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How to get a job in France

Moving to a new country can be daunting and if you don’t have a job lined up, this is likely to be one of your first priorities. Like all aspects of life, finding and successfully applying for work is done in a slightly different way wherever you are in the world. To put yourself ahead of the competition, or at least in the game, it is a good idea to do your research in advice. With this in mind, here is a guide to getting a job if it is France that you are moving to.

Ask about opportunities within your organisation

It may sound like an obvious suggestion, but it is a good idea to ask your current employer if there are any opportunities to work in France. People often don’t consider this, but switching to the Paris office of an international corporation can make the relocation process much smoother, even if you then look for work elsewhere once you are settled.

Where to find vacancies

Before you can apply for a job, you must spot a vacancy, and in the modern age there are plenty of places to look. In order to ensure that your search is exhaustive, use both new and old-fashioned resources at your disposal.

Make it known on social media and expatriate forums that you are looking for work so that the expat grapevine can get to work. Web searches are very useful and the following sites are particularly good for job hunters in France:





Listings in local newspapers, speaking with friends and visiting companies where you would ideally like to work are all also good strategies. Remember that a multi-pronged attack is most likely to yield results.

Make a job folder

There is an awful lot of paperwork required when hiring someone in France, especially if they are from another country. To show your organisational skills and cut down on any unnecessary time wasting, put all of the items you need into a job folder and carry it around for you. Make sure all of the following are inside:

·         Photocopies of your passport

·         Old payslips

·         Health card, known in France as your carte vitale

·         Working permit

·         Visa

·         Examples of household bills, preferably in France

·         CV

Creating your CV

It is common to require a CV when applying for positions anywhere in the world, but each country has its own conventions. The main thing to remember with France is that these documents should be kept as concise as possible. This means a simple A4 page for junior roles and two pages if the job is a senior one.

Make sure that your CV is translated into French and if your written language skills are not up to this on your own, seek the help of a more experienced friend or professional. The time and expense will be worth it in the long-run.

In the UK it is not common practice to require a photo on CVs, but this is much more widely expected on the continent. Affix a passport-size headshot to the top right-hand corner of the document. Have these taken especially for the purpose, as holiday snaps and pictures from nights out will not do.

Respect formalities

Meeting a potential employer is a situation when it is important to get the right level of formality. In France, as in most places, it is best to air on the side of caution. Despite the French convention of kissing on each cheek, a handshake is a much more appropriate way to start any encounter with a new business contact.

A common mistake for non-native speakers is to use the ‘tu’ form of you, as opposed to the ‘vous’. This will come across as disrespectful and rude, so refrain from slipping into the friendly option and remain professional at all times.

Types of job

If you do get a job then it is a good idea to be up-to-speed on the French employment system, which can be quite confusing. Be sure to know the working differences between the following:

·         CDIs – permanent contracts

·         CDDs – temporary contracts

·         Cadres – management positions

·         Non-cadres – non-management positions

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