How to Find Work in Paris
Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world. As a tourist you discover ornate monuments, centuries of culture, rich cuisine, luscious parks and fantastic shopping opportunities.
As a local, or someone that wishes to make a life in this metropolitan capital, things aren’t always so straightforward. Navigating the French bureaucracy can be tough, especially when part of the work force, so the first step is about understanding it. To understand it, I recommend you learn French.
Once you have done that, come back and read the rest of this article.
No, not really, but having a good level of French is important for the tedious administrative business. Unless you have an agent doing everything for you, it is useful to speak the langage. Don’t be disheartened though, many corporate roles in international companies perform their tasks and projects in English .
There are a few ways expatriates go about landing jobs in Paris, and a lot of this can depend on the visa they hold. Regardless of where you come from though, this article could also serve a French person arriving in Paris.
A French bank account is also very important for administrative purposes and to receive your hard earned pay. You can open one quite easily as long as you have a fixed address in France; either your own, or it could be a partner or family member.
So to begin, please ask yourself this question : who are you?
If you are a student looking for work but not a career…
Try being an au pair, or an English teacher. This allows you to obtain a contract with set dates. This temporary commitment is perfect for someone wishing to continue their studies simultaneously, or return to them after being abroad. The Working Holiday Visa allows anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 (sometimes 35) to stay for 1 year doing this type of work.
Platforms that offer such jobs :
- Speaking Agency
- Le Bon Coin
- Craigslist : Craigslist and Le Bon Coin offer a range of job advertisements, so be careful to filter through the ‘mess’. Anyone and everyone can post what they like, with very little censorship, so be careful not to waste your time and make sure you speak on the phone before arranging any interviews.
Perhaps you want to work in the hospitality industry as a barman or waiter ?
The best way to generate interest in your résumé is by going out and giving your CV to people directly. The hospitality industry has such a fast turnover that restaurants don’t invest so much time in recruitment, so it’s better to go and show your face and front up directly.
If you only speak English I suggest looking in the touristy areas of Paris ; Châtelet 75001/75002, le Marais 75004, and the area near the Eiffel Tower 75007.
Are you looking to pursue your career in Paris?
If you are already established with an international company, this process will surely be facilitated for you. If this isn’t the case, you can do a few things…
Go out on your own and apply for jobs. This means creating a CV that complies to French standards. Make it concise, relevant, and recently updated. If your CV contains references from 5 years ago when you were in a different industry, lose them.
Your cover letter may even include dot points. Recruiters are used to receiving hundreds to even thousands of applicants a month, so you want to stand out and be easy to judge at a glance.
The résumé should be no longer than a single page for junior positions, or two pages for senior positions. In France it is also common to include a picture of yourself at the top of the page, and make sure that it is professional – no selfies !
Sites that give good examples of Cvs to use are :
The sites that you should use to apply for positions are the following :
Depending on your field, you can manually search companies and organisations and look at their careers page on the website. The Chamber of Commerce, embassies, and internationally renowned startups such as TheFork (by TripAdvisor) will always have plenty of offers in business, finance, design, human resources and marketing, and may even offer internships if you still need training.
A lot of universities are often looking for bilingual and English speaking staff too (not only professors). Take a look at the careers website for the American University of Paris to see available positions.
If you are struggling to find leads on your own, you can always go to Pole Emploi.
Here you can organise an interview and have an agent develop you an attractive profile to send to prospect employers.
This agency has the means to put you in contact with many enterprises that you may not even know existed, and so it is a great way to get results. However thorough searching like this can take longer than a quick search on Google of course.
You want to go freelance ?
If you are a freelance working in France, you will need to declare yourself to the government as an « auto-entrepreneur ».
It becomes your responsibility to file taxes, but the beauty is that you can choose your own rates (within reason). For all freelance writers, photographers, tour guides and the like, this is generally the best option, allowing you to work with multiple clients and maximise revenue.
There are also applications that propose interim work to those who hold this status.
The application StaffMe is an employment platform which tailors your mission offers to your skills.
In order to work, you must first pass a 10 minute interview with a recruiter, but don’t feel too stressed. It is mainly just to explain your strengths so that they can find offers you will more easily complete. Once they approve you it is time to download the app which notifies you of opportunities and the work conditions ; the task, the location, the duration, and the pay. You have to be quick to accept because they don’t always last for very long.
This is a fantastic way to earn some extra pocket money, particularly during holiday season. You could be at a call centre for 2 months, earning 13€ per hour, or perhaps an anniversary party for a startup company, there to serve drinks just for the evening.
The work contracts explained
This stands for « Contrat Durée Determinée », or in English, “Contract of Determined Duration”.
It is a fixed period of time that you are employed, and it is usually expires once the specific task you were assigned is completed (according to a predetermined date of course).
This stands for « Contrat Durée Indeterminée », or in English, “Contract of Indetermined Duration”.
This is the contract that most people seek, because of all the perks that come with it. Apart from having financial security with a steady job, you can also more easily apply for bank loans, buy property, and also get sponsorship from the employer if you are not a resident of Europe.
If you have already begun your longterm visa process, this contract will help you to stay longer in France, as the government feels assured that you are of benefit to the economy.
It is not compulsory for work contracts to cover all expenses, but as of 2016 they are legally required to provide private health care or « Mutuelle » so that all medical bills are fully reimbursed to you, alongside the help of the French state, or « assurance maladie ».
Some companies may even offer restaurant tickets worth around 10€ each for you to buy food during your breaks over the working week. You can also usually ask for 50 % of your transport costs to be reimbursed, particularly if you are travelling far distances every day.
Unemployed in Paris?
Even if you don’t have a job, there are certain safety nets that you can benefit from. Although these may take time (a matter of months) to set up, it is often worth it in the end.
The CAF is financial help provided by the government to those eligible. Even without a family to support and monthly income, you can still benefit from a branch of CAF called APL, which is housing support.
This can range from 50€ to 250€ per month, give or take a little. You don’t have to be a European citizen to apply, but you must have a European bank account and address in France.
Discover Walks Company is always on the look out for new talent. Not only are we always looking for authors for our blog, but we also hire and train city locals to be tour guides. If you are an avid writer with a creative streak, or someone that enjoys walks, being outside, and meeting new people from all over the world, don’t hesitate to apply for a position with us!