The labor market in France

Finding a job in France is not easy. The unemployment rate is high in the country, about 9% of the population, coupled with a long-term unemployment rate of about 4 to 5%. The industrial sector has lost many jobs in recent years and the French economy has suffered from the economic and financial crisis of the recent months. 

In spite of the current economic context, France is experiencing workforce shortages in many key sectors of its economy such as IT, engineering, finance, but also in the construction and plumbing sectors 

Labour pools are mainly located around Paris, the richest region in Europe, but also in main regional economic areas such as Marseilles, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Strasbourg. 

The French minimum wage is called "SMIC" ("Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance") and is set at €8.82 per hour - €1,337.70 per month gross. 

The legal working time is generally set between 35 and 40 hours per week. Adjustments are possible up to 48 hours per week. In any case, working hours can not exceed 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week. 

Writing a "French CV":  

A French CV must include 5 main categories: personal data, education, professional experience, skills, and personal interests. Unlike the English CV, you should not entitle your French CV "Curriculum Vitae". Attaching a photo on your CV is not mandatory but may prove useful. In general, information is listed from most recent to oldest. A French CV can include one or two pages, depending on the candidate's experience. Be concise and avoid spelling mistakes at any rate! 

For more information about to write a French CV, please refer to the national employment agency website at

Writing a "French cover letter":  

The cover letter "à la française" ("lettre de motivation") must serve as a complement to your CV. Your cover letter should also highlight your writing skills, your ability to summarize and your ability to "advertize" yourself. It must be tailored to the company you are sending your application to, and to the desired position. The cover letter can be typed, except if a handwritten letter is specifically requested. It is then up to you to put the emphasis on your personal and professional skills and explain why your application is particularly relevant to the position you are applying to. Finally: stand out of the crowd and get yourself noticed! Clearly show your motivation and your determination. It is important to write a letter in perfect French without typing or spelling mistakes. Stay formal and use common forms of address. 

For more information about how to write a French cover letter, please refer to the national employment agency website at

  Useful links: 

Pôle Emploi - French national employment agency - English version

Pôle Emploi - how to write a CV « à la française »

Pôle Emploi - how to write a cover letter « à la française »

HERVER contributor
Member since 28 July 2008
Évian, France
1 Comment
last year

This is a good read. All the links however go to the same page - . There is no difference in links although they are written different. Did they change? Is there another way to access the useful links mentioned?

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