What You Need on a French Résumé

Handing him her resume
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When applying for a job in a French-speaking country, your résumé needs to be in French, which is more than a matter of translation. Aside from the obvious language differences, certain information that may not be required — or even permitted — on résumés in your country is required in France. This article explains the basic requirements and formats of French résumés and includes several examples to help you get started.

The first thing you need to know is that the word résumé is a false cognate in French and English.Un résumé means a summary, whereas a résumé refers to un CV (curriculum vitae). Thus, when applying for a job with a French company, you need to provide un CV, not un résumé.

You might be surprised to learn that a photograph as well as some potentially delicate personal information, such as age and marital status, are required on a French résumé. These can and will be used in the hiring process; if this bothers you, France may not be the best place for you to work.

Categories, Requirements, and Details

The information that generally needs to be included on a French résumé is summarized here. As with any résumé, there is no one "right" order or style. There are infinite ways to format a French résumé — it really just depends on what you want to emphasize and your personal preferences.

Personal information
 - Situation personnelle et état civil

  • Last name (in all caps) - Nom de famille
  • First name - Prénom
  • Address - Adresse
  • Phone number, including international access code - Numéro de téléphone
    * Work phone - bureau
    * Home phone - domicile
    * Mobile phone - portable
  • Email - adresse e-mail
  • Nationality - Nationalité
  • Age - Âge
  • Marital status, number, and age of children - Situation de famille
    * Single - célibataire
    * Married - marié(e)
    * Divorced - divorcé(e)
    * Widowed - veuf (veuve)
  • Passport-sized, color photograph

 - Project Professionnel or Objectif

  • Short, precise description of your skills and/or short-term career goals (i.e., what you'll bring to this job).

Professional Experience
 - Expérience professionnelle

  • Thematic or backwards chronological list
  • Name of company, location, dates of employment, title, job description, responsibilities, and notable achievements

 - Formation

  • Only the highest diplomas you have obtained.
  • Name and location of school, dates, and degree earned

(Language and Computer) Skills
 - Connaissances (linguistiques et informatiques)

   Languages - Langues

  • Don't exaggerate your language skills; they're very easy to verify.
  • Qualifiers:
    * (Basic) knowledge - Notions
    * Conversant - Maîtrise convenable, Bonnes connaissances
    * Proficient - Lu, écrit, parlé
    * Fluent - Courant
    * Bilingual - Bilingue
    * Native language - Langue maternelle

   Computers - Informatique

  • Operating systems
  • Software programs

Interests, Pastimes, Leisure Activities, Hobbies
 - Centres d'intérêt, Passe-temps, Loisirs, Activités personnelles/extra-professionnelles

  • Limit this section to three or four lines.
  • Consider the value of what you choose to include: list things that make you sound interesting, that set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
  • Be prepared to discuss these with the interviewer (e.g., "How often do you play tennis? What's the last book you read?")

Types of French Résumés

There are two main types of French résumés, depending on what the potential employee wants to emphasize:

  1. Chronological résumé (Le CV chronologique): Presents employment in reverse chronological order.
  2. Functional résumé (Le CV fonctionnel): Emphasizes career path and achievements and groups them thematically, by field of experience or sector of activity.

Résumé Writing Tips

  • Always have a native speaker proofread the final version of your résumé. Typos and mistakes look unprofessional and cast doubt on your stated French ability.
  • Keep résumé brief, concise, and direct; one or two pages maximum.
  • Spell out names of US states and Canadian provinces, rather than using abbreviations like NY or BC.
  • If applying for a job where fluency in another language is required, consider sending a résumé in that language along with the French one.
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Team, ThoughtCo. "What You Need on a French Résumé." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, thoughtco.com/what-you-need-french-resume-4086499. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). What You Need on a French Résumé. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-you-need-french-resume-4086499 Team, ThoughtCo. "What You Need on a French Résumé." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-you-need-french-resume-4086499 (accessed May 29, 2023).