Inside the Mythology of an Italian CV
A Quick Overview of the CV Writing Tragedy
You have recently moved to Italy or intend to do so soon? You don’t know where to start in your hunt for a job? You browse hundreds of websites per day, read a variety of requirements and come across acronyms far beyond the classic resume concept? Some talk about Europass CV others want just a CV, a third a resume, fourth a mix of all. You then realize you have become an expat in Italy and ask yourself this question: what happened to the simple job search? Why can’t I just email a simple CV? Why are things so different in this country?
The reality of the European CV standards is far too different from what you might have come across in the US or other non-EU countries. It is not just about the way you structure your profile or format your CV, it is a lot about what to leave out and how much necessary information to divulge. Should you use a European CV format or an international one? Even more, when in Italy, things might get a little bit more complicated.
What NOT to Include
Here is a short list of what to consider before sending in your application and what not to include in your CV before hitting the send button:
- The number one trend which is also the number one way to send your application to the trash bin is using Google and copy/pasting pre-existing CV templates. In Italy this is a very common issue for multiple reasons and many users believe that by replicating a generic CV it will really do the trick. Let alone the numerous spelling errors, inability to formulate experiences in the right order, incorrect use of English and, last but not least, informing the world of your social life!
- Google Translate might help you get a sense of languages you do not have a working knowledge of but it certainly does not make your CV look like it was professionally translated. CVs do not get translated from one language to another by software or any person fluent in the language. They are customized by linguists in a professional manner! Meanings and wordings change from one language to another and by not using the correct translation you risk losing your “identity” and making a bad impression in the opening sentence already.
- The amount of personal information disclosed and the photographs attached to a CV is a common issue in European countries. In Italy, for example, you need to enclose not only your date of birth, photographs, marital status, and driving license information but lots of other personal data as well. In the UK and Germany, on the other hand, some of this information can be omitted while in the US applicants focus solely on their professional qualifications. Do not go for a ready-made CV as it may contain a lot of information your employer may not require. You might already be discriminated in the selection process based on the information you did provide!
- Another common mistake is sending a Europass CV to any job application because you have heard that Italian companies prefer so. The other most common mistake is sending both a Europass CV and a generic CV, asking the recruiter to choose from the two. Do you really know the difference between the two and when to use them?
- Let’s talk cover letters! Would you prefer to read a one liner only stating “attached is my CV for your consideration” or engage in describing the story of your life in one page? Do you know what the real purpose of a cover letter is and how to write it? The cover letter is a way to market yourself even before a recruiter reads your CV. It helps you break the ice and introduce yourself to the prospective employer. It is also the perfect tool to add information that you cannot keep on a CV such as gaps in employment and other reasons for chronological discrepancies on your resume’s timeline.
Rumiana Uzunova is an HR Generalist based in Italy with a vast international experience in the areas of recruitment, HR management and Project Operations. She currently runs an online HR platform for expats in Europe and for Italy's large international community.
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