French CV

WRITING A FRENCH CV

When applying for a job in a French-speaking country, your resume needs to be in French, which is more than a matter of translation.

The first thing you need to know is that the word resume is a false friend in French and English. Un résume means a summary, whereas a résume refers to a CV (curriculum vitae). When applying for a job with a French company, you need to provide un CV, not a résume.

You must keep your French CV to one page only (A4/single side).

Don’t forget to send your French CV in PDF, to avoid any modification when the receiver opens it!

Step 1

Basic information about yourself has to appear distinctly on top of your French CV:

  • First Name
  • Last name
  • Age (optional)
  • Nationality (optional)
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Driver’s licence/if you have a car

If you are bilingual in any other language you should mention it on top as well.

Still on the top of your French CV, you can add a picture of yourself, but choose something neutral (colour or black & white: it doesn’t really matter).

Also mention the job your are applying to.

Eg : Looking for a position as an event project manager

Step 2

Your French CV will be divided in 4 parts. 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES

(Expériences professionnelles)

Retrace each experience by chronologic order, from the newest to the oldest one.

Put as many details as possible, such as:

  • Name of the company
  • The country
  • Your position
  • Missions you completed (bullet points)
  • Time and duration

EDUCATION

(Formation)

Once again, list them by chronologic order, from the most recent to the oldest.

  • Diploma
  • School
  • Year
  • Country

SKILLS

(Competences)

In this part, you will list your computer (operating systems/software programs) and language skills.

Language skills:

*Proficient – Lu, écrit, parlé
*Fluent – Courant
*Bilingual – Bilingue
*Native language – Langue maternelle

If you passed some tests you should mention your score. 

INTERESTS

(Centres d’intérêt)

List your hobbies and travels but limit this section to 2 or 3 lines.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

The employer will first skim through your French CV, in 30 seconds, to make sure you have the capacities required for the job. To help him, put the main elements in bold: the name of your companies, your different occupations and your schools names.

A clear layout is important. The recurring elements such as the name of cities and the date have to be on the left in front of an experience, or at least at the same place for all of them.

The four parts must appear clearly.

You should use the same font.

Maybe add some colours to attract the employer.

SOME ADVICE

Your French CV has to be concise: make short sentences and show the main ideas. The interview will be the occasion to give more details.

Do not repeat the same info: if you have done similar jobs, try to change your skills gained.

Focus on the important information (don’t put your marital status for example).

If you have too many experiences, forget about the oldest ones and the ones that are not connected to the job offer.

If you have a period of professional inactivity, try to value it with a personal experience instead (travel, formation, humanitarian aid…).

Make sure there are no spelling/syntax mistakes. Make sure another person reviews your French CV.

Now you’re ready to look for a job !

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