French CV

Want to find work in France? It’s time to polish the French CV and send applications. Chances are, in France, you will be asked to send a CV in French and English. The easy way to do this is to use Google Translate. However, building a French CV from scratch is highly praised.

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We will show you how to build a French CV. It will make all French recruiters say oui!

I am moving to France.  Need a CV that will open doors in France? One that puts forward all my skills. All the whilst sticking to local frameworks? What a great question!

The short answer is a clear yes. Looks like you need a French-type CV template to apply for jobs. Here’s how.

This French CV template guide will show you how to:

  • Structure your French CV.
  • Use the right vocabulary for the French employment market.
  • French Cover Letter and Interview.

In a rush to build your CV? Don’t have time to go through the entire blog and need a great CV in 5 minutes? Give our CV Creator a go. With more than 20 tailored CV to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice.

So if you are short of time, you can create your CV here.

How to structure a French CV

Many people believe a French CV is just like an American CV , the only change being the language.

False. Employers in France do not focus on CV soft skills like overseas recruiters. A CV for France will tempt you to focus on communication or leadership skills.  Actually, a French CV is more likely to be hard skills based.

These are the main features of a French CV:

  • Include a wide variety of personal details. This can include your nationality, date of birth, marital status.
  • Use the correct translation of your job roles and skills.
  • Find equal qualifications for the French employment market.
  • Ensure all grammar and spelling is accurate.

Your picture – Photo Professionelle

In France, unlike the United Kingdom, a passport-sized picture is favoured for your CV. It should sit in the top left-hand corner of the CV.

Pro tip: Don’t use a picture you took beside your friends. A CV is a professional document. It requires a pro-looking picture.

  • Professional picture (not taken in a nightclub or at a gig)
  • Good resolution (not blurred)
  • Formal Clothes and well-groomed
  • Plain background

Personal Details – Présentation

Place at the top of your CV your name, date of birth and contact details. Provide a professional email address and telephone number. Don’t forget to include the international dialling code. For France, it is +33 (0) 6 XX XX XX XX. Use a clear font that can be read easily by recruiters.

Pro Tip: Add a small personal statement (known as “projet professionel” to your présentation. This can include the following:

  • Past Work Achievements
  • Hard Skills developed
  • Soft Skills developed
  • How you fit in this firm
  • Personal Vision

Education – Formation

Outline your educational background in an anti-chronological manner.  Add your main school qualifications and grades. Make it easy for the employer to understand your academic background.

Work Experience – Expérience professionnelle

Insert all your work experience. Start with your most recent job position and work backwards. If you are seeking a career change, then make sure to start with the most relevant work position.

Include the time, role, company name and a brief overview of your main tasks within the role. Apply this methodology for every position held.

Hobbies – Centres d’intérêts

Tell the employer about your hobbies. What do you like doing in your spare time? List achievements and interesting facts that can attract the attention of the employer. Hobbies help understand the personality of an individual.

How to use right vocabulary on your CV

The french language is notorious for its difficulty to translate accurately certain feelings. A French employer will not go out of his way to understand your personal statement.

It is important to know the basic “work” related vocabulary. You can find it right here.

For example:

  • Competences Techniques = Hard Skills
  • Qualites Personnelles = Soft Skills

Equivalent Educational Grades for French CV

Read a French job offer for the first time. You may feel confused. Every country has their own educational system and examination process. In France, every year, thousands of schoolchildren pass their Baccalaureate. This is the equivalent of the A-Levels for the United Kingdom.

For a French CV, it is important to include the equivalent qualification for exams you have passed in the United Kingdom.

For example: Bac +5 means Baccalaureate plus 5 years of additional studies (Bachelor Degree and Master’s Degree)

Here is the list of equivalent examinations:

  • Baccalauréat: Year 13 A-Levels. This exam is necessary to apply for university. Three main baccalauréat exist (S (Sciences) , ES (Sciences Economiques et Sociales, L (Littérature) )
  • CAP (Certificat d’aptitudes professionnelles): If you do not pass the Baccalaureate, you can pass a CAP. The equivalent in the UK is National Vocational Qualification
  • BTS/ DUT/IUT : A certificate obtained after 2 years of additional studies. You can enter a professional job immediately after.HNC (Higher National Certificate) and HND (Higher National Diploma) are the United Kingdom equivalent.
  • License (Bac+3) : 3 years after completing the Baccalaureate, equivalent to an Undergraduate or Bachelor Degree (BA and BSC)
  • Master (Bac+5): 5 years after completing the Baccalaureate, equivalent to most Master’s degrees. Important to note, most master degrees in the UK last 1 year. In France, a Master’s degree lasts 2 years. One year of theoretical teaching and one year of practical training in a company abroad.
  • Doctorat (Bac+7) : 7 years after completion of Baccalaureate, equivalent to the Ph.D in the United Kingdom.

In terms of examination grading:

  • 70+% (First Class Honours 1st) – mention très bien
  • 60+% (Upper Second Class Honours 2:1) – mention bien
  • 50+% (Lower Second Class Honours 2:2)– mention assez bien
  • 40+% (Third Class Honours 3rd) – sans mention

Your Nationality on your French CV Template

You may not have gained fluency in French just yet, but your native language can still play a crucial part in your CV. France has a very bad reputation for English proficiency. In 2020, France ranked 28th amongst countries in Europe for english proficiency. Only 39% of the population is able to speak in basic English.

Be certain to add your cv language skills to your CV. It is a significant opportunity to leverage a skill that so many working people in France lack. Many French employers value language skills highly. They are important as a lot of international business is conducted in English. In order to determine your level of proficiency in English or other languages, use the CECRL framework.

Commonly referred to as the CEFR framework in English, you will be able to self-assess and grade your language skills. The grading is between A1 and C2.

French Cover Letter Tips

Contrary to the United Kingdom, the Cover letter or lettre de motivation remains a prized document. It is typically required to be written by hand.

Here is what to include in your French Cover letter:

  • Insert your name and address in the top left corner.
  • Mention job reference in the top right corner.
  • Cover letter should be no more than 20 lines.
  • Use hard skills to demonstrate your recent accomplishments.
  • Provide references.

Pro Tip: Ensure you have references to back up your claims. A study conducted in 2012 concluded more than 80% of recruitment managers contacted references before making a decision.

Key points for your French CV

When writing a French CV, keep the following in mind:

  • Demonstrate how you developed your hard skills .
  • Ensure you know the equivalent certificate for your qualifications and its grading.
  • Use the right spelling and grammar throughout.
  • Self-assess your language skills and create a language section.

That’s it. You are all ready to build a French CV and find a job. If you are still unsure how to create a French CV and require more help, please feel free to reach out by clicking here.

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