How to prepare yourself for the job search

Looking for a job is difficult and takes time. You may not immediately find the job you were doing in your home country or you may find temporary jobs lasting a few months. If you know Italian you will have more possibilities. Find out what are the important things to consider when starting to look for a job.

The job search is a challenging experience for everyone, and sometimes even discouraging. It certainly can be more difficult for a foreign person living in a country where the culture and habits differ from those of their country of origin.
Italian immigration law establishes many rules for job seekers, and you may even meet people who do not want to hire foreigners.
Also, looking for a job takes much time. For each job offer there are many candidates applying and it is not easy to be selected, even for those jobs where specific experience or knowledge is not required.

With this article, however, we want to give you some information that can help you search better for jobs.

The two main things you need to remember when you start looking for a job in Italy are mainly these two:

  • The knowledge of the Italian language is very important. You will need to know Italian to write your CV, during the interview and to understand job posts well. You need to be able to speak, in order to introduce yourself and answer any questions you will be asked.
    If you want to practice, in order to improve your Italian, you can take courses at facilities that offer free Italian courses or sign up for online programs. Read more about how to learn Italian on this page.
  • The professional skills you had in your home country might not always go well in Italy or might not automatically be recognized. To adapt to the job market here, you may need to take training courses or take up jobs other than the ones you did before or the one you studied for. It can be difficult and you could sometimes feel sad and angry about it, but always remember that this happens often when moving and living in a new country.

To apply to a job offer it is very important to show a good resume and a good cover letter. If the documents are well prepared you may be called in for an interview. In order to help you prepare better these documents, as well as to deal with all the steps of the job search in the best way, we have collected some tips that will be useful to you.


Think about the skills you have acquired in your daily life. Think about something you can do very well, for example:

  • Taking care of the house, doing housework and cooking;
  • Taking care of the children and help them with their homework;
  • You are good at saving when you shop for your family;
  • You have a lot of patience when you work with older people and you take care of their health and their daily needs;
  • You like to repair electric appliances or cars;
  • Or you like to take care of the garden or vegetable garden.

As you can see from these examples, everyday skills can also be about very simple tasks. Make a list of all the skills you can add to your resume as they may be of interest to your future employer.

Sometimes, skills are divided into Soft Skills and Hard Skills. It may seem difficult, but there is a way to tell the difference.
Soft Skills are related to your personality and behavior. For example, you are a sociable person who knows how to adapt to a new work environment, you like to work in a team or you are very precise and punctual.
Hard Skills are the skills you have developed during your studies, training courses or work experience. For example, knowing how to use a forklift or a sewing machine are acquired skills. Knowing a language or knowing how to use computer programs well are also technical skills.

List all the studies and professional training courses you have done, both in Italy and in other countries. Also think about some of the skills you have improved or acquired during a previous work experience.
For example, in a previous job you may have learned to use certain tools and machines that require specific training, such as using a forklift truck to sort goods in large warehouses.

Remember that often in Italy to be able to work you must have obtained the licenza media, the middle school diploma.

If you need to request recognition of your qualification, remember that the procedure takes some time and you might want to start it soon.

You could start by making a list of your work experiences, writing for example:

  • City or municipality where you lived and / or worked;
  • The name of the company or family where you worked;
  • The type of work you have done, even work for privates, or homes;
  • Your duties;
  • Beginning and end of the working period.

This way the information you need to respond to various job posts will always be available to you.

Consider whether you need a full-time job (about 40 hours a week) or part-time (20 or 30 hours) or only for a few days.
You should also decide if you are available to relocate to other cities or want to stay where you already live. This way you can do research that best suits your needs.

To have a regular employment contract, you must have a residence permit which proves that you can legally stay in Italy.
You could be asked about your documents already during the job interview and it’s important to be ready.

To work legally you must have:

  • A valid residence permit;
  • In the case of an expired permit, it is necessary to have the receipt of the renewal which shows that the permit renewal application is about to be examined.

Attention: if you are an asylum seeker you can work legally in Italy even if you have not yet obtained refugee status. The only condition to be respected is that at least two months have passed since your asylum request.
Also remember that while you wait for the decision to your asylum application, you cannot change your asylum residence permit to a work residence permit.

When looking for a job, references are often required. References are opinions about the worker and his work in the past. For a new employer it is a tool to get to know better the people who are looking to work.

Think about who might be available for your references, for example:

  • Your previous employers;
  • People you have worked with in the past;
  • People you have met in your job, such as clients or family members you have worked for .

Learn how to submit references for your application.

Get in touch with people you already know and make sure they know you are looking for a job, as they may find out about new job opportunities. Often it is through word of mouth that job offers are found.

Also remember that there are many voluntary associations that have branches to help people find jobs. Try to find out if any of these organizations are also in your city. You can ask your contacts or search on the internet by writing the name of the city + associazione + sportello lavoro.

To look for a job it is also necessary to have an e-mail address that your contacts can use to send you new job offers.
The e-mail address is also important for registering with the job center in employment agencies, or if you need to search for or respond to online job posts.
Opening an email address is fast and free and is also useful for receiving various administrative communications about your life in Italy.

Employment centers are public offices that offer free services to all citizens, including foreigners, who are looking for a job. The offices are present almost throughout all the Italian territory.
In this page you can read all the instructions for registering to an employment center and an explanation of what they do

Below you will find the link of some associations that have a Sportello Lavoro and that can help you.

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