Writing an Effective Italian CV
If you've been dreaming about La Dolce Vita in Venice or fashion shows in Milan and you want to apply for a job in Italy, then it’s time to put your language skills to the test and create an Italian CV. The same applies if you’re applying for an Italian job in your own country. How do you write a CV in Italian? What points do you need to consider? We give you the lowdown.
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to creating an Italian CV, it goes without saying that you’ll need a good command of the Italian language.
You’ll be competing against local candidates as well as foreign candidates, which means the slightest mistake could potentially put you out of the running.
Your CV does not always have to be in Italian
Your CV is your first and often only chance to make a good impression. Any spelling or grammatical mistakes and you may put off potential employers even if you do have the desired skills and experience.
Furthermore, sending a CV in a foreign language indicates that you’re proficient in a foreign language, which means that if you’re invited to an interview, employers will expect you to be able to talk about your experience in the language.
Checklist for creating an Italian CV
Here are the points to bear in mind when writing a CV in Italian:
- Use the correct Italian vocabulary.
- List your most recent experience and education first.
- Include more personal details than in an English CV.
- Include the country code when listing your number.
- A photo is not mandatory, although many employers expect it.
- If possible, look up the Italian equivalents of your qualifications.
- Get a native speaker to proofread your CV and cover letter.
- Use the formal third person “lei” form of “you” rather than the informal “tu” when you address the recruiter directly.
Use the correct Italian terms on your CV
To make a good impression with Italian employers, it’s important to use the correct terminology and headings:
- Personal details = Dati personali
- Work experience = Esperienze professionale
- Education = Formazione
- Internships = Tirocini
- Languages = Lingue
- Other information = Altre informazioni
- Hobbies and Interests = Hobby e interessi
- Skills = Competenze
- Personal competences = Competenze personali
- Extracurricular activities = Attitività extracurriculari
- Driving licence = Patente di guida
- Certificates = Certificati
- References = Referenze
- If you’re unsure about terms, your best bet is to ask a native speaker. You can also look them up online, but beware of using Google Translate as translations are not always accurate.
- Another option is to use a CV builder such as Jobseeker, which removes the hassle of translating the headings. All you need to do is fill in each section.
The order of a Italian CV
- As elsewhere in Europe, employers expect you to list your experience and education in reverse chronological order, which means that you list your most work experience and education first and work backwards.
- As well as start and end dates, include the name of the employer/academic institution, and a brief description of your tasks and responsibilities. Keep it factual and avoid over-selling yourself, as is common in English CVs.
- In addition to the usual details (name, address, e-mail address, telephone number including country code), you need to include a little more personal information than you may be used to, such as your date of birth, place of birth, nationality, marital status and whether you hold a driver’s license. As a male, if you have served in the military, you also need to include this information.
If you’re from outside the EU, you won’t need to enclose a copy of your residence permit, but it can work in your favour to state that you have one.
Including a photo
Including a passport photo on your CV is common practice in Italy, but not mandatory. If you do decide to include one, make sure that it’s a formal passport photo, taken either at a photo booth or by a professional photographer. Facebook party photos are not appropriate.
Mentioning your language skills
Whether you’re applying for a job at an international or an Italian company, employers will want to know how good your Italian is, especially as most paperwork is likely to be in Italian.
Here's the vocab to indicate how well you speak the language:
Foreign languages = Lingue straniere
Mother tongue = madrelingua
Native = nativo
Fluent = fluente
Advanced = avanzato
Intermediate = intermedio
Good = buono
Basic knowledge = elementare
International standards for language skills
Although less commonly used in Italy, you can also refer to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) to indicate how well you speak Italian. This system uses letters to describe different language proficiency levels: A (basic), B (intermediate) and C (advanced):
- A – Basic user
- A1 – Breakthrough or beginner
- A2 – Waystage or elementary
- B – Independent user
- B1 – Threshold or intermediate
- B2 – Vantage or upper intermediate
- C – Proficient user
- C1 – Effective operational efficiency
- C2 – Mastery or proficiency
This framework is an easy way for employers to understand whether you can carry out specific tasks: reading, writing, speaking, listening.
It also makes it harder for you to overstate your language abilities, as to attain the different levels, you usually have to sit through exams, after which you receive a certificate.
Check your spelling and grammar
No matter how well you speak a language, it’s always a good idea to proofread your CV before sending it off. This can be done by either using an online grammar checker such as ItalianCorrector or LanguageTool, or better still, asking a native speaker to look over your CV. Two eyes are always better than one.
- Write final marks for exams as percentages - if you simply write ‘Passed’, employers may jump to the conclusion that your exam scores were low.
- Add the following to the bottom of your CV to confirm that recruiters are allowed to process your data in accordance with the GDPR:
"Autorizzo il trattamento dei miei dati personali ai sensi del D.L. 196/2003 ( which means: I agree to disclose my personal information according to the law 196/2003.)"