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resume workshop
by Nicole Martinelli,

Readers of have often asked how to perfect a resume for the Italian job market (called curriculum vitae or CV by Italians) and while there is no perfect formula, here are a few pointers.

  • Italian CVs are generally a bit longer than their US counterparts -- but one-two pages is still a good guideline.
  • Tailor your resume the job offer -- interviewers can be brusque if they can't understand quickly exactly what you've done. Interviews are often more of a gauge to see whether you're a good fit than to verify your experience.
  • References. Generally not included or mentioned in the resume -- but if you have work experience in Italy, be prepared to name names in the interview. Italians do check references -- but will prefer to use their own contacts (often the most prominent person of the company) rather than any numbers you supply. The trick is to make sure higher-ups know about you & your work.
  • If you're not fluent in Italian -- get the best translation you possibly can.
  • Otherwise, stick to a brief, clearly written resume in English, with a few Italian-style additions. You may want to add personal information (date and place of birth, marital status -- it's legal info in Italy) and this final sentence: "In accordance with Italian law no. 675/96, I authorize the handling of my personal data." (the Italian version: "l'autorizzazione al trattamento dei dati personali in riferimento alla Legge 675/96"). Now, we've never heard of a resume actually getting chucked because it didn't mention the Italian privacy law waiver -- but showing that at least you're aware of it will make you appear clued in.
  • Dates. Keep in mind that Italian standard format is day, month, then year, usually separated by slashes.
  • Have some passport-sized photos ready. Don't attach them unless they're asked for, though, and make sure they're professional-looking and conservative.
The sections of a resume
This is the most basic format and order -- use headings to block off the sections. Personal data generally goes first, but the other sections can be switched depending on your experience and the kind of job you're applying to.
  • Dati Personali (personal data): First & last name, telephone (if you have a mobile, put that) address, place & date of birth. Nationality or work visa status would also be a helpful addition here. If you belong to a professional organization -- journalist, lawyer doctor whatever put that here, too.
  • Formazione (studies): Chronological, last degree first. Italians often include the final grade and thesis topic. You may want to add major, minor as well as study abroad or other seminar/post-grad training courses.
  • Esperienze Lavorative (work experience): Start with current or most recent. Better not to leave chronological gaps, but do place more emphasis on important or lengthy posts.
  • Conoscenza Lingue (knowledge of languages): Spell it out -- you'll save some confusion.
    English mother tongue Basic written and spoken Italian
    Scholastic German
  • Conoscenze Informatiche (knowledge of computers): This can be a simple list of programs you know how to use -- Italians don't take for granted that potential candidates know how to use even Word. If you're applying for something more tech-related, be sure to mention your level of knowledge.
  • Hobby: This is a relatively new addition to the Italian CV world -- use it singular and in English, the Italian translation "interessi extraprofessionali" is less common.

Editor's Note: editor Nicole Martinelli first came to Italy spend junior year in Florence back in 1991 -- and stayed. Now based in Milan, she divides her time between producing content for zoomata and freelancing for outfits including Newsweek, BBC, Becker Entertainment and Abitare TV.

Nicole has been known to proudly produce handfuls of official Italian documents at the least prompting; she also holds a degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University, a Masters in Media & Communications from the Universit´┐Ż degli Studi di Firenze and belongs to the Italian Order of Journalists. Recent after-work activities include research into stolen holy relics and advanced slalom on a Vespa.


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