The Job Hunt for ITALY

EMPLOYERS While the thought of being your own boss in Italy may sound exciting, the reality is that most of the foreigners you run into here are working for someone else. They are often found teaching English, translating, designing web pages, working in marketing or public relations, consulting for a multinational, teaching at a university, writing for a newspaper or magazine, or working with a governmental organization. Fortunately for those Anglophones without an illustrious career behind them already, the very act of speaking perfect English lends one a certain credibility. Italians may be suspicious of U.S. foreign policy and not particularly fond of U.S. food and fashion, but they do regularly defer to U.S. business sense.

Also, employers admire the professional habits cultivated in the United States. When compared to European workers nursed on labor-friendly hiring laws, prospective North American employees have a leg up on the competition, as they come from a culture where efficiency is king and are accustomed to the kind of laissez-faire capitalism where hiring and firing are quick and easy processes. Even the most venerated institutions of traditional Italian sectors often have a native Englishspeaker in their top brass. But unless you have outstanding contacts or credentials, or else were sent to Italy by your U.S. company, chances are that you will have to start the way most expats did: translating or teaching English while scouring the Help Wanted ads for something that fits your background more closely. (Then again, many people feel that they were cut out for teaching or translating and build it into a career.)

In Rome, a good place to start looking is an expat magazine called Wanted in Rome (www.wantedinrome.com). It has classified ads for short-term or long-term apartment rentals and a list of jobs for native English-speakers. Its counterpart in Milan is Easy Milano (www.easymilano.it). English-speaking businesses can be successful in Italy. The Monster board has an Italian site at www.monster.it, focused on an international crowd, while for Italians, the most popular venue is Corriere Lavoro (www.corriere.it/lavoro). A second possibility for those starting off is to go to a temp agency. The two best known in Italy are Adecco (www.adecco.it) and Vedior (www.vedior.it), where candidates can upload their rsums and await a temporary assignment, which often turns into a full-time position. As lifetime contracts are on the wane in Italy, these stopgap measures have become more useful for employers. The disadvantage for foreigners, however, is that the employers are quite unlikely to undertake the hassle of getting you the necessary paperwork for what is supposed to be a short-term position.

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