7 Tips on how to find work in Italy as a foreigner

How to Find a work job in Italy

So, before I tell you about how to find work in Italy as a foreigner, I should explain my experience first. I found my first job in Italy months before my graduation. I started part-time when I was a student, and became a full-time employee after my graduation. Not to forget, I also did an internship in Milan during my studies. So I can confidently say that I have experience in different types of works in Italy. Here I will explain the process and my 7 tips so that others don’t have to go through the same trouble I have gone through.

Finding a job in 2021 is hard. Finding a job in Italy as a foreigner is harder. But nothing good in life is gained easily. And I always believe: The harder it is, the more it is worth doing! So, with that bit of motivation in mind, let me tell you some tips and tricks.

1. Get your documents in order so you can work as a foreigner

This part is for Non-EU citizens like myself. Whatever stay permit or visa you have in Italy (or that you don’t) find out if and how long you can work in Italy before looking for a job. It would be awful when you find a job and realize that you can’t start working because of some missing papers. Some types:

Permesso di Soggiorno per Studio (Student stay permit)

It is the stay permit when you get in to Italy for studying purposes. With permesso di soggiorno per studio You are allowed to work 20 hours a week (source and required documents). It is given yearly until you graduate. Once you graduate you can get a job search permit.

Are you still a student? Check out my 7 tips on how to find an internship in Italy as a foreigner.

Permesso di Soggiorno per Attessa Occupazione (Job search permit)

The permesso di soggiorno per attessa occupazione a.k.a job search permit is given to the people who: graduated from a university in Italy, or had a job and have resigned/fired. You are allowed to work full time until the end of the permit. Remember that you can’t renew this permesso, it is given only to find a job, and you should convert it to Permesso di Lavoro (work permit) once you find a job.

(And before you ask yes, also ricevuta is fine for both of these permits. source)

If you have no documents and/or you are not in Italy

You have to find a job before you apply for the visa, so it is a bit more complicated. I suggest working with a travel agency for the visa, as I have no experience with it.

If you have Permesso di Soggiorno per Lavoro Subordinato (Employee work & stay permit)

Well, to get it you already need a job. So if you have this you don’t have any problem with the work… skip to the next section.

2. Update your resume AND LinkedIn

Tailor your CV according to the job you would like to find. If you have several different positions in mind, make different CVs highlighting the related work experience & education. Don’t send the same CV to different positions, you’ll just reduce your chances. And yes I know some countries prefer resumes without a photo, but for Italy, it is suggested to put a photo in your CV.

This should go without saying but I suggest not to make your CV more than a page. Create a LinkedIn* profile and put ALL the info in your there, but not on your CV. (Connect with me on LinkedIn here, you never know, it might help you find a job). Be brief and on point. That is another reason why I suggest having several different versions ready to send.

I know some people are like “I already have a CV, why would I need a LinkedIn profile?” and I will just respond “Because it is 2021, not 2005.” Should be enough. I hope. Anyway, let’s move to the most important part!

How to find work in Italy
Here is a bit of motivation to find work in Italy

*I used LinkedIn the most, and I found my job through LinkedIn, but there are other platforms you can use such as Indeed, Glassdoor, InfoJobs.it etc.

3. APPLY A LOT OF JOBS. AND I MEAN A LOT.

Pick a number that you think is “A lot of job applications” and then triple it. Make that many applications EVERY MONTH. I did 300-400 job applications in a month before I found a job. I would increase the number rapidly if I didn’t find it in a month. I know some foreigners looking for a job in Italy who made more than 2k applications before finding a job.

A common excuse people make is “There aren’t that many jobs in my field”. As I said this is just an excuse because nobody actually knows how many are there. If you are a white-collar (like me) there are always more job postings than you can apply for. Hundreds of new positions are opening in Italy every single day, even during the pandemic. Just don’t be lazy to click some buttons!!

3.1 Keep track of your job applications

It is easy to forget some applications and/or confuse them with other companies when you apply a lot. So have a file where you keep notes about each job application. Some human resources just call you out of nowhere without any notification and ask you questions. So it would be nice to keep a file where you have all your applications listed.

I was lucky to find a job in a month, but be prepared to search for a job for a couple of months. I have a friend who found a really good job 6 months after graduation. This brings us to my next tip.

4. Be patient and keep your motivation up!

I’m sorry to tell you but you will get rejected. I repeat you will get A LOT OF REJECTIONS. Let that sink in, but don’t sink yourself with it. It is OK. They don’t know you. They are not rejecting you as a person. It is just a PDF they see and reject. And I’ll tell you a secret, they don’t read half of it anyway. Recruiters look at resumes for 7.4 seconds on average. So, just ignore the rejections.

Some of them will do worse than rejecting you, they’ll ghost you. Yes -like that date you thought was a perfect match…- they’ll just go radio silent ignoring the time you put in to contact them. Don’t wait for a response. You’d just lose your own time. Keep going on doing more applications.

This might be a long process. And it doesn’t just depend on you. There are so many other variables such as economy, market, the sector you’re applying to, etc. So don’t blame yourself for anything. Learn from the constructive feedback (if there is any) and move on.

5. Don’t let them forget you

If there is a company or a position that you liked so much, and didn’t hear them for over a week, contact them again. As I said, you are just an email or a pdf on their computer, so it is very easy to overlook/ignore/miss your application. It doesn’t hurt to hit them again to make sure you are still being considered for the job.

This is applicable when a company contacted you once but didn’t continue the conversation. Remember that in most cases human resources have many jobs to do, and many candidates to consider. Just give a little push to remind them you’re still available. This also shows your interest in the company and the position.

Find a job in Italy
Are you telling me that you don’t want to see this on your way to work everday? It’s possible, just find a job in Italy.

6. Keep improving yourself in the meantime

Like I said, finding a job in Italy as a foreigner could take some time so you can do other things meanwhile, such as:

6.1 One important thing to find work in Italy as a foreigner: Improve your Italian

This is for non-Italians like myself. In Italy, normally most jobs require Italian. Even if your job doesn’t require Italian, you will be working with many Italians so it is very useful to speak in their language. On the other hand, I find it more respectful. You never know how many opportunities you miss because of a lack of Italian.

6.2 Get your job skills certified!

You might be the best in what you do, but if you don’t have anyone to certify it doesn’t mean much. Even if you get some online courses or tests that show your level of competence, it’s a plus. And share them with your network on LinkedIn. You never know, one of your connections might have a friend who is looking for someone exactly like you! Some general sites that give courses/certifications are Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy etc.

7. Look for a job that will make you happy

I thought of writing this headline as “Don’t sell yourself short.”. But the actual reason I don’t want you to sell yourself short is: I want you to be happy in the long run. Any job with a minimum wage would make your ends meet. But not many jobs will bring you happiness. Don’t forget that your mental and physical health is more important than anything. Most companies in the world will not really care about how you are, as long as you get the job done. So you should be the one to take care of yourself because they probably won’t.

7.1 Don’t forget: You can always negotiate for the position

If you are not comfortable about something, or something is not clear don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or even change. Work hours? Salary? Yearly vacation? Just speak your mind from the beginning. Remember that the interviews work both ways, while they are interviewing you, you should be interviewing them as well. I say this as someone who has made more than a hundred interviews in his life.

This also depends on your previous experiences. I come from Turkey and in comparison, the working conditions are much better in Italy. So you should also compare it with your country or past work experiences in general.

How to find work in Italy as a foreigner: Closure

Finding a job in Italy as a foreigner is hard, but not impossible. The difficulty makes it more worthwhile. Think of it like this, if it was easy everybody would do it.

Instead of work, if you are considering studying in Italy, check out my post on how to study in Italy as an International.

24 comments on “7 Tips on how to find work in Italy as a foreigner

  • Mariani Giantara , Direct link to comment

    Hi Emre!
    My name is Mariani and I am Indonesian.
    I’ve read your article and I think it helps me.
    I hope you can help me with my questions below 🙂
    I plan to go to Italy next month for a short course (1 month course and 3 months internship).
    Do you think I can get a job in Italy after I finish my course? But the student visa I got is only for the course period.
    If I can get the job, how long it will take to process the working visa?

    Thank you and stay safe.

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      Hello Mariana,

      If I were you, I would start looking for a job as soon as I get to Italy (even before). Because as I mentioned it is a long process and takes time. Yes, your student visa does not permit working in Italy, but as soon as you find a job, the company should help you get a work visa. In your case, they will probably apply to Nulla Osta and/or Blue Card for you. Finding a job is possible and your course would definitely help it. But the difficulty will be depended on your sector, expertise, and your willingness etc. Usually getting the working visa takes around 2 months.

    • Rohan , Direct link to comment

      I am an expat from India. Completed by Masters in Management Engineering in Italy(South). In a work permit (permisso) now. Attended many interviews but lack of Italian language skills, experience are blocking by job attempts. Worked for a short Six month period- project Engineer.
      Now my permit ends in a few months. If I do not find a job Immediately, I may have to leave the country . Could you advice how to quickly find a job and next how to continue my stay here. Have been in Italy for nearly Four years.

      • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

        Hello Rohan,

        If you have a job permit, and then lost your job, you can apply for the job searching stay permit called Permesso di Soggiorno Attessa Occupazione. If you need money urgently and can’t do Engineering at the moment, you can do temporary jobs such as Glovo, Uber Eats, Uber, Getir delivery etc. So you can have some money during your job search. These jobs would not need fluent italian but also they would improve your italian in the meanwhile. I have a lot of friends with master’s in Engineering, that did this kind of jobs part-time.

        Hope the best for you.

    • Md mizannur RAHAMAN , Direct link to comment

      I have Bangladesh diving licence light and I have outside experience for South Africa supermarket

  • Farraz javed , Direct link to comment

    Hello Emre. hope you will be fine.
    I have a question for you.
    I am planning to arrive at Italy.
    What steps should I have to take?

      • Wakjira , Direct link to comment

        Dear Emre
        I am from Ethiopia. I recently started msc in computer science in Calabria University.
        How likely is getting a job after graduating? I am in the southern part of italy. All my friends are scared about the beurocracy and wanted to leave for other eu countries or uk and apply for refugee status. I am very confused about my future. Please help me with your advice?

        • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

          Hello Wakjira,

          I am preparing a new guide where I will explain all of the bureaucratic processes for foreigners in Italy. It is going to take some time so follow me on social or sign up to newsletter not to miss it out when I release it.

          Other than that, I can give a piece of advice:

          Don’t overwhelm yourself. Yes, the bureaucracy is hard in Italy for everyone, including Italians. But don’t let that stop you. It’s just paperwork and time. You have already done the hardest part, which is getting accepted to an Italian university and getting here.

          In Italy, once you graduate from an Italian university, you get to have a “work search permit” called “Permesso di Soggiorno per Attessa Occupazione” as I mentioned in the post. With that, you can start working in any company in Italy. I wouldn’t consider applying for refugee status as you shouldn’t need it. But I don’t know much about the refugee process anyway.

          • wakjira , Direct link to comment

            Thanks for the advise. Its much appreciated. what should i concentrate on my studies? seeing that you are also in a computer science field.

          • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

            In the computer science field, you can easily find a job almost anywhere in the world. The biggest problem you might have in Italy would be the language. So I would suggest you to improve your Italian if you’re not fluent. You can also think of starting an internship to gain more experience here and improve your italian. I just wrote a new post here about finding an internship in Italy as a foreigner. So I suggest you to take a look at it.

  • Alex , Direct link to comment

    Hey Emere i just got to italy and i want to know one thing , is it possible to change my student visa to working visa middle of the study course?

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      I think you’d need to apply for a working visa from the scratch in this case. But I have never seen an example of this situation, so can’t really say.

  • Elif Nur , Direct link to comment

    Hi Emre!

    Many thanks for the icrediblely informative article. I study Psychology masters in Italy and this is my second (last) year. I started looking for jobs in HR departments of the companies since that’s my interest for the last 3 months and I can say I’m applying to at least 50 jobs every single day. When i read the part “these are just excuses” in your article I thought maybe I’m also making excuses but every single application of mine is rejected because of the language problem. My Italian is A2 and I’m still studying but in HR department where the clear communication is a must, they need at least C1 level.

    My question is, do you think I’m just looking for impossible? Because I don’t think I can be C1 in Italian before 2 years and I don’t have the resources to support myself to stay much in Italy after my graduation. It would be great to have a suggestion from someone from my own country and who has gone through similar things

    All the best,
    Elif

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      Dear Elif,

      I am sorry to hear your trouble during your job search. But yes, in Italy they ask Italian even for software developers so I am sure most companies will require fluent Italian especially in the HR department. So you need more Italian that the rest of the expats looking for a job here. I would suggest you to look for bigger/more international companies where it would be ok to use just English.

      Also I shared some of my suggestions to improve your Italian for free, on my Instagram. So feel free to check it out.

      I believe nothing is impossible. But in your case it is very hard, and I’m not sure if it would be worth the effort. In the end you should decide if you’d like to stick with this profession in this country.

      Hope it was helpful.
      Emre

  • Nikhil , Direct link to comment

    Ciao Emre,
    Thanks for the insightful piece.
    In 2019/20 I had spent 5 months at Universita Bocconi for an exchange during a masters. I pretty much loved life in Milano, and am now looking to make a move to Italy from India.
    I was wondering what are the ways to get a student Visa accept for studying again (as I don’t want a 2nd master)- and an option seems to be Italian language courses in Italy. I am halfway through B1 Italian (in India). In practise I am a solid A2+. So my approach is to get into a long-term Italian course (4-6 months) that will enable me to complete B1 & B2 and try and look for a job in parallel.
    Although I have read that to be eligible to convert a Type-D student visa into a work permit, you need to have had studied in Italy for at least three year (for bachelors) and one year (for master).
    Does this mean my approach to sign-up for a language course and find a job is no good?

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      Unfortunately I am not an expert on visas and there could be some differences from country to country and purpose of visit. So I can only suggest you to ask to a consultant company. Sorry.

  • Abigail Bosiako , Direct link to comment

    Hello was born in Italy- arzignano in 1996 and wants to come back.
    How do I start it and get back there

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      Where are you now? Do you want to come back to Italy for reunion with your family or other reasons? Are you Italian citizen? Please provide more information

      • Abigail Bosiako , Direct link to comment

        Like I said was born in Italy am currently in Ghana at the moment I have my birth certificate and I don’t know how to start with the process

        I want to come back and work on my papers and get a job there as well how do I start with it

  • Abigail Bosiako , Direct link to comment

    Hi, my name is Abigail Bosiako who lives in Ghana. I was in Italy-arzignano(vi) and wants to come back. I want to know i

  • SHEENU , Direct link to comment

    Dear Emre,
    I am a 43year old woman in India working as an office assistant. Wish to find a job in Italy. How do I go about it? Do you know any good agents who could help?

    • Emre Danisan , Direct link to comment

      Unfortunately I don’t know any agents, I haven’t worked with any of them as I did everything by myself. But I am sure there are some companies helping about that.

  • Md mizannur RAHAMAN , Direct link to comment

    Sir.I want to apply for Italy work permit visa but I don’t know how to get company from investment later I have outside experience for South Africa 7years and I have Bangladesh diving licence light. tell me about all possession and information

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.