Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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5 > WORK


Learning Italian is an indispensable skill for entering the job market in Bologna. Although English may be considered an asset, business in Bologna is conducted in Italian. Dedicate yourself to learning the language while you are job searching and know that your spoken and written Italian will improve drastically once you find yourself in the working world. For a list of selected language schools, see Chapter 1: Plugging In.


Non-EU citizens are not able to work legally in Italy without a permesso di soggiorno that specifically permits work. A 90-day tourist permesso will permit you to stay in the country while you search for a job, but it cannot be converted into a work permit without first returning to your home country. Employers are generally reticent to consider candidates who require assistance obtaining work papers, so you are better off making your own arrangements rather than counting on a company to sponsor your stay. You will also need a codice fiscale in order to open a bank account and be legally paid. For more information regarding paperwork, see Chapter 1: Plugging In. If you do not have means of obtaining work papers, your job possibilities in Bologna are limited. In this case, you will need to establish private agreements and be paid in nero (under the table). Working in nero amounts to tax evasion and is obviously illegal. That said, someone needs to buy the groceries.


Before launching your job search, be sure to prepare your curriculum vitae (CV) in Italian. If you have doubts about what information to include, follow the Europass model, an initiative of the European Commission to help job seekers make their skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the EU, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries.Visit to download examples and instructions.You will note that the Europass format includes information that you may not be used to divulging, such as your nationality, birthday and driver’s license. If you decide not to include this information on your CV, be ready for it to come up in an Italian interview, together with marital and family status.

The practice of targeting companies and then sending your CV and cover letter to the human resources department is not likely to yield results. Most employers will not even acknowledge receipt of your CV, let alone call you on their own accord for an informational interview. While this may seem discourteous, it is a fact of life in the Italian job market, so try not to feel discouraged if it seems you are sending your CV into a black hole.


Although you may tire of telling everyone you are job hunting, this is by far the best way to find work here. Don’t limit your networking to people in your sector of interest. Think of how many potential contacts your butcher or hairdresser makes each day! Getting involved in associations (see Chapter 1: Plugging In) and leisure activities (see Chapter 8: Tempo Libero) are the best ways to make personal contacts that may help in your search. English-speaking women should consider joining the International Women’s Forum of Bologna, which among other services, offers a job bank for members via its website On the European level, the European Professional Women’s Network provides an online networking platform linking several thousand business women across Europe: