French Cover Letter Writing Guide
Work abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in France needs more than just the obvious French cover letter and French CV writing and translation - it requires thorough preparation. You will be forced to solve issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you decided to go for French jobs.
Do not take to lightly the huge influence the French cover letter can have on the result of your adventure! For instance, you will experience the strange immigration rules and practices, odd job application procedures, unusual selection trends and new to you management culture.
Your French cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. A personalized, targeted, well-written cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart, grab the employer's interest, and draw them in for a closer look at your CV.
Take the time to research every employer's organization and customize your French cover letter to fit the position. Personalize each letter with a real person’s name. Such personalization would increase retention of your application.
In French job application process, the French language is recommended for the job cover letter and CV. Many French speak and understand English, but prefer not to use it.
It is no problem to write your cover letter in English, although basic knowledge of the French is considered necessary to cope with daily office life and life outside work.
Many French employers use graphology in the job application process. A hand written job cover letter of not more than 10 to 15 lines in three or four paragraphs used to be submitted with your CV. Nowadays you do this when asked for it explicitly. The typewritten cover letters become a norm now.
As integral part of your job application, the French cover letter should refer to your present and future plans, showing your prospective employers what you want to do now and what you will do for them in the future. Recruiters and employers are interested mostly in the future of companies and organizations they represent.
In a cover letter, list your name, nationality and contact information including your address, phone/fax and e-mail. Often cover letters and CVs are kept on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number with international access code and e-mail address are most important.
Write your letter in a short and professional style using power words and action verbs. Be concise and get to the point as quickly as possible. Break any paragraph, which is longer then seven lines, into short easily understandable one.
Job applicants often attach to the cover letter a “Projet Professionnel” page comparable to a “Career Objective” in an American resume.
This is very short (in a few sentences) detailed description of what you hope to achieve professionally and socially, in line with your education, experience and skills, during a period of next several years. It contains information about the function, the level of responsibility and the salary level you would like to have, as well as the company type or style of the enterprise you would like to work for.
The “Projet Professionnel” does not replace the CV, but adds something extra to your job application. It makes your job search easier, because you and a prospective employer know exactly what you want.
Explain in why you respond to the vacancy and why you consider yourself the right person for the job - particularly when you are a foreign candidate. By quoting examples, emphasize how you can add value or contribute to the workplace in France.
Close your French cover letter with a sentence expressing your willingness to explain your application in more detail during a personal interview.
Check the spelling and grammar of your French cover letter. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and French or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your cover letter, send it to a professional for assistance.
If you have a difficulty with your French cover letter writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:
Other French Cover Letter Info
We hope that your French job search has been successful. So, if your French cover letter and French CV are ready, you may email them to your future employers, apply for French visa with French work permit and start preparing for a French job interview.
Good luck with your France cover letter!