Job applications in Turkey

Cover letters, CVs and job interviews

The formality of your job application in Turkey will depend on the job. You may be able to get low-paying bar or teaching jobs with nothing more than an informal interview. For more sophisticated jobs, you will need a formal application.

Turkish restaurant owners and barmen are not going to ask you for a CV, cover letter, or references. Most likely, they will hire or pass based on your appearance and a brief conversation. With these kinds of jobs, first impressions are everything. You will be best off if you speak decent Turkish and show yourself to be outgoing and energetic. Bar and restaurant owners are looking to hire foreigners that will engage customers, perhaps even lure in new ones. Sexist as it might sound (or be), young, attractive foreign women will have the easiest time getting part-time work.

Some language schools will hire the same way, but with most jobs you will have to submit an application.

Formal job applications in Turkey

The basic components of a Turkish job application are the same as in most other countries. Prepare a cover letter and a curriculum vitae (CV). The curriculum should be around a page in length (two if absolutely necessary), and it should be well-organized and easy-to-read. In addition to your name and contact information, list work and education experience in chronological order, in the third person singular (using he, she, or your last name).

Include contact information and addresses for past employers. Your prospective employer may choose to contact them. If you do not include reference contact information on your CV, your employer will probably ask for it if he selects you to interview.

Your cover letter should be no longer than three or four paragraphs, and it should focus on your qualifications for the position. Avoid exaggerating qualifications whenever possible. Turkish employers are known to check up on application information. Fraudulent or exaggerated information will cost you an interview.

Some positions will allow you to apply online – this is increasingly popular in Turkey. If you submit your application online, make sure that your curriculum´s format will not cause problems if it is scanned or digitized (no “example“ lines or italic text).

Finally, submit your application in the appropriate language. If you are applying at a western company with a branch in Turkey, English should be fine. If you want to work for a Turkish employer that caters specifically to the Turkish market, you will be better off having your CV and cover letter translated into Turkish.

Turkish job interviews

Behave in a Turkish interview as you would in any other. You should dress formally, and take special care to be on time.

Be polite and thorough when you answer questions, but avoid rambling or monopolizing conversation. The interviewer is certain to ask about your Turkish language skills and your living arrangements in Turkey. Answer honestly, but remember that your integration into Turkish culture will be looked on as a positive.

Interview lengths will vary. They could last anywhere from a half hour to two or more, especially if you are asked to take a skill test (common for IT and related jobs). Again, avoid exaggerating your experience. As a general rule, don´t claim anything you can´t prove through your CV or a reference.

Depending on the job, you may have to interview several times before your employer makes a final decision.

Further reading

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