the last one I technically still work for on a freelance basis.
I was unable to successfully get a work visa or permesso, and instead currently have a lavoro autonomo one with my Partita IVA.
As I said, everyone’s situation might be different and so I want to be clear about where I was coming from. But now lets get into a few tips on how to find a job in Italy.
Tips for how to find a job in Italy
Focus on your Languages
Truly if you only speak English and are searching for jobs in Italy, you are going to get some very slim pickings. Yes of course you could “just teach English!” but even there you are at a disadvantage. To get sponsored for a visa, your employer needs to prove no one else in Italy, or even the EU can do that job. And there are many people who can speak English in the EU, so it isn’t necessarily the strongest point.
Also, although a job might require English, and state that work would be done in English. Many of us have found this to rarely be true. You’ll still need Italian to understand what goes on in the office, to connect with colleagues and to impress your boss.
Work on your Italian, make sure to keep your CV handy in IT and EN, and if you speak even more languages, make sure you flaunt them!
Outside of teaching, English skills can be very handy in marketing or consulting jobs, consider looking for companies that operate both in English-speaking countries and Italy. You will also find certain areas might seek extra languages. For example, in Piedmont,it is handy to know French, and the automotive companies are often impressed by Mandarin or Japanese on your CV as well. Towards Trentino and the eastern Alps, it’s especially handy to know German.
Search for jobs outside the busy expat hubs
If you are very seriously in need of a visa, skip looking at Rome, Florence, or Milan. These places have tons of foreigners already living in the city, with the right to work. Instead, you’ll want to look at the places it is rare to find foreigners.
There is much less competition in these areas and your language skills or foreign education will stand out. You don’t even have to look that much further out, just make sure it isn’t in those big cities.
Write your cover letters in formal Italian, even if they are searching for English speakers. But also always follow up with a personal email when possible.
Of course this should be a standard anywhere you are job searching, but I have found it especially effective in Italy. Even jobs that rejected me were kind enough to respond personally explaining their reasons for choosing another candidate and giving me tips for future job applications.
Do your research – get certified
This is an umbrella tip but I mean it for all different careers. At the most common, let’s return to English teaching. Just because you speak English, does not make you qualified to teach, and there are many others in search of a job that is certified.
If instead, you had a career as a physical therapist, osteopath, caretaker, teacher, etc. back in your home country, that does not mean you will be allowed to continue that work in Italy. Double-check what you need to be allowed to work in Italy for a more specialized position
Where to search for a job in Italy?
Word of mouth and connections are always the best. But searching from abroad that can be hard. Most often we use, LinkedIn, Indeed, or directly on the website of your favourite Italian based companies. You can also always keep an eye on international organizations like FAO, WFP, IFAD and more.
Another pro-tip, if you are in it for the long wait, look for businesses that have offices in both Italy and your home country. Start by applying to a job in your home country, and discuss with them the eventual route to take your position overseas!
If you are just desperate wondering how to find a job in Italy, and you start sending applications to everything – you’ll get real burned out real soon.
The truth is you probably want to move to Italy for a new life, in that case, you probably don’t want just any job. I am willing to bet you have some standards you are looking for. Don’t lose site of that! It will not be worth the visa if you end up in a miserable situation.
When you start searching, keep your search to a niche, based on your experience and education, as well as your true interest. This is going to give you a more successful search as well as a more satisfying result if you do find a job.
Moving to Italy is not the best moment to change careers entirely, it’s more “accepted” in Italy that you stick to one thing. Meaning if all your education and background is in Finance, a company offering a job in marketing, or humanities, might not be interested in your CV. [Personal example here: I have always worked in social media marketing and communication, but my education was specific to management of the arts. While they overlapped in some cases, when applying for jobs many would only see the “studied archaeology” and immediately write me off thinking I wouldn’t know what I was doing.]
How to find a job in Italy? Keep your expectations realistic
On the note of staying focused, it is important when searching for a job in Italy, as well as focusing on the goal of moving here via a work visa to keep a realistic perspective.
I mean that in a few ways – first stipends and contracts. You will most likely not be offered the type of stipend or contract you are used to in your home country. In fact, it might be a major blow to the income you are used to. Consider that if you are applying for an entry job, or even maybe a mid level, you will probably be offered a monthly stipend of under 2k a month. In fact entry might start at 1k – 1.2k.
If you are already living in Italy, not in need of a visa, you might also notice how many jobs offered are actually “stage” or “tirocinio”, meaning internships. These are likely unpaid, or paid only 600-800€ per month.
Next- be aware the offerings might be slim in certain sectors, or they may offer lower positions.
Also- even if a company really likes you, they may in the end stop communication when they learn they have to sponsor a visa. It can be an annoying process and some companies may not want, they also might be able to accept a candidate from the EU and avoid it.