Cover letter

cover letter


Writing a cover letter is paramount in France. Most of the jobs you’ll apply to will require you to explain your motivation, what excites you about the job and how you qualify for it. This can be a bit annoying sometimes, usually when you apply for a day-job, or temp-job.

Should you write the cover letter in French ?

Most of the job listings won’t mention the language in which you should write your cover letter. We can safely assume that being a foreigner applying in France, you can write this letter in English and mention that French is not your mother tongue. 

The Header

The header will help the recruiter to know you better and how to get in touch with you. You should add as much information as you can. It is usually recommended to mention your : 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Linkedin profile (with a clickable link)

What should be in your cover letter

Your cover letter should underline your motivation, skills and ambition to apply for the job. I recommend you get these two sections in your cover letter : 

  1. The job offer and the way you understand it, what are your motivations, what is at stake for you in the job ?
  2. Your previous work history and how the experiences you had taught you the requested skills to perfectly fill the position.

Here are some suggestions to add to these two sections : 

  • Personal experiences and reasons why you fit the job description : it could be a previous project, a passion…
  • A global and refined, thought concise analysis on the company, market or product related to the job offer.
  • Illustration of your remote working skills and explanation of how you managed to organize your work through the COVID-19 pandemic

Mistakes to avoid

  • Don’t begin with “I’m writing to apply for …”.
    • Recruiters will prefer if you mention a few words about the company, the market or your studies.
  • Spelling mistakes
    • Make sure you correct all of your mistakes before sending.
  • Incoherences in your curriculum / copy/paste from your résumé.
    • Make sure that the experiences you mention in your CV are explained in your cover letter but not repeated.
  • Sending a .doc file
    • You should turn your .doc file into a pdf before you send it.
    • Also check the name of the attachment if the listing suggested one. Otherwise go for something classic like NAME SURNAME – Cover Letter.
  • Sending a blank email
    • If you send an email to the recruiter, write an abstract of your cover letter in the email. It can appeal to the recruiter and catch their attention.
  • Mentioning a weak point
    • If you have one (which is good, it means you’re human)  don’t mention it, it will naturally pop up in the interview.
  • No more than 1 page
    • Your cover letter must be short 
  • Chunk of the text
    • Lighten up your cover letter in short paragraphs and mark the most important words in bold !
  • Not explaining the acronyms
    • If you’re not talking about the UN or the FBI (which everyone knows about), you should write what the letters stand for.
  • Getting fancy in the end
    • French people are known to like literature and style. For a cover letter, it is better to keep it simple like “Hoping my application will catch your attention”.

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