Find a Job in Paris


How to look for work in Paris


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French Job Market

France has a vibrant economy with a high number of immigrants in the French workforce. The majority of workers are within the service sector, with the second most popular sector in agriculture. Unemployment runs between 9 to 11% (with approximately 4% long-term unemployment).

Resume / CV

Resume versus CV

  • Resume - Brief overview of work and educational experience. Prominent in the US when applying for employment. Typically one page.
  • CV (curriculum vitae) - More in-depth look at work and educational experience. Prominent in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Typically two or more pages.

Layout

A CV (Le CV français) in France should be used when applying for a professional position. When you are preparing your CV, note that the French format might be different from that of your home country. For instance, the French tend to list education first on the CV. The CV format can also vary by industry or job.

CVs need to be in French and are usually only two pages. The most common exception would be in English-speaking positions in international companies. A résumé is a false cognate in French and English. Un résumé means a summary, whereas a résumé refers to un CV (curriculum vitae).

    The CV should contain:
  • Contact Information: Relevant personal contact information at the top of the page including: name, phone number, fax number, address, and email address. In France, you may also include more personal information like age, nationality, and marital status.
  • Photo: A photo is commonly required, especially in the service industry.
  • Professional Experience: Usually this information is listed chronologically. List your work experience with: your title
  • the name of the company you worked for, the dates of your employment, and a brief description of your achievements in that job
  • Education: This section should come before work experience if you are in school or have been out of school for one to three years, depending on your level of work experience and how relevant your education is to your career.
  • Certificates & Diplomas: Courses, seminars, congresses or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Note if you received any special honors.
  • Languages: This is extremely relevant to an international job. List which languages you speak and your level: advanced, intermediate or beginner. Point out if you can translate, speak, or write in each language and list any associated degrees. If you are submitting your resume in French and it is not your first language, be sure to have a native speaker read it first. Punctuation and grammar are extremely important.
  • Computer Skills: Programs, applications, word processing, database, Internet experience, etc.
  • Interests: You may include personal interests such as hobbies, sports, activities.

Tips

  • Style should be straightforward. Use standard paper and a simple font, such as Times New Roman (12 font) or Arial (10) font
  • Print original copies on high quality paper - don't send photocopies.
  • Be neat. Take care with the presentation, design, spaces, and spelling of your resume. Don't use abbreviations. Emphasize sections and things that are important with underlines or bold type.
  • Make sure your CV is as organized as possible, so the information can be found easily.
  • Have a base CV that you can adjust to each job you are applying for.

For more information about writing a French CV, use a CV guide.

Cover Letter

A cover letter (lettre de motivation) usually accompanies a CV in a job application. In the format of a letter, it establishes your tone and intent. Also known as a cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, or letter of motivation. The cover letter may be requested to be hand-written although it is less often requested nowadays. Some employers ask for handwritten letters so that they can do a handwriting analysis. This will be note in the ad.

    Format
  • Header - Standard business letter style, with the sender's address and other information, the recipient's contact information, and the date sent after either the sender's or the recipient's address. The final part of the header is a salutation (e.g., "Dear Hiring Managers").
  • Introduction - The introduction briefly states the specific position desired, and should be designed to catch the employer's immediate interest.
  • Body - Highlights material in the resume or job application, and explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and would be of value to the employer. Also, matters discussed typically include skills, qualifications, and past experience. If there are any special things to note such as availability date, they may be included as well.
  • Closing - Sums up the letter and indicates the next step the applicant expects to take. It may indicate that the applicant intends to contact the employer, although many favor the more indirect approach of simply saying that the applicant will look forward to hearing from or speaking with the employer. After the closing is a valediction ("Sincerely"), and then a signature line. Optionally, the abbreviation "ENCL" may be used to indicate that there are enclosures.

Resources

For some basic templates for CVs and cover letters, try the guide to Cover letter in French.

Job Search

    A checklist of what you need to start your career:
  • Write a curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Research potential employers
  • Find job opportunities
  • Write cover letters
  • Complete job applications
  • Interview
  • Follow-Up
  • Get hired!

French Employment Agency

  • Pôle emploi is the national agency for employment. It has a large number of offices across the country that offer job listings and resources. These are mostly manual and unskilled positions (in French only).
  • The Agence pour l'Emploi de Cadres (APEC) is the French national agency for employment of professionals and executives.

Search Engines

Search engines allow you to scan a great variety of jobs, an narrow down your search on certain criteria. It is also a good idea to post your CV online so hiring managers can find you. They may also allow you to sign-up for e-mail alerts of when new jobs become available.

Organizations

There are also organizations that help job seekers find positions within their organization, or with their partners.

Newspaper

Newspaper listings and magazines may seem a little old-fashioned, but these Job Listings may still prove helpful. You can also try placing your own ad.

EURES

As part of the EU, job seekers can access the European job mobility portal EURES. This resource provides information about job vacancies and the labor market. It also provides information on the living and working conditions, and a CV posting service.

Forums

Expat and social forums are another resource for job seekers. EasyExpat's job listings for France are a great resource. Search by industry and browse the latest jobs.

Recruitment Agencies

Most agencies specialize in a particular field, such as computers, nursing, secretarial work, accounting, catering, or construction. There are also "Head hunting" agencies that are hired by large companies to recruit executives, managers or professionals. Many offer bilingual positions at an administrative or executive level. You can register by email but will probably be offered an initial interview in order to discuss your work experience and aspirations.

Career Fairs

Career fairs are an excellent way to find out about available jobs and opportunities. There are usually a large variety of employers you can visit in one day and apply. Entrance is usually free, but registering online might be encouraged. Bring your resume and dress to impress as there may be interviews on the spot.

Networking

Sometimes getting a job is about knowing the right people. Talk to friends, family, and business contacts to see if they have connections in the area you would like to work. Chat with expats through the network and look out for expat events in Paris.

Teaching English

Native English speakers can often find positions teaching English. Language schools may require applicants to have TEFL course certificates and a college degree. You must have adequate visa clearance and registration.

Schools usually supply the intent to employ form, so the teacher may secure a visa. Pay is adequate for living in France, but usually isn't a high-paid position. Speaking French will usually increase your job opportunities, but private schools may hire native English speakers for English-immersion classrooms where no French is spoken.

Search for English Teaching Position

Placement agencies or university fellowship programs are the best resources for finding teaching jobs. The alternative is to contact schools directly within France.

Applicants usually submit their resume and application, and if the school approves, the applicant will be asked for an interview. The interview may consist of a sample lesson or a grammar test. Some schools will throw teachers right in for a 90 minute class where the school observes and either offers the job, or does not. It is common for new teachers to only receive a few classes at first. If they are able to prove themselves reliable and are able to handle a class, they will gradually be given more classes. Some teachers work at two schools or supplement by giving private lessons.

Agencies:

Private Classes

It is also an option to work for yourself by giving private lessons. These are usually more profitable per hour, but require a lot more work finding and keeping customers. The best way to get private students is to post advertisements in business newspapers, on bulletin boards, or offer your resume on expat site's like Easy Expat's Teaching Job Listings. Having basic native language skills will help expand your clientele as you can then work with beginners.

Teaching English Certificates

TESOL (also known as TEFL) is the acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. A TESOL certificate is the most common qualification required to teach English abroad. There are a wide variety of TESOL courses available, ranging from 4-week intensive, classroom based TESOL courses with TEFL International, to TESOL courses studied online. It is even possible to combine a period of online study with a shorter classroom based course. In addition to standard TESOL certificate courses there are also more specialized courses such as courses for teaching business English, or teaching English to young learners. There is also the more advanced TESOL diploma course.

Another option for courses is WICE. It is a nonprofit anglophone volunteer-based association that offers accelerated courses. Courses take over four weeks with mornings devoted to teaching practice and afternoons for theory and practical teaching techniques.

Interview

Interviews are a chance for a company to get to know you before hiring you. Research the company before the interview to discover their missions and direction. It is not uncommon for there to be a series of interviews, with the first lasting 30-60 min, and further meetings possibly taking an entire day.

  • Dress neatly and conservatively.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Bring your CV, business card, and copies of certificates.
  • Ask questions. Demonstrate your knowledge and interest.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time.

Contract

Most jobs rely on an employment contract. The contract must be in writing and can include details of the type of work to be done, duration, salary, and benefits.

It is common to have a probational period at a new job. The length and requirements of this period should be detailed within the contract, including what should happen if either side wishes to terminate the contract.

For complete information on contracts in France, refer to the contract section of "Work Usage".

Temporary Agencies

If you are in need of short term work of any kind, there are agencies that will find you employment with another company. Jobs may consist of office work, babysitting, gardening, security or any other types of work. They will try to fit with occupations that fit your skill set. As an added bonus, sometimes short term work can lead to a longer contract.

Adecco is one of France's biggest temp agencies. They offer positions in every line of work.

Work Visas & Permits

For highly skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs and recent graduates from France universities: You do not need a job offer when you apply to enter or stay in the France in these categories, but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.

For skilled workers: If you have been offered a skilled job in the France and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you can apply to come or stay here to do that job.

Full details can be found in the Departure/Visa section and at the France Border and Immigration Agency website.

Full details can be found in the visa section and at the France Border and Immigration Agency website. Also look into the "Passport & Visa" section of the guide.


Update 13/02/2013



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