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How to create the perfect CV for a job in France

Dernière mise à jour : 30 nov. 2023

Writing a CV in a language that is not your native tongue can be terrifying. That's why we've dedicated this entire blog post to help you put together a powerful and professional French CV,

We've outlined 5 tips and tricks that should help you land your dream job in France. Needless to say, there will be differences between an American and a French CV, so simply translating your English CV into French will not do.

How to structure a French CV?

Choose a clean-cut, professional template, but don't be afraid to add a touch of colour to stand out from the crowd. You can download some of our favourite templates that we've included below.

  • Make the experience of reading your resume as pleasant as possible for recruiters by using a legible font. They will only spend a few seconds scanning it for the key information.

  • Set the line spacing to between 1 and 1.15 and the margins to 2.54 cm.

  • Include a photo of yourself. In France the photo is viewed positively since it gives the CV a more personable touch.

  • Less is more - so write your resume on only one, maximum two, pages

3 examples of modern CVs
Check out these CV examples!

Important vocabulary to use in a French CV

Although this point may seem obvious, not every translation you discover online is accurate. To help you avoid mistakes. We've selected some of the most essential terms and translated them for you. It could be extremely helpful to look through similar French accounts on LinkedIn.

General Terms
  • Education – Scolarité

  • Training, course – Formation qualifiante

  • Certificate, Degree – Diplôme

  • Skills – Compétences

  • Interests, hobbies – Centres d’intérêts, loisirs

  • Interview – Entretien, entretien d’embauche

Professional experience
  • Work experience, career summary, work history – Expérience professionnelle

  • Role, position – Poste

  • Currently, present, current position, “year / date” onwards – En cours

  • Outline, role description/summary – Description du poste

  • Responsibilities, key responsibilities – Responsabilités

  • Achievements, accomplishments – Réussite

Personal Information
  • Personal, personal details – Informations personnelles

  • First name, Surname – Prénom, Nom de famille

  • Email, email address – Email

  • Telephone, telephone number, phone number – Numéro de téléphone

  • Address – Adresse

  • Postal code, zip code, postcode – Code postal

  • Street name, road name – Rue

  • Place of residence, city, town – Ville

  • Date of birth, Place of birth– Date de naissance, Lieu de naissance

  • Gender, sex – Sexe

Why you must include a personal statement when applying for jobs in France

On French CVs, the profile section is not always included but a statement summarising your profile is now common practice and can only improve your resume. The personal statement is an opportunity for you to introduce your application to the employer. It could be a résumé of your previous experience or an objective.

If you have accomplishments and professional experience to enhance your application, use the summary. If not, use the aim to describe your career goals and interest in the job.

Here is an example of a resume summary:

  • Put your best qualities first, and match your talents to the job description.

  • Talk about your qualifications and achievements.

  • Mention the job and the business that you're applying to

  • Describe the goals and motivation

  • Explain your current situation (gap year, graduated…)

An Example:

A CV summary written in French
Check out our CV summary in French

Include your personal experience

This section is without doubt the most important. To make an impression, you should move with confidence. Make it clear to potential employers that you have professional experience (Expérience Professionnelle) and that you will contribute to results.

Here's how to go about it:

  • From most recent to least recent, list your experience in reverse chronological order

  • Include dates, your title, the company, and the place the company is located.

  • Up to five bullet points should be used to list your tasks

  • Use Key actions verbs to highlight your role and responsibilities such as:

- Managed a team of

- Oversaw the X strategy

- Contributed to the development of X

- Led research

- Designed / developed

- Coordinated, operated, produced and planned

Important and relevant skills to include in your French CV

In order for the hiring manager to decide whether you are what they have been looking for all along, you must be straightforward about your skills (Compétences). This can be done by including the most relevant skills in your French resume. Here's how it's done:

A list of skills useful for a CV written in French
List of skills
  • Carefully read the job description, looking for keywords that refer to the qualities your potential employer seeks

  • Make a master list of the skills you are aware of.

  • Look online for the most sought after key skills in 2023

  • Check the job description and list only those that match on your French resume.

Avoid these when interviewing for a job in France

  • Even if the person interviewing you is your age or younger, always address them as "Madame" or "Monsieur" and use "vous" instead of "tu".

  • Even if kisses on the cheek are common in France, you should only shake hands in formal situations.

  • Despite the fact that you were employed abroad, resist the temptation to exaggerate your employment history. French hiring managers could call to double-check.

  • The interviewer should never be interrupted.

  • Do not show up for the interview unprepared. It is recommended that you prepare at least two questions and review important vocabulary, especially if French is not your first language.

Download our templates!

Template 1
Télécharger DOCX • 244KB

Template 2
Télécharger DOCX • 211KB

Template 3
Télécharger DOCX • 169KB

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