French CV Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in France requires thorough preparation, starting with a successful application including the obvious French cover letter and French CV writing and translation. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in French jobs.

Do not underestimate the influence they can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.

Prepare yourself - before writing your CV find out information about the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV more effectively to each specific job and use of proper examples illustrating your achievements.

A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides more details about one’s professional qualifications, experience and education. However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distribute the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.

You can turn your current resume into a CV. A CV is similar to a resume in that it outlines your professional qualifications and history, but it does so with more detail by adding to the resume the detailed descriptions of your educational and/or professional experiences and personal information that may include nationality, date of birth, marital status, etc.

In job application process in France, the French language is recommended for the job cover letter and CV writing. 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.

A French CV is either reverse chronological CV - most recent activity first or functional CV - activities grouped thematically. Whichever style you choose, the CV should be brief, concise, direct and typed on one to two A4 pages at the most.

The aim of your French CV should be to persuade recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your CV is a marketing tool, which need be customized to the market in which you intend to use it. So, write an introduction that contains many power keywords and action verbs. Scanners that are programmed to select specific words notice these keywords.

Personal details must include your name, address with telephone number, nationality and civil status. Instead of your date of birth give your age but exclude your place of birth. Often 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 the international access code and e-mail are most important. Many applicants are attaching their color photo or scanning it onto the top right corner of the CV, however this is not obligatory.

Follow with “Education”, mentioning the highest diplomas you have obtained only. Give the name and location of each institution, your areas of study, degrees and dates of attendance. Also, mention any additional courses, internships or specialized training.

Begin the “Practical Experience” by describing your current position. For each position, provide starting and leaving dates, the name, location and focus of each company. Include concise details of what the job entailed, your title and responsibilities.

Make your French CV more effective by providing examples to illustrate your achievements. Use power words and action verbs such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc. Bullet point these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

At the end of the French CV, list special competencies, language skills with reference to the spoken and written levels, computer skills, professional affiliations and volunteer experience, if relevant, and state that “References available on request."

art_attention French CVIt is best to avoid putting references on your CV unless you have been specifically asked to provide them. Employers usually ask for references when they actually need them. This is strong indication that an employer is interested in you.

Finally, carefully consider what to leave out of your CV and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you.

It is more common in France to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic CV does not look the same as a standard CV, so make your CV scannable by avoiding for example lines or italic fonts etc.


Check the spelling and grammar of your French CV. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or French language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your CV, send it to a professional for assistance.

art_remember French CVRemember that your French CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have a difficulty with your CV writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

art_tip French CV

We recommend that you send your CV together with a cover letter. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:

Other French CV Info

If your French cover letter and French CV are ready, distribute them through the job search services to your prospective employers. When your French job search have been successful apply for the French visa with French work permit and start preparing for the French job interview using French dress code.

Check the job interview tips do's and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your French CV!

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