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How to write a French cover letter

By Jean
Reading Time: 3 minutes
French cover letter

Writing a French cover letter, or “lettre de motivation,” can be a daunting task, especially for international students aiming to study and live in France. Just like your resume, your cover letter is a vital part of your application package. This guide will help you craft an impressive French cover letter, step by step.

How to Find a Job

For job search, we recommend you check the platform Jobaviz: https://www.jobaviz.fr and our blog article here: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/how-to-get-a-part-time-job-in-france/

This platform is the go-to site for student employment! It lists job offers from a wide range of employers. Aimed at a student audience, the job offers found on the platform are compatible with your student schedule. Many students successfully find jobs teaching their native language to French locals. Other part-time opportunities include working in restaurants, cafes, hotels, local stores, and more. 

French cover letter

Format & Content of a French Cover Letter

A French cover letter follows a specific structure, often more formal than what you might be used to in other countries. Here’s a basic outline:

  • Header: Include your contact information at the top left (name, address, phone number, and email). The recipient’s information goes below on the right (name, title, company or institution, and address).
  • Date: Write the date on the right below the recipient’s information.
  • Salutation: Start with a formal greeting such as “Madame, Monsieur,” or “Monsieur [Last Name]” or “Madame [Last Name]” if you know their name.
  • Introduction: Briefly introduce yourself and state the purpose of your letter.
  • Body: Explain why you are a good fit for the position or program. Highlight your qualifications, experiences, and motivation.
  • Conclusion: Reiterate your interest and express a desire for an interview or further discussion.
  • Signature: Close with a formal sign-off like “Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées” followed by your signature.

Get a Template

Use letter-building tools and resources to create a polished and professional cover letter. Websites like Canva offer valuable insights and templates that can help you structure your letter effectively.

French cover letter

Tips to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

Highlight Your Work Experience

French employers value experience highly. Even if you don’t have a long work experience or direct experience for the job you apply for, always try ton include any relevant work experience, internships, or volunteer work. Explain how these experiences have prepared you for the role you are seeking.

Use Formal Language

French cover letters tend to be more formal than those in other countries. Use polite and respectful language throughout. Avoid contractions and slang. Proofread your letter multiple times to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.

Keep It Concise

While it’s important to be thorough, French cover letters should not exceed one page. Be concise and to the point. Focus on the most relevant information and avoid unnecessary details.

French cover letter

Now that you’ve written your French cover letter and sent it off, you just have to wait for an interview. Get ready with some key phrases for a job interview. Good luck!

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