Whether you come to France for a short term or forever – if you need to find a job, you’ll need to prioritise how, what and where.
Many people arrive in France from around the world with a dream to live and work in France but in these recession hit days – it really isn’t that easy.
With soaring unemployment in Europe and increasingly so in France you need to work at finding jobs in France. There are jobs, particularly in the IT industry but there are lots of people chasing them so do your best to be the best candidate.
If it is at all possible, try to sort something out before you go – even if it is a job that is not your dream job it will enable you to have an income and keep searching for something else without the stress of being unemployed.
1. If you don’t speak fluent French – make it your number one goal to do so. If you don’t speak French completely fluently – it will be a problem for almost all employers in France.
Take a French language course and practice, practice, practice. If at all possible mix with French speakers so that you pick up the nuances of the French language, listen to the radio (French radio station Paris Chanson [button to the right] is perfect for learning!), watch French TV and check out our easy tips to learn French quickly. Immerse yourself in French language as much as possible – it will help.
2. Network – in France or outside. We know of people who managed to get interviews in France because they had networked in their home countries beforehand. For instance Matthew Feroze, a Civil Servant from Britain, managed to get an interview with a cheese producer in Lyon because he networked in London through the cheese company’s UK shop. He got the job and has risen to the dizzy heights of the English cheesemonger champion of France.
Quite often foreigners in France employ other foreigners in France so go to places where you know you will meet able to meet other expats. Use Facebook and Twitter as networking opportunities and join expat groups.
3. You are likely to need to be pragmatic and flexible in your approach to finding work in France. You may have been a high powered executive back in London or New York but that might not be what you do in France. There are many stories where expats have had to be flexible in order to earn a wage. One thing to be aware of is the difficulty in changing careers in France. Jobs are almost considered vocational – whether it’s in retail – both on the shop floor or management, hotel, office work, tourism – almost every area of working in France requires a qualification and changing tack is not easy. If you change directions too many times and your CV reflects this – it can actually go against you in France.
4. Sign up with a good International recruitment company before you go if possible and when in France sign on with agencies and send them your French style CV.
5. Make sure you are on Linkedin – this is becoming increasingly popular with French employer.
Top sites and resources for job searches in France
Read Ten tips for helping you find jobs in France