How to find a job in France with the basic French?

Getting a job in France and Lyon with a basic French is possible!

I didn’t believe in that before but I never lost hope. So now I can share with you some tips on how to get to the French job market place with the basic French. Let me start by saying that I’m not an expert or specialist in finding a job but I got some experience in France and finally I got a job!

Finding a job in France

My situation seemed to be the worse case scenario: health issues, almost 4 years out of work, basic French, zero experience in the French job market yet I made myself not to focus on the obstacles but have a dream I follow …so I did…I had my ups and downs and in the middle of the searching when I got tired, unmotivated and sad, I found and I read a post of a girl who has been searching for a job in Lyon and found it. At the beginning it put me down even more… everyone gets a job but not me!…but I kept reading and at the end she wrote… never give up as bad as it looks… never give up …so I added my motto: if you keep searching and searching, you will finally find it, just continue to learn being patience because it happens very rare that you get what you want asap and for the good things it’s worth waiting (it applies to everything in life, doesn’t it?).

Finally I got a job and this is how happy I am!

Anyways, I’m sorry for being sentimental, but I just wanted to say that every little counts. It’s important to look at the positive things rather than the negatives which put you down. So I hope you can get recharged with the positive energy after reading this post and for this reason only I decided to share a bit of my story with you.

But back to the topic, I want to finally show you my  list of tips on finding a job in France with the basic French:

  • Register with the local job centre. Even if you are not entitled to the monthly money support, you can benefit from the advice, trainings, access to job fairs, large database of job offers and also courses which the job centre might reimburse you and it’s not all because you also get access to the database of many contacts in the companies where you want to work. I need to admit, as annoying as it was to attend all the meetings and updating the account, I learned a lot about searching for a job in France

    Register with local job center
    Register with local job center
  • Because you have to learn that searching for a job in a different country is different from what you are used to. For example: CV and motivation letter! Take your time to write CV as this is the first thing that the potential employer see. If your CV is old, not updated, long, boring, you even won’t be picked up for the interview. I needed to change mine into one page, colour CV with a photo as this is a common practice in France. As my main language is English, I did two CVs: obligatory French version and the English one.

    Searching and finding a job in France is complicated
    Searching and finding a job in France seems complicated
  • Motivation letter. OMG. I was so against it. I couldn’t understand why I have to write it if noone is reading it. Because it’s true, I would say 80% of employers won’t read it yet it’s extremely important to attach it always when providing your CV. I think if you won’t do it, your application will be rejected straight away. At the end I understood how it works. Some of employers will read it later in the recruitment process and if you are not providing it at the beginning it is seen as disrespectful, not professional and shows that either you don’t follow common rules or you don’t care about the job offer. So I started to write and rewrite motivation letters and got more invitations for interviews.

    Motivation letter is essential in the recruitment process
    Motivation letter is essential in the recruitment process
  • Now about searching. So, sign up to as many websites which display job offers as you want such as: Monster,,, RhoneAlpes . Opening an account isn’t as difficult and time consuming as I thought. Most of them are connected to LinkedIn where I highly recommend to update your profile and use it when applying for a job. For me, it’s a must to have it up to date as I think it’s the first place where the employers are going to learn more about you. Also, it’s worth knowing that once you opened or you decided not to open an account on those websites, you are still entitled to sign up for job alerts in accordance to your preferences. I agree, there are many jobs which repeat themselves in each of these websites but if you want to be very precise in your researchers you need to follow few of them.

    Search for the job properly
    Search for the job properly
  • Remember also that there are also job offers websites which are related only to the specific industry for example fashion job offers or international job offers etc. They are useful if you know what you want and so you can save time of going through many unrelated offers.
  • About French job centre – pole emploi. I’m quit impressed. Even if they won’t find you a job or course to register for, they have huge database which you can access. Because they display their offers and offers from partner websites. Once you registered with your local pole emploi, you can create up to 5 profile CVs and register to job alerts. The useful thing is the database of main contacts from the companies that match your preferences so you can reach over to them directly. You can also find free and paid courses to change or upgrade your qualifications. In many cases, pole emploi will refund you the course if you can justify its necessity in finding a job.
  • A little tip: when you are registered as unemployed you get many discounts for visiting museums, conferences, fairs etc.

    Act! Take things in your hands
    Act! Take things in your hands
  • A big tip: Most importantly and first of all, never give up as bad as you feel. And even if you are discouraged or tired, will come eventually

    Be ready for a change!
    Be ready for a change!
  • Anything else?

Did you find it useful? Is there anything else you can add? Do you have any experience with searching for a job in France? Please share with me.

Good luck and enjoy every day of your current or future job!



I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

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