top of page

Writing a French CV and interview tips

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

A manual on how to produce an updated cv and a cover letter in the French manner, as well as advice on how to succeed in job interviews, to offer you the greatest possible opportunity of finding work in France.

Finding work in France may be a time-consuming process. If you want to boost your chances of being recruited for a job in France and you have already found one that you are interested in, it is crucial to present your cover letter or curriculum vitae (CV) in a manner that interviewers in France anticipate using. Because the word résumé in French only translates to "summary," the phrase "un CV" or "un curriculum vitae" is the more common term to use in France.

There is more to creating a curriculum vitae in French than just translating the CV you used in your home country. If you want to increase your chances of finding a job in France, you should display your talents in a manner that is typical of a French curriculum vitae. It is also important to be aware of what to anticipate during a job interview in French to prevent embarrassing behavioral gaffes. The following are some helpful hints that may be used while looking for work in France.


Do you want your application for a job in France to stand out? You can make your resume stand out from the crowd by using the extensive collection of layouts, fonts, and illustrations that are available to you via Canva. They also make it simple to generate professional-looking presentations, graphs, and other materials, such as business cards. Canva can help you bring your designs to life, no matter what they are.

Jobs in France: the application

You may submit your application for a job in France via e-mail, using an online application procedure, or by sending your CV. These are the three options available to you.

Write your application in French or English.

Your cover letter and curriculum vitae should be written in the language of the job advertisement. You should probably be ready to submit a curriculum vitae and a cover letter written in French. Even for positions that need more than one language, you can be required to give both.

Before you send in your application in French, you should have a native speaker go through your curriculum vitae and cover letter to check for any grammatical or spelling issues in your French curriculum vitae. If you are submitting in French, this step is very important.

Writing a French-style CV

Be sure to keep your curriculum vitae official and brief. When applying for a senior post, your cover letter should not take up more than two or three sides of an A4 sheet. If it is a less senior job, you should just put it to one side.

To begin, please provide your full name, current residence, age, telephone number, e-mail address, and marital status. In the order of a person's name, the surname comes first in France. Be transparent about your country of origin. Mention the fact that you possess a work visa for France.

Next, you should add a professional project, which is a brief statement that outlines who you are and what you want to accomplish in your career.

Please provide your professional experience or employment history in reverse chronological order. Please include the name of the employer, as well as the industry in which it operates if it is a foreign business. After this, provide numbered points for each of the responsibilities.

Education or character development follows next. Include all of your educational accomplishments, such as industry certifications and training; in France, educational credentials are held in very high esteem. If your schooling is one of your strongest qualifications, include it first.

The next step is languages. In particular, draw attention to the fact that you have a command of more than one language. Indicate your native language and describe your degree of competence in other languages, including French if you are currently enrolled in language classes in that subject. Do not become too confident in your French ability.

Under informatique, list technical skills.

Include any interests you have under the heading "centers d'intérêt," particularly if they are pertinent to the position you are applying for. Get yourself ready to discuss them in an upcoming interview by reading up on them. Please provide a listing of your professional affiliations in the proper location.

Be honest. Do not believe that a corporation would not check just because it is located in another country.

Even if it is not required, a picture of passport size is often requested by French employers in addition to the curriculum vitae. Pick a portrait of yourself that exudes professionalism and is suitable for the job you are applying for. Despite how tempting it may seem, you should avoid cutting people out of group photos.

There are several resources available to you on the internet that may assist you in enhancing your CV in French, including the following:

Canva offers a wide variety of CV templates and can guide you in the creation of a resume that has an appealing format.

Europass – provides French CV templates

TopCV – an online CV-checking service

French-style cover letter

You have the option of typing your cover letter, also known as une lettre de motivation or writing it by hand using an ink pen and writing paper of high quality. Some French organizations use graphologists to examine handwriting to evaluate applicants for open positions. In the top left corner, write down your name and address; in the top right corner, write down the name and address of the person who will be processing your application; and in the bottom left corner, write down a job reference, if you have one.

The letter should not be too lengthy; aim for keeping it between 15 and 20 lines at most. Put your most recent employment experience front and center. Explain, with the use of some concrete illustrations, why you should be hired rather than someone else for the position.

You do not need to mail any references or educational credentials; rather, you should bring these items with you to the interview. However, research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that references are among the top three methods of selection used by hiring managers when choosing acceptable applicants for a variety of positions. You may obtain assistance from in putting together your work references.

French job interviews and the selection procedure

It is not unusual to have to go through up to four job interviews to get certain positions in France. Before going in for a job interview in France, you should conduct some research about the firm and the position you are looking for, and you should also be familiar with French employment terminologies such as CDIs (permanent contracts) and CDDs (contracts de durée indéterminée) (temporary contracts). You should be there on time, be completely familiar with your resume, be ready to explain how your previous experience is relevant to the position and come prepared with a few questions for the people who will be conducting the interview.

In addition to evaluating your expertise and talents, those interviewing in French will consider your personality as well. During an interview, for instance, a psychological test might be administered, or you might be asked to write a brief letter of motivation by hand so that a graphologist can evaluate your personality and provide feedback to the people who are interviewing you regarding your potential for success in the role. You will be required to demonstrate that you are proficient in French for the majority of positions.

Because the French corporate culture tends to be hierarchical, it is important to show respect at all times. It is not typical for a French interview to have light banter or joking about it, so you should not count on either to put you at ease. In the same vein, you should not make jokes or remarks that are too familiar to you, and you should steer clear of employing slang phrases or casual conjugations. It will not come across as nice at all; rather, it will come across as unprofessional. Be extremely courteous and upbeat, but avoid being boastful.

French interview tips

● You need to make sure that you dress and groom appropriately.

● When addressing the interviewer, you should refer to them as Monsieur or Madam.

● Always say vous and not tu, especially if the interviewer is younger or the same age as you. Wait for the interviewer to ask you to tutor them.

● Shake hands on greeting – absolutely no kissing in interviews.

● Do not sit until you are invited.

● Be prepared to be asked personal questions, for example, if you’re married, or if you’re intending to have children

● Please refrain from interrupting the interviewer.

● Don’t trash previous employers.

● Stick to the truth and resist the need to embellish your employment history just because some of your previous positions were located in other countries. The French interviewers have the ability to email or pick up the phone to verify, and they do so on occasion.

● Provide examples to illustrate your achievements.

● Bring along copies of your professional references and educational credentials.

● If you have mentioned your hobbies in your CV, you should be prepared to answer questions about them.



bottom of page