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How to find work in France

work in franceThe majority of expats who work in France are self-employed, not necessarily because they want to be but because finding a job in France can be very difficult for anyone but especially so for expats.

Finding a job in France is not easy at the best of times and these difficult days of recession and yo-yoing currencies it can feel almost impossible. Employers often extend short term contracts called CDDs to avoid taking on permanent staff since is it notoriously difficult and costly to sack or make redundant an employee.

The easiest way to get a job in France is to apply for a relocation in your current job; banks, hotels, restaurants and several other industries can facilitate this – it’s worth asking if you work for a company that has offices in France. This is particularly relevant to those from non-EU countries who need to get a visa to work in France.

By far the most common way of finding work in France is by networking – knowing someone who is looking for someone or who knows someone who is looking for someone! We talked to Matthew Feroze, the 2013 French Cheesemonger Champion, previously an English Civil Servant. He told us that he networked from London to give himself the best possible chance of a job in his chosen field (read Matthew’s story: English Civil Servant becomes big cheese in France).

Be prepared for the search to take time, even if you get an interview there can be months of waiting until you get a confirmation of the job – or not. If you don’t have a job lined up, make sure that you have enough money to survive for at least six months and if possible, longer.

If you are not familiar with a “European” style French CV get yourself to a branch of the French Government employment agency as soon as possible. You can register for jobs there but you don’t have to. More importantly you can use their resources – attend a free CV course and how to write a letter of motivation with your application which is essential in France.

You may find that you will need to be flexible and have to consider jobs outside your normal realm of expertise and far from what you wish to be doing. One lady we know who was an IT expert in London now works part time as a teacher and part time in the catering industry. You have to be determined and pragmatic sometimes to make the dream come true…

Top Tips for finding a job in France

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