Cross border applications: Greece

1. General advice on job hunting in Greece

The Greek public employment service, Organismmos Apasholisseos Ergatikou Dynamikou (OAED), has the monopoly on placement in Greece. It is, therefore, advisable to register with the OAED on arrival in Greece.

However, the most important route to employment in Greece is through personal contacts. For that reason a working holiday or a temporary job might be a good stepping stone to more permanent work. Your temporary job will allow you to get acquainted with local people, who could help you in spotting employers that are likely to recruit in the near future.

A vacation job or an apprenticeship will prove not only successful in getting you acquainted with local people, it will also help you to improve your Greek language skills. Not speaking (sufficient) Greek is a major drawback if you are job hunting in Greece. Since Greeks attach great importance to their language and to their cultural heritage.

The Application Letter

Greek application rules are not very strict. The letter is short, in a formal and polite style. Usually, the letter is typed, although handwritten letters are not uncommon either. The letter is, of course, accompanied by a CV. Many Greek companies, however, use application forms to replace the CV. Those forms are long and detailed.

The application is accompanied by copies of diplomas, three references (which will be checked in the final stage of your application), a health certificate and a certificate of absence of a criminal record (usually such a statement can be obtained from the legal authorities in your home country).

The Curriculum Vitae

There are no strict rules for CVs in Greece. Usually the CV is three to five pages. A photograph is not required, but is appreciated. CVs can either be typed or handwritten, although the latter is becoming less and less common. Greek CVs are exhaustive and detailed, and normally in chronological order.

Your signature should be given at the end of the CV. Practical experience is considered very important. Mention all practical experience you have obtained, including apprenticeships, university projects and courses. Leisure activities are optional, but much appreciated. Put down everything in your CV that (you think) makes you an interesting candidate for an employer ­ remember that a lot of paper looks impressive in the eyes of a Greek recruiter!

The Application Procedure

Interviewing is the prime selection method. Typically three to six interviews are common. The main criteria for Greek recruiters are a candidate’s general level of education and his/her communication skills.

Be prepared for a greater degree of inquisitiveness about your personal circumstances than in many other European Union Member States. But of course, you are not obliged to answer questions on your personal situation

Cross border applications: Italy

1. General advice on job hunting in Italy

One of the best ways of finding work in Italy is through networking. For the outsider, developing such contacts may be difficult at first. But perseverance is often rewarded, as the initiative demonstrated is in itself, a recommendation.

Speculative applications are likewise often successful. Use a very formal style for your letter and include impressive references with your speculative application. In particular, if accompanied by a good recommendation (segnalazione) from someone familiar to the company, such as a university professor, a friend, a member of the family, or a company executive, your speculative application stands a chance.

Such an introduction of a well-known person is extremely effective, because in Italy the emphasis is more on who you know, than on what you know (although as a foreign job seeker the right qualifications are essential, even if you have some distant Italian relatives …).

The Application Letter

The style of the covering letter is conventional and formal, almost with stately language. Explain briefly why you are interested in the job and the company. But leave the full explanation about your motivation until the interview when it can be given orally.

In Italy, the information will be better received in verbal form. Likewise, copies of diplomas and references should not be sent together with your application letter and CV, but should be brought to the first interview. Of course, if you have really impressive testimonials do send them with your letter.

The covering letter is usually typed ­ only occasionally an employer requests a handwritten letter. The letter should be kept short (to maximum one page). Application forms are hardly used, except by some (foreign) multi-national firms. The recruitment process tends to be long, up to three months. You should check carefully what kind of delay to expect for a response.

The Curriculum Vitae

There are no strict rules for CVs in Italy. But a CV is best received when it is brief, about two pages long ­ although CVs of four or five pages are not uncommon either ­ and in chronological order Include in your personal details your date and place of birth, your nationality, your telephone number (including international access code) and your civil status.

Hobbies are rarely mentioned in your CV. A photo is not requested. Men should clearly indicate whether or not they have fulfilled their military service. (Please note that it is common to fulfil your military service before applying for a job.)

The Application Procedure

The recruitment procedure usually consists of three to four interviews and some psychometric tests. Be prepared for questions about your motivation. As far as the qualities Italian employers look for are concerned, enthusiasm and dynamism are often quoted as being the most sought-after.

A fairly informal atmosphere is general, with each recruiting officer following his/her own, usually intuitive style. Only if the personality of the candidate is deemed apt, will the recruiter continue to look at his/her professional experience. Hence, the importance of establishing a good rapport during the interview.

Pay a lot of attention to your appearance for the interviews; the way you are dressed is of significant importance for an Italian employer, it shows your true interest in the job! Salaries are rarely discussed at the first interview.

2. Mock CV for Italy

Cross border applications: Portugal

1. General advice on job hunting in Portugal

Speculative applications, especially for recent graduates, are an important route to employment. Personal contacts are very helpful in this respect. For small and medium sized companies informal methods of recruitment (word-of-mouth, networking, speculative applications) are routine.

For that reason a working holiday or a temporary job in, for instance, the tourist sector might be a good stepping stone to more permanent work. Your temporary job will allow you to get acquainted with local people, who could help you in spotting employers that are likely to recruit in the near future.

Employer information is otherwise difficult to trace. With speculative applications you are advised to telephone in advance. This will allow you to find out to whom to direct your application and thus, you are able to introduce yourself and show your interest in the company.

It is also possible to advertise yourself in the “situations wanted” columns of the newspapers, but the entry would need to be eye-catching to be successful!

The Application Letter

Application letters can be either typed or handwritten. In the case of a speculative application, handwritten letters are most commonly used. A response to an advertisement however, is usually typed.

The application letter is short and simple, the style conventional. In your letter try to emphasise the skills and experience that make you a suitable candidate for the job. Copies of diplomas and testimonials from former employers are not requested at this stage. Do not send them to the employer, but bring them to the job interview.

The use of application forms is widespread in Portugal. There is a large difference between application forms. Some are very standardised, while others ask more about previous practical experience in unstructured (open) questions.

The Curriculum Vitae

A Portuguese CV is usually in reversed chronological order. Several pages are not uncommon, with a maximum of three to four pages. A clear presentation is requested, numbering each section separately.Start with your personal details (name, date and place of birth, civil status, address and telephone number including the international access code).

In this section you can also mention whether or not you have a driving license, as well as your ID number and your religion. Continue with your education (including courses), professional training (a distinct category from university education), work experience, linguistic ability (mention the languages you are able to speak in order of fluency), and a separate section for seminars you attended.

Computer skills, if applicable, should be listed separately. Emphasise all the professional training you have had, from seminars to full courses. For Portuguese recruiters this means that your former employer thought you were outstanding enough to receive further training.

Recent graduates should mention all courses undertaken at university in the section dealing with education and should mention seminars in a distinct section. Where work experience is concerned, it is important to mention all your former employers, including the tasks and responsibilities performed.

The Application Procedure

Portuguese application procedures are less regulated than in some other countries. This openness often helps the mobile worker.

The most important part of the selection process are the interviews. Most emphasis is on professional experience and practical training. Usually the selection procedure consists of several interviews and some psychological and technical tests.

Aptitude and psychometric tests are used for candidates up to middle level management. Graphology is sometimes used for senior appointments (no permission is needed beforehand).

2. Mock CV for Portugal

Cross border applications: Spain

1. General advice on job hunting in Spain

Personal contacts are the most important route to employment. For that reason a working holiday or a temporary job in, for instance, the tourist sector might be a good stepping stone to more permanent work. Your temporary job will allow you to make acquaintances with local people, who could help you in spotting employers that are likely to recruit in the near future. A speculative application is a logical next step.

Often Spanish employers put general company advertisements in the media to which you can respond. Use a formal style for your letters and describe clearly which tasks or function appeals most to you. Relate your own skills and knowledge to this job and try to illustrate this with examples wherever possible.

Where small and medium sized companies are concerned informal methods of recruitment (word-of-mouth, networking, speculative applications) are most common. Be aware though of the regional differences in Spain, because, if you want to apply successfully for a job, you better realise that an application in the Spanish language might not even be read in Barcelona where the population speaks Catalan!

The Application Letter

In Spain a CV is always accompanied by a typed application letter, translated and certified qualifications, copies of diplomas and sometimes a recent photo. Testimonials from former employers are hardly ever requested.

The letter is short and in a direct, but formal style. In the letterhead you have to give the reference number of the vacancy (if it is a speculative application mention this in the letterhead). You open the letter with a reference to the job you are applying for, in the second paragraph you mention your education and work experience relevant to this vacancy.

You end the letter with a standard sentence, such as “En espera de sus noticias, les saluda atentamente” (Roughly, “Waiting for your reply, meanwhile my sincere regards”). Leave a 3 centimetre margin on the left hand side and a 2 centimetre margin on the right hand side. The recruitment process tends to be rather long. You should check how long it will take to get a response.

The Curriculum Vitae

There are no strict rules for CVs in Spain. The most important thing is a well structured CV, no longer than two pages and with little spare space between the headings. Under the heading ‘personal details’ you also have to give your passport or ID number.

Regarding work experience, it is important to mention all your former employers, including the tasks and responsibilities performed. If you have attended major seminars, stayed abroad sometime, written a publication, or followed an apprenticeship, do mention it under the heading “other activities”, “Otras actividades”. Application forms are widespread in Spain.

The Application Procedure

Usually a short introduction interview is held, which is followed by psychological and psychometric tests. After passing this initial selection phase, the recruitment procedure consists of a series of interviews. The interview carries a lot of weight, since human qualities are judged more important than professional qualities in the assessment of the candidate.

Be prepared for questions about your motivation, which is quoted to be the most sought-after quality by Spanish employers. Usually interviews are held on a one-to-one basis. However, group discussions can also figure in the recruitment process, depending on the level of responsibility of the job. The number of interviews varies, but it is not uncommon to have as many as six interviews or even more.

Avoid raising the question of salary in the first interviews. This should not be introduced until the company has offered you the job.

2. Mock CV for Spain

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