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French-type or English-type resume?

Details that make a cultural difference 

 
As applicants on an international labour market, alumni have to face the differences that exist from one country to another in the hiring process. What is better: a French-type resume or an English-type? Here are a few tips to avoid mistakes. 

 

Google is your friend... except for the translationcv_anglais_franais_400 

Resumes are highly codified, and they rely on common phrases both in French and in English. Under the English heading "Education", you'll find what the French put under the heading "Formation" (Training). Even in English, this can be misleading when you're applying in a US or European market: an "internship" in New York can become a "traineeship" in London. 

Check online the resume templates available in the target language. Submit your own resumes to a proofreader for whom it's the mother tongue.

 

A resume for everyone 

The standardisation of the LMD system (Licence - Master- Degree) has unified the presentation of training levels. But the French higher education still has its own characteristics: studying in "classe préparatoire" (preparatory class) in Grandes écoles (like "Maths sup’", "Prépa HEC", etc.) is one. Detail the nature and objectives of this type of curriculum. 

 

Distinctive contents 

In addition to the degrees, recruiters are looking for various information, depending on the country.

  • French resumes indicate the age, nationality and sometimes marital status of the candidate. This information doesn't matter for the British, who see discrimination factors.
  • British recruiters have a special eye for the experiences that are out of professional context and reflect more accurately the personality of the applicant.
  • Resumes in English are often concluded with the mention of professional or academic references of the applicant.

Certain trends tend to be standardized across various cultures. Although it is a long-standing feat in the US, Canada, UK or Australia, an introduction section summing up the resume in a few words tends to spread in France. It summarises the applicant's experience and professional objectives.