ITALY LANDING THE JOB

A rsum in Italy includes the candidate’s gender, date of birth, marital status, and almost always a photo. They are longer than the average U.S. CV (two pages at least) and will include the type of high school attended and the score received at college graduation. As the taste for things American grows in Italian business, a rsum that focuses on what the candidate accomplished at various jobs and internships will be viewed more favorably. But don’t expect a pure meritocracy: A personal contact will always beat an ace of a different suit. When interviewing or sending a cover letter, be as respectful and professional as possible, as nothing turns off a prospective employer in Italy more than excessive informality. Needless to say, you should always use the lei form, and always address your interviewer as dottore or dottoressa, titles that assume they have graduated from college. Even for low-level and mid-level positions, the interview process will likely take a few weeks. Most of that time will be spent negotiating the salary and the type of contract that would be offered.

Because Italy is a land of small- and medium-sized family firms, pockets are not as deep as they are in big U.S. corporations. Coupled with the lower cost of living in Italy, somewhere near 80 percent of that in the United States, your salary will appear exceedingly slim at first. Pay for many professions is based on a national schedule known as the tabelle professionali. Entry-level workers will receive the minimum wage of that category, and unionized professionals can expect a raise every two years. Your salary will be paid by the month and will be accompanied by a receipt that outlines how much has been taken out for taxes, social security, health benefits, and any extra days off not granted in your contract. Once you have the job and want to see how your package stacks up against similar ones, a resource you can consult is www.quantomipagano.it.

Types of contracts are becoming more varied. Until the late 1990s, almost every full-time contract at firms with more than 15 employees entailed posto fisso (employment for life). Now, large employers are permitted to offer contracts for a fixed duration, sometimes as little as six months. However, an employee can only renew a time-limited contract once. After that, the company must offer posto fisso. The relative relaxation of labor laws has also given rise to almost U.S.-style contracts, where the hours an employee puts in are less important than the work that is actually accomplished. One example is the collaborazione a progetto or Co.Co.Pro contracts, a per-project contract. It is a legal hybrid between freelance and full-time work, releasing the employer from certain payments and responsibilities. In general, though, the majority of contracts are full-time, complete with all the union-guaranteed benefits.

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