Top Tips for Formatting Your CV for the French Job Market – Part One

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Top Tips for Formatting Your CV for the French Job Market – Part One

The global economic situation has led to competition in the job market getting ever fiercer, so even if there are a greater number of employment opportunities in your sector overseas you still need to give yourself the best possible chance of seeing off the other applicants.

Making the right first impression can be key, and while your English CV or US Resume might have been exactly what the job market in your home nation was looking for, if you’re trying to secure work in somewhere like France it just won’t cut the mustard.

Making no attempt to format your CV in the French style will put you on the back-foot from the start, and could even stop you getting an interview for the position.

But don’t worry, if you put in a little effort and follow our top tips you’ll soon have a très bien CV!

Use the Job Advertisement to help you decide on what language your CV should be in.

Generally speaking, if a job is advertised in English you should be fine submitting a CV written in English, but if the job is advertised in French you may need to translate your CV.

Obviously, putting the text into Google translate will not give you an accurate, or very readable, CV.

If you can’t write fluently in French yourself make sure to have someone who can look over your CV for you and make sure nothing’s been lost in translation.

Keep the professional and personal separate.

French CV’s have a professional tone, and little personal information is mentioned so don’t include things like your marital status, age etc.

The only personal information you really need to list is your name, phone number, email address and postal address.

Say cheese!

At one time it was expected that applicants would attach a photo of themselves to their CV. While not all employers expect a photo now, if you have a professional looking and sector-appropriate photo taken it can work to your advantage.

If you’re applying for a sales position, for example, a picture of you wearing a suit or smart clothing can show that you fit the professional image associated with the role.

A cropped photo from your Facebook page, on the other hand, would probably work to your disadvantage. If you decide to include a photo in your application make sure it presents you in the best light possible.

Previous employment.

In France the previous employment/experience section of a CV typically carries the most weight. Make sure to order the jobs you list from the most recent and bullet point the main responsibilities you had in each position, as well as the key skills you had to demonstrate. Although many people writing a French CV condense it onto one page, if you’ve got a lot of relevant previous experience or have additional qualifications (first aid training etc) don’t be afraid to spread it over two pages.

That being said, do make sure to present things clearly and simply. A big block of text can be off-putting and it can be difficult for your potential employer to spot your skills/attributes.

Join us for Part Two and some more top tips!

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