When arriving in France from overseas we are all faced with the same problems. Predominantly, how do I find a job and how do I integrate into my new surroundings?
Before giving you some tips, I have to advise you that it’s not easy to find an English speaking job in France if you do not speak French. Of course, your job can be in English but all of the informal stuff that happens at the coffee machine for example, at lunch or even sometimes in a meeting will be in French. It's really necessary to speak some French to be able to integrate with your colleagues. My advice is to show at your future employer that you’re super motivated to learn the French language.
1. Learning French
First things first, learning French. If you want to be more confident and reduce anxiety during the interviews, I highly recommend you learn French to level (B1/B2). This is the level lots of employers look for but it will also mean you are able to have an intermediate level conversation with your colleagues. There are plenty of language courses in Lyon that can help you get started. You can also find private language tutors on websites like Leboncoin or various expat websites. Arrange to meet French people socially, watch French TV, listen to French radio, lock yourself in a room with a French grammar book or do your best to meet a French lover, just do whatever it takes for you to learn the language!
You can also join our tailor-made French courses in a mini-group from A1 to B2 levels and participate in our ApéroExpats. All this will help you to learn the language, but, almost more importantly, it will help you learn about French culture and meet French people, which is KEY to getting a job.
2. Look at dedicated websites
My second tip is to refine your job search using websites dedicated to employment. Here are a few of the main dedicated websites to get you going:
Local.fr you will be to see the name of some international companies.
Pôle emploi - the national agency for employment has a large number of offices across the country. Amongst others, both manual and unskilled labor jobs are listed.
APEC - the French national agency for the employment of professionals and executives (Agence pour l'Emploi des Cadres).
LinkedIn - You should write, in the search bar, English speaking works like global international or Europe or EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa)
Even if the job description is French you can apply! Look at the add if it’s mentioned « anglais nécessaire », « anglais impératif » « langue de travail anglais » « maitrise de l’anglais ».
3. Search for the headquarter of French companies
My third tip is targeting French companies that have headquarters in France and have an international presence. You can have a look at the CAC 40 list (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAC_40). It’s the biggest private companies and big multinational groups. You can target also other companies in France with an international presence.
4. And also, government, embassies, NGO, UNESCO
My next tip is to think about targeting embassies, consulates, and other government organizations such as NGO, UNESCO. These organizations often require dual or multiple working languages, which might be an advantage if you speak other languages - just remember you'll still need French for the office gossip and getting on with the boss!
It’s always better going on their website one by one just in case if they didn’t list the job on the dedicated website like Indeed or LinkedIn.
5. Work as a freelance and work wherever you like!
There are a lot of websites where you can find opportunities. Here are some I recommend:
7. Work for yourself (microentreprise status)
You can do almost anything as a consultant/coach/counselor and you could provide services targeting English-speaking communities in France. If it's not possible to work for a French organization (until your French is up to scratch) why not make the most of your advantage in English. If you have an interest, a skill, a passion...why not give it a go. Moving to a new country it could be a good opportunity to reinvent yourself! If you like cooking, for example, you could provide bakery workshops for French kids who want to learn English. French parents will love it because they want their kids able to speak English or keep practicing English (if they spend time abroad)! And how could the kids not love a bakery workshop?!
If you already provide any services for expats or if you need the advice to help you start your activity in France, you can contact us, we will be happy to provide you with some advice. Also, we organize a dedicated workshop, called « design your IKIGAI » to help you find your reason for being and match some of your ideas to potential businesses.
A word of warning to freelancers and entrepreneurs be careful, once you have income, you will have to pay taxes.
8. Translate your resume/CV
Translate your resume into French, or at least add the French equivalents for job titles so recruiters have a better idea of how your experience from back home lines up in France. For example, a manager is a directeur/directrice and a communication officer would be a chargé de communication.
But be clear about your French level on your resume — don't exaggerate, this could set you up for embarrassment during the interview process and could hurt your chances for future opportunities at the company.
For regulated professions, you need to get an equivalency certification that is recognized in France through the CIEP. You may be required to take additional courses to practice in France. In some cases, your degrees or experience may not be recognized at all, which, I know, is extremely frustrating.
If you need some help for recasting or/and translating your CV in French, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
80% of the French job market is hidden, which means that the roles are not advertised. A lot of people get their job through their networks.
Why does networking works? Because workers have so many rights here in France so once the company takes the risk to hire you, it will very difficult to get rid of you. If someone can refer you, it will reassure the company. It's all about trust.
For effective networking in France, you should be very clear on what your qualifications are, what you want to do and speak to everyone you meet. It’s not easy and I know that it’s not always comfortable but it works. Never pass on an opportunity to go to networking events where professionals come together to share their experiences and learn more about the professional environment. Even if you don't meet someone in your exact field of work, you may meet someone who can introduce you to others (and being introduced by other ups the trust levels!). Also, one contact often leads to another and you never know when you'll meet someone who is looking for the same things you are offering.
Ask everyone you meet, « do you know anyone willing for a coffee or a quick call?"
Sojoourn has its own network and hosts each month ApéroExpats. It’s a gathering that brings together all our members. A great opportunity for networking!
Finding a job in France can be really tough and most of the time, it takes over 6 months for English-speaking people to find it. Another possibility can be doing a year’s study in an English speaking master’s program so that you will be able to do an internship for a company.
Be brave, remember networking is key and be ready to fill your diary with phone calls and coffee dates!
If you need more assistance, join us on Friday 29th November 2019, for a practical and interactive career day to boost your job search. Limited slots only. Register here: