WORKING ABROAD / OCT. 02, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Land a Job in Istanbul

turkey

Turkey is an extremely culturally diverse country with a rich history. Its geographical location makes it a top foreign trade contender, exporting 5.7% of its products to the UK alone. For those looking to find employment in Turkey, one of the best places to search is Istanbul, the nation’s bustling market hub. Trade and investment opportunities have allowed Turkey’s economy to flourish despite current global market trends. 

Seeking Employment

The current job market growth has been sustained by three main industries, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Agriculture accounts for over 25% of Turkish exports, while the blossoming auto industry in Turkey has allowed the manufacturing sector to begin to explode. Since Turkey is the 6th most visited nation in the world, opportunities in tourism-related job opportunities are plentiful. Currently, Istanbul accounts for almost half of Turkey’s trade and 21.1% of the Gross National Product.

Job availability is Istanbul is relayed through word of mouth and networking, but seeking employment while abroad is not impossible. One of the most popular ways to secure a position in Istanbul is through internships. If you are a recent graduate or are approaching graduation, now is the time to begin searching for an internship opportunity. Job search websites, forums, and even the Turkish Press are excellent ways to locate job vacancies as well as internship prospects. 

Business Etiquette

  • Greetings: In Istanbul, business is personal. Greet those you are meeting with a bow and a smile. If someone offers a hand, shake it, but a bow is most appreciated. In most cases, business conversation will start off with personal chit-chat. This is a very important element of business conversation because it lays the foundation or groundwork for negotiations. Always address Turkish individuals using their title, when addressing women, say their first name then add "hanim." When addressing a man after introductions you may use their first name while adding "bey."
  • Business Attire: Business attire should be formal. Acceptable attire for men is a suit and tie, women should dress conservatively in a suit or blouse with a long skirt. In summer, it is acceptable to wear lighter fabrics and forgo suit jackets.
  • Business Cards: Anything you present to a Turkish business person should be printed in both English and Turkish. This includes business cards and resumes.
  • Punctuality: Being punctual is highly regarded in Turkish business. Always arrive early to meetings or interviews. 

Work Permits

There are several different types of work permits for those seeking employment in Turkey. One of these permits must be secured before you begin working in Istanbul. Here is a list of the most common types:

  1. Work Permit for a Fixed Term: This type of work permit is ideal for those looking to work in Turkey for a period of one year or less. If your work assignment lasts longer than expected, this permit can be renewed for up to 3 years.
  2. Work Permit for an Indefinite Term: This permit applies to those who have resided in Turkey for a period of eight years or have worked in the county for at least six years. Once this permit has been acquired it is permanent. *Note: time spent in Turkey for educational purposes such as an unpaid internship will not qualify you for this permit.
  3. Independent Work Permit: This type of permit is for those who have resided in Turkey for a period of five years and which to start their own business. Those applying for this permit must show the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that the business entity being created will help the local economy and offer Turkish nationals employment opportunities. This permit is valid for three months while business operations are set up by the owner(s).

An application for a work permit can be found on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security site.

Working in Istanbul can be an enriching and financially lucrative experience. The diversity of culture, geography, and financial market provide those wishing to work and live there will a wealth of professional opportunities. As a visitor, always remember to master business and cultural etiquette before your trip to ensure you make the absolute best impression.

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