GUIDE TO SECURE A JOB IN FRANCE
This section explains the short cuts for securing a job in France after a student completes his studies. Guidelines are provided on how to create a winning resume/cover letter and how to crack an interview.
1. How to network and work with your contacts in France to find a job or internship?
One of the most peculiar aspects of the French job market is that purportedly 80% of the job market is in the “Marché cache” or hidden market. It can be quite difficult for one to network in a country where he/she knows very few people. Here is where the following methods can be very useful.
The widest and well-reputed professional social network around the globe to connect with people from one’s own industry and outside of it. This gives access to jobs, connections, learning materials, articles and influencers.
This is another social network based out of Paris, which could help one connect with professionals from the same domain. Although not as popular as LinkedIn globally, it is still widely used by professionals in France.
Job fairs or Forum d’emplois
Job fairs or “Salons d’emploi” are organized by different associations in France. Keep checking LinkedIn/ company webpages for dates of such events. Such forums will provide an opportunity to meet potential employers and get to know what their company does. This could be held in a mall, university or hotels. For example, APEC organizes such forums regularly round the year. One should register in advance and have submitted their CV before attending such events.
Job Teaser / Career Starter
Many institutions have their private platform to post internship/job offers called “Career Center” or “Job Teaser”. Some recruiters may search for candidates of their own school. This can be very useful as managers sometimes leave their email address at the end of the offer so that you may contact them directly. This can be an advantage compared to other students with different academics.
Join Expat & Alumni groups on social networks
Joining expat groups would help you widen your network and meet like-minded people who have had or are going through similar experiences in life. These can offer many professional networking events and the opportunity to make friends in Paris in a more casual setting. Moreover, those connections could help in coping with the language, business culture, attending interviews, and dealing with people. Sites such as meetup.com, francealumni.fr, Internations.org could be a good starting point.
Working with a recruitment agent/agency
Working with recruitment agencies would give one an idea about the job market and what kind of skills potential employers seek. Some of the most popular “Cabinet de recrutement” are given below:
– ABC for value
– Ples convergence- for jobs in IT & media
– Modelor – for jobs in the luxury goods sector
2. What are the popular Job Sites (also for internships)?
Here are some of the most popular job boards or Job search sites in France:
MediaBistro.com – for media and communication jobs
WelcometotheJungle.com – mostly for tech jobs
Lesjeudis.fr – for IT jobs
Stage.fr – for internships
Remote Work job sites
3. How to tailor one’s CV for the French job market?
Be concise and to the point
For young graduates or inexperienced candidates, it is strongly recommended that you limit your CV to a single page. On the other hand, for an experienced professional, 2-3 pages are accepted. Highlight your skills, which can set you apart as your CV would most likely be only glanced for a few seconds by a recruiter or an HR person.
Keep it simple
If experimentation is not your cup of tea, keep it simple and understandable.
Choose a clear title that could be attractive to a potential recruiter or HR. Please feel free to customize your CV according to the job profile.
Avoid too much of personal information
Not every recruiter or employer can be an egalitarian. So it is recommended to avoid mentioning your date of birth, nationality or marital status on the CV. However, mentioning your driving license on your CV could be beneficial. Some candidates keep a photo on the CV but it is optional. Please check the CV that is provided for reference. It is also quite common in Europe to include your photo in your CV. Nevertheless, this is not mandatory.
Double check your CV before sending
Please get your CV proofread by someone before you send it to a recruiter or a potential employer to avoid any careless mistakes.
A reference CV is attached with this document for reference.
NOTE: APEC (Association pour l’emploi des cadres) offers free coaching to improve one’s CV either on phone or in person. Please check Apec.fr for more details.
4. What to include in our Cover letter(Lettre de motivation)?
NOTE: The following tips are only suggestions and not compulsory.
Be polite, precise and passionate.
Structure: General Instructions
– Arial 10 or Times New Roman 12; Justified text; single space / 1.15.
– Careful, french form is different to the UK / US form.
– One page maximum => 3 to 4 paragraphs.
– No shortcuts: in English, prefer writing “I am” rather than “I’m”, or “it is” rather than “it’s”. In -French: careful on accents, grammar and verbs.
– Use synonyms wisely.
Aim: You and your classmates are in the same school, pursuing the same program and most probably aiming for the same companies. The cover letter lets you differentiate yourself among other students. It should be a complement to your fully detailed resume so no need to copy/paste. A recruiter spends on average 30 seconds per letter so you have to make sure to catch his/her attention. Depending on the position, use your creativity and own it ! Take your time to make the letter perfect. Finally, make sure you look out for spelling mistakes.
First paragraph (2-3 lines): Introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? Which program are you enrolled in? What are you applying for and where? When will you be available? For how long?
Second paragraph: Additional information on the company. What’s new? What projects are they involved in? What is it that they do, that makes you want to be part of their group? Why them and not competition? Any special events? Investments? Award winnings? Prove your interest to this company.
Third paragraph: Experiences. What you’ve learnt from them. Experience can be anything. It can go from an internship, to volunteering, participating in competitions, student jobs, teaching, sports, travelling, anything…Avoid spending time on writing details that are already on your resume. Focus on the technical/soft skills you developed through these experiences and show how they would be useful to the company you aspire to.
Fourth paragraph: It’s all about you. What are you passionate about? What is it that you have and others don’t? How will this experience boost your future projects? Why this position in particular? Purpose? Missions? Aim for you? Try to project yourself in five years and explain what would be your long-term goal by having this opportunity. Be precise.
Politeness: Always end your letter with a polite formula and thank the recruiter to consider your application.
Here is a link for examples you could use depending on the letter you’re writing:
5. How to give one’s best while attending an interview in France (entretien d'embauche)?
Get the basics right: Be punctual, well dressed (preferably in a suit) and always carry a pen and notebook (or a small diary)
– Research the company and its projects before the interview and if possible also about the recruiter and the job vacancy
– Nine out of ten times the first question of any interview would start with “Tell me about yourself” (Parlez moi de vous). Prepare an opening statement that is well rehearsed and uninterrupted. The recruiter asks this open-ended question to check your confidence, understanding of oneself, professional ambitions.Keep it under 2-3 mins, clear and concise.
– Listen clearly, when it is the recruiter’s turn to speak and jot down the important points on your diary.
– Please keep in mind that the recruiter wants answers that are clearly explained. So back up, your strengths, weakness, or a specific job related question with an anecdote in simple language while covering the essential functional/technical points.
– Harp on your skills/strengths and explain how you can add value to the job post
– Always prepare some questions to ask the recruiter at the end of the interview which would certainly reflect on your preparedness for the interview.
– It is advisable to send a follow up email 10 days after the interview if you have not heard from the recruiter.
6. The Job Market- Considering your industry
- There are industries that operate more in English than others here in France and will be easier to find work in, so think about how you can position yourself well. International companies and digital agencies are also less likely to require French skills than local businesses.
Here are some industries that are easier to find English work in:
– IT & Gaming: France is undergoing a bit of a tech boom right now and in order to compete throughout Europe much of the start-up ecosystem operates in English. This is a great industry to start looking in, and France even offers easy-to-obtain visas for tech founders.
- – Childcare: This is a very common job for foreign students and expats in France, as French families often want to give their kids a leg up with English by hiring a native speaker.
– English Teaching: For obvious reasons, teaching English is a plentiful job option in France. That said, the hours and pay can be pitiful, and the competition harder in cities such as Paris.
– PR/Marketing/Social Media: Many companies in France promote their products and services in English and want native speakers to provide their content. Lookout for job titles with “EMEA”(Europe-Middle East- Africa) mentioned in them.
– Tourism: As one of the most visited countries in the world, there is always a need for tour guides and people with specific skills to share with tourists such as art history, photography or ski instruction.
– Retail: Sometimes shops in super touristy areas such as around the Champs-Élysées and Disneyland will hire people with minimal French skills since the clientele is mostly international.
– Writing and Journalism: There are companies based in France that produce content in multiple languages, as well as English-language news agencies and broadcasters. Writing is also work that can be done freelance or remotely (more on that below).
– Bartending: If you can whip up a martini and learn the names of a few popular French cocktails, getting a bartending, job (especially in the touristy or college-heavy areas of Paris) is entirely possible.
– Embassies and Consulates: The U.S., Canada, U.K. and other English-speaking countries have outposts in France that need support staff. Note that these jobs are usually not for complete French beginners though since you will have to interact with locals quite a bit.
- – NGOs: Aid groups and global organizations such as Unesco sometimes post positions that are short-term but don’t require perfect French.
- – Finance: It is a global industry, so English is a huge plus and depending on your experience and position, some jobs can require little French.
7. What is the role of Pole Emploi?
The Pole emploi is the job service agency of the state and is tasked with the role of helping job seekers find work pertinent to their qualifications and to help them financially. The financial aid is contingent on fulfilling certain conditions.
In order to avail its help one must have a legal residence, have a social security number, French bank account and need to be officially unemployed.
How to register with Pole emploi
Visit your center or make an application online. You need to have available your social security number, a CV in French and a bank RIB (paper with account details).
Go to the top of the page at www.pole-emploi.fr/accueil/where it says “Vous inscrire à Pôle emploi”. You will be asked if you have already been a registered jobseeker (if it was less than six months ago there will be no need for an interview for you to register); if you have a personal space on the site – if you have had no dealings with the Pôle emploi prior you will not; and if you are available for work.
You must then give your name and address, work periods and previous salary, knowledge and training, and the type of job you are looking for. You will be given a choice of dates and times for the interview.
You will be posted an invitation, plus paper forms to be filled in, signed and brought in with certain documents, including your passport, an attestation Pôle emploi from your last employer (they are obliged to give you one), a photocopy of your carte vitale and a bank RIB.
You need to bring the completed paperwork and the documents mentioned above, plus your diplomas. A Pôle emploi worker will help you create a PPAE (projet personnalisé d’accès à l’emploi) – an action plan as to the kind of work sought, expected geographical area and salary, plus what action you will take to find work.
It is based on qualifications, experience, and the local job market and is reevaluated at least every three months. The Pôle emploi may suggest suitable openings, based on the PPAE.
If, after three months, you have not found work, you will move to monthly follow-ups with a named advisor, called your conseiller referent (the first will be during the fourth month). They will help you plan what you need to do – contacting potential employers, attending training sessions, doing skills analyses, etc.
If you refuse a “reasonable job offer” twice, you must unregister. Initially the new job should pay at least 95% of the previous salary and correspond to your qualifications; after six months 85% and you should accept up to an hour’s commute (or 30km); after a year, it should correspond to your qualifications and pay at least as much as your unemployment benefit, with the same distance criteria. You are not obliged to accept a job at a salary lower than that usual in the region for the job type, a part-time job, or a temporary one, if you are looking for a permanent one.
Registering as a jobseeker means you become eligible for unemployment benefits if you have built up the right to it. The main benefit is Allocation d’aide au Retour à l’Emploi (ARE). You need to have been paying into social security for at least 122 days (or have done at least 610 hours of work) in the 28 months before the end of the last job (for under 50s) or 36 months (aged 50 or above); be unemployed involuntarily, and be under state retirement age. The daily amount is based on your old daily salary (pre-social charges). It is: 40.4% plus €11.57 or 57.4%, whichever is higher
We encourage you to do a simulation at:
Please note that some social contributions are deductible.
NOTE: If you are not eligible for benefits, you can still register and may therefore benefit from various training opportunities as well as job seeking help.