CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in proper French
CV et lettres de motivation en bon français


Reading (or rereading!) this article should help you translate CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters into proper French.


Table of contents

Click/tap on the appropriate link in the table below to go to one of the parts of this article directly.

Parts Subparts
1) Introduction
2) Translation into French of the terms:
"curriculum vitae, résumé, covering letter, cover letter, application (for a job)", etc.
3) Titles of sections of a CV/résumé in French Example of a reduced set of sections
4) Personal details
Punctuation

Name

Age and date of birth

Nationality

Sex

Marital status

Address

Phone numbers

E-mail address and website addresses

5) Profile and objectives
6) Work experience
Periods

Activity sectors and types of company/institution

Positions

Activities/Responsibilities

Detailed figures

7) Education
Diplomas

Institutions (generic names)

Translation into French of the terms:
"graduate, graduated", etc.


8) Skills
Languages

Computing/IT

Levels of competence

Other skills and abilities

9) Interests - Personal achievements
10) References
11) Covering/Cover letters
Addresses

Date

Initial salutation

Ending phrase

Subject, Reference, Enclosure

Vocabulary

12) Other resources concerning
CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in French

Links to other useful sites

Links to sample documents in French

Link to a particular example of CV/résumé in French

See also on this site...


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1) Introduction

This article should at least partially meet the request from several of my English-speaking students (at EPITA) for advice on writing CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in French.
Since I am not an expert on the subject, I mainly provide in this article vocabulary and remarks which should help to write CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in proper French.

This article is therefore a complement to other specialized resources, which I strongly recommend consulting and to which I provide direct links, in particular in the last part of the article.

NB: this article may also be useful for writing your profile in proper French on professional social networks, for example LinkedIn and Viadeo.


You can contribute to enhancing this article by sending your remarks, suggestions and questions to the address suggested by this: "neil at minkley dot fr".
Thank you!

Neil Minkley


Another article on this site deals with CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in English and is therefore mainly intended for French speakers. To go there, click/tap on the following link:

>> CV et lettres de motivation en bon anglais


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2) Translation of the terms "curriculum vitae, résumé, covering letter, cover letter, application (for a job)", etc.

The terms "a curriculum vitae" and "a résumé" translate into French as "un curriculum vitae" (which, strictly speaking, should be written with a ligature: "un curriculum vitæ"). Its frequently-used abbreviation is the same as in English, namely "un CV" (but the abbreviated plural in French is not marked as in English by the letter "s": "des CV", not "des CVs").

NB: in this article, for the purpose of simplicity, I often use the English abbreviation "CV" to refer to both terms "curriculum vitae" and "résumé", and I often use the British English term "covering letter" instead of the American English term "cover letter".

The above-mentioned terms and others are shown with their translation into French (in the context which concerns us here) in the table below.

English Français
a curriculum vitae un curriculum vitae
un curriculum vitæ
a résumé un curriculum vitae
un curriculum vitæ
a CV
CVs
un CV
des CV
a covering letter
a cover letter
une lettre de motivation
a covering e-mail
a cover e-mail
un e-mail de motivation
un mail de motivation
un courriel de motivation
an application une candidature
an application for a job une candidature à un emploi
to apply for a job postuler à un emploi
faire acte de candidature à un emploi
an application for a position une candidature à un poste
to apply for a position postuler à un poste
faire acte de candidature à un poste
an application for an internship
an application for a (work) placement
une candidature à un stage
to apply for an internship
to apply for a (work) placement
postuler à un stage
faire acte de candidature à un stage


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3) Titles of sections of a CV/résumé in French

The first table below provides the translation into French of the title (with possible variants) of various sections that may appear in a CV. This table is followed by a few notes and by a second table which provides an example of a reduced set of sections which may be quite suitable for a CV in French.

To go directly to the second table, click/tap on the following link: Example of a reduced set of sections.

Section titles Titres de rubriques
Personal information
Personal details
État civil et coordonnées
Profile
Summary
Profil
Résumé
Objectives
Career objectives
Objectifs
Objectifs professionnels
Career summary
Employment history
Professional experience
Work experience
Expérience professionnelle
Education
Educational background
Educational history
Éducation
Études
Formation
Formation initiale
GB & US: Education and degrees
GB & US: Education and diplomas
GB: Education and qualifications
Éducation et diplômes
Études et diplômes
Formation et diplômes
Training Formation continue
Skills
Special skills
Specialist skills
Compétences
Compétences particulières
Personal achievements Accomplissements personnels
Interests
Hobbies and interests
Centres d'intérêt
GB & US: References
GB: Referees
Références

NB:

a) The above-mentioned sections are not all mandatory, for example "Résumé" (Summary).

b) Some sections may be grouped together, for example "Profil" (Profile) and "Objectifs" (Objectives) or "Formation initiale" (Education) and "Formation continue" (Training).

c) The titles of some sections are not mandatory, for example "État civil et coordonnées" (Personal information).

d) The order in which the sections appear in the above table is not necessarily the order in which they should be presented in a CV, for example "Formation" (Education) should appear before "Expérience professionnelle" (Work experience) in a CV written to apply for postgraduate studies.

e) In order to choose the sections that are suitable for you among all those appearing in the above table, consult the other resources specializing in the subject matter to which links are provided in the last part of this article.

The table below provides an example of a reduced set of sections which may be quite suitable for a CV in French.

Rubriques Content
État civil et coordonnées Personal details
Profil et objectifs Profile and objectives
Expérience professionnelle Work experience
Formation Education and diplomas
Compétences Skills (languages, computing/IT...)
Centres d'intérêt Hobbies and interests


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4) Personal details / État civil et coordonnées

The table below provides vocabulary (with possible variants) corresponding to items (which are not all mandatory) of personal details and contact information which may be featured in a CV in French.
The table is followed by a few useful notes; to go to one of the notes directly, click/tap on its number in the last column of the table.

NB : for some elements, for example the name and the address, it is not mandatory to feature their title in the CV.

Personal and contact information items Éléments de l'état civil et des coordonnées Notes
Name: Nom : 1, 2
Age: Âge : 3
Date of birth: Date de naissance : 3
Nationality: Nationalité : 4
Sex: Sexe : 5
Marital status: Situation de famille : 6
Address: Adresse : 7
Telephone:
Phone:
Téléphone :
Tél. :
8
Landline: Téléphone fixe :
Tél. fixe :
8
GB: Mobile:
GB: Mobile phone:
US: Cell:
US: Cell phone:
Mobile :
Téléphone mobile :
Tél. mobile :
8
E-mail:
Email:
E-mail :
Mail :
Courriel :
9
Website: Site web :
Site Internet :
9

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Notes:


4.1) In French, the punctuation sign ":" must be preceded by a (non-breakable) space; for example, you must write "Site web :", not "Site web:".
Note that this rule also applies to ";", "?" and "!", but not to "," and ".".


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4.2) In French (as in English), the first name (or forename or given name) is generally written before the family name (or surname); for example, if "Das" and "Thakkar" are family names, and "Dinesh Seiok" and "Nitish" are first names, it is preferable to write "Dinesh Seiok Das" rather than "Das Dinesh Seiok" and "Nitish Thakkar" rather than "Thakkar Nitish".

Furthermore, it is judicious to write the FAMILY NAME IN CAPITAL LETTERS to avoid ambiguity; for example, it is preferable to write "Dinesh Seiok DAS" rather than "Dinesh Seiok Das" and "Nitish THAKKAR" rather than "Nitish Thakkar". This is particularly recommended if a family name can be mistaken for a first name, for example if "David" is a first name and "Martin" is a family name, then the full name should be written as "David MARTIN" (in preference to "David Martin"), not as "Martin David".

NB: the terms "first name", "forename" and "given name" are translated into French as "prénom", and the terms "family name" and "surname" are translated into French as "nom de famille".


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4.3) Your age and date of birth (which are not mandatory in a CV) convey the same information (but age is variable while the date of birth is fixed!).

However that may be, your age may be written in one of the forms given for the example in the table below.

Expression of age Expression de l'âge
Age: 24 Âge : 24 ans
24 years old 24 ans

As for the date of birth, the following table provides an example in the most common forms.

Expression of date of birth Expression de la date de naissance
GB: Date of birth: 1 August 1988
GB: Date of birth: August 1st, 1988
GB & US: Date of birth: August 1, 1988
Date de naissance : 1er août 1988
GB: Born on 1 August 1988
GB: Born on August 1st, 1988
GB & US: Born on August 2, 1988
Né le 1er août 1988 (masculine)
Née le 1er août 1988 (feminine)
GB: Date of birth: 2 September 1988
GB: Date of birth: September 2nd, 1988
GB & US: Date of birth: September 2, 1988
Date de naissance : 2 septembre 1988
GB: Born on 2 September 1988
GB: Born on September 2nd, 1988
GB & US: Born on September 2, 1988
Né le 2 septembre 1988 (masculine)
Née le 2 septembre 1988 (feminine)

NB :

a) The names of months (and days) are written in French with a lower-case first letter (except if the name appears at the beginning of a sentence).
On this subject, see the tables in article "Dates" on this site by clicking/tapping on the link below:

>> Tableaux des jours et des mois (Tables of days and months)

b) The first day of a month is represented in French by the ordinal number "1er" (premier), whereas all other days are represented by a cardinal number.

c) In order to avoid confusion, do not use the purely numerical form of dates, unless you use the British English form (day/month/year), which is the order also used in French, and not the American English form (month/day/year)!


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4.4) In French, nationality adjectives are feminine and must be written with a lower-case first letter, for example "Nationalité : indienne" ("Nationality: Indian" in English), "Nationalité : sud-coréenne" ("Nationality: South Korean" in English).

To see the translation of nationality adjectives into French, consult the articles on this site with a title beginning with "États -" in the "Geography" section, to which the link below leads:

>> Géographie


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4.5) Your sex (which is not mandatory in a CV) may be expressed as shown in the table below.

Sex: ... Sexe : ...
Female féminin
Male masculin

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4.6) Your marital status (which is not mandatory in a CV) may be expressed as shown by the examples in the following table.

Marital status: ... Situation de famille : ...
Single célibataire
Married marié (masculine)
mariée (feminine)
Married, one child marié, un enfant
mariée, un enfant
Married, 2 children marié, 2 enfants
mariée, 2 enfants
Divorced divorcé (masculine)
divorcée (feminine)
Widower
Widow
veuf (masculine)
veuve (feminine)

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4.7) If you have an address in France, make sure you write it in a correct format. See the following article (in French) for details:

>> Adresse postale - France (Wikipédia)

Note that cities on the outskirts of Paris are not part of Paris, so if you reside for example in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, you should write the "postcode (or ZIP code) and city" part of your address as "94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre", not "94270 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris".

If you are residing outside the country to which your CV and covering letter is to be sent, don't forget to mention the name of your country.

To see the translation of country names into French, consult the articles on this site with a title beginning with "États -" in the "Geography" section, to which the link below leads:

>> Géographie


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4.8) If your phone number is not local (with respect to the country to which you will send your CV), don't forget to internationalize it, for example by transforming the British number "07512 396 4xx" into "+44 7512 396 4xx".


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4.9) It is useful to feature active links for e-mail and website addresses in your CV and covering letter, for example Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. and active web link.

For a CV (or a covering letter), in French or English or any other language, it is recommended to choose an e-mail address that features your real name (as opposed to a pseudonym).
More generally, you should avoid any inconsistency between your name and your e-mail address (for example the surname of one of my former students is misspelled in his e-mail address, which was a source of confusion for me and probably for others!) and beware of typing errors (for example Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.).


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5) Profile and objectives / Profil et objectifs

These items may be grouped together in a single section of your CV which you may name "Profil" in French, or leave unnamed (in particular if the corresponding information is presented inside a box). They are intended to provide a summary ("résumé" in French) of your objectives, for example the type of position and/or company you are looking for, and of your qualifications, for example your main diploma and your most distinctive and relevant skills.

In order to write this section of your CV in good French, you may use vocabulary provided in the "Work experience", "Education" and "Skills" parts of this article, as well as terms in the "Vocabulary" table of the "Covering/Cover letters" part.


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6) Work experience / Expérience professionnelle

This section of your CV describes your various jobs ("emplois" in French), including internships / work placements ("stages" in French).
For each job, you should indicate the period concerned, the name (and possibly the type) of the company or institution for which you have worked, the position you held and the corresponding activities and responsibilities. As far as possible, you should also provide details that speak in your favour, in particular concerning what you have actually achieved ("accompli" or "réalisé" in French).


6.1) Periods

It is recommended to present the various jobs in reverse chronological order (ie the most recent first), and to mention the corresponding periods in the form suggested by the examples in the table below.

Expression of periods Expression des périodes
2015 - present
2015 - to date
2015 - présent
July 2015 - June 2016 juillet 2015 - juin 2016
7/2015-6/2016 7/2015-6/2016
September - December 2016 septembre - décembre 2016
9-12/2016 9-12/2016

NB:

a) It is recommended to adopt a homogeneous presentation of periods, if only for aesthetic reasons!

b) Remember that the names of months (and days) are written in French with a lower-case first letter (except if the name appears at the beginning of a sentence).

c) It is preferable to avoid using the purely numerical form of periods, unless you have a line-width problem...


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6.2) Activity sectors and types of company/institution

Unless companies or institutions mentioned in your CV are well known, it is recommended to specify (possibly in brackets) for each of them its activity sector, for example "Développement de logiciel" ("Software development" in English) or its type, for example "société de développement de logiciel" ("software development company" in English).

You can also provide active links to the websites (in French if possible) of the companies or institutions mentioned in your CV.

The link below leads to an official French website which provides a list of activity sectors in French and English:

>> French classification of activities – NAF rev. 2 (INSEE)

See also on this site the French-English table (which will be progressively enriched) to which the link below leads :

>> Secteurs d'activité


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6.3) Positions

You must specify the position you held for each of the jobs mentioned in your CV. The table below provides a few examples of position titles.

Positions Postes
accountant comptable
advertising copywriter rédacteur publicitaire (masculine)
rédactrice publicitaire (feminine)
assistant product manager assistant chef de produit (masculine)
assistante chef de produit (feminine)
assistant project manager assistant chef de projet (masculine)
assistante chef de projet (feminine)
bank clerk employé de banque (masculine)
employée de banque (feminine)
business analyst analyste d'affaires
business controller
financial controller
contrôleur de gestion (masculine)
contrôleuse de gestion (feminine)
customer relations manager responsable relations clients
development engineer ingénieur de développement
editor éditeur (masculine)
éditrice (feminine)
executive assistant assistant de direction (masculine)
assistante de direction (feminine)
financial consultant consultant financier (masculine)
consultante financière (feminine)
junior product manager chef de produit junior
junior project manager chef de projet junior
marketing manager responsable marketing
product manager chef de produit
project manager
project leader
project lead
chef de projet
sales area manager responsable de secteur commercial
sales branch manager responsable d'agence commerciale
sales engineer ingénieur commercial (masculine)
ingénieur commerciale (feminine)
sales manager responsable commercial (masculine)
responsable commerciale (feminine)
salesperson vendeur (masculine)
vendeuse (feminine)
sales representative représentant (commercial) (masculine)
représentante (commerciale) (feminine)
sales support engineer ingénieur technico-commercial (masculine)
ingénieur technico-commerciale (feminine)
teacher enseignant (masculine)
enseignante (feminine)
technical support engineer ingénieur d'assistance technique
technical writer rédacteur technique (masculine)
rédactrice technique (feminine)
test engineer
testing engineer
ingénieur de test
tester testeur (masculine)
testeuse (feminine)
trainer formateur (masculine)
formatrice (feminine)

Click/tap on the links below to go to other articles on this site which may help you find the proper translation into French of terms that designate various positions or functions (the first link leads to the table of contents of articles devoted to jobs and functions in various activity sectors).

>> Métiers - liste des tableaux

>> Emploi - statut

>> mission

NB : in order to indicate that a position was held as part of an apprenticeship ("apprentissage in French) or of an internship ("stage" in French), you may use a phrase of the kind illustrated by the following examples: "apprentissage en tant qu'architecte de bases de données" ("apprenticeship as a database architect" in English) or "stage en tant qu'ingénieur d'exploitation" ("internship as an operations engineer" in English).


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6.4) Activities/Responsibilities

In a CV in English, activities or responsibilities associated with a position are generally described by expressions using verbs (without an article) such as "developed..., managed..., developing..., managing..." or "responsible for organizing..., in charge of organizing...". In a CV in French, it is customary to use expressions with nouns such as "développement de..., gestion de..." or "responsable de l'organisation de..., chargé(e) de l'organisation de...".


The table below provides a few examples of descriptions of activities or responsibilities in a CV in French.

Activities/Responsibilities Activités/Responsabilités
achieved all objectives atteinte de tous les objectifs
réalisation de tous les objectifs
administered the corporate website
administering...
administration du site web de l'entreprise
analyzed sales results
analyzing...
analyse des résultats commerciaux
audited accounts
auditing...
audit des comptes
in charge of managing the budget
responsible for managing the budget
chargé de la gestion du budget (masculine)
chargée de la gestion du budget (feminine)
in charge of project planning and execution
responsible for project planning and execution
chargé de la planification et de l'exécution de projets (masculine)
chargée de la planification et de l'exécution de projets (feminine)
conducted customer surveys
conducting...
réalisation de sondages clients
conducted system performance tests
conducting...
test de performances du système
controlled compliance with industry standards
controlling...
vérification de la conformité aux normes industrielles
created a competitive-intelligence function
creating...
création d'une fonction de veille concurrentielle
designed a security system
designing...
conception d'un système de sécurité
designed and developed multilingual technical documentation
designing and developing...
conception et réalisation de documentation technique multilingue
developed business plans
developing...
réalisation de plans d'activité de l'entreprise
developed a process-control software application
developing...
développement d'un logiciel de contrôle de processus
devised advertising campaigns
devising...
élaboration de campagnes publicitaires
drafted service-provider contracts
drafting...
rédaction de contrats de prestataires de services
established manufacturing forecasts
establishing...
établissement des prévisions de fabrication
implemented new fault-detection procedures
implementing...
mise en oeuvre de nouvelles procédures de détection de failles
installed and configured workstations and servers
installing and configuring...
installation et configuration de postes de travail et de serveurs
launched new products
launching...
lancement de nouveaux produits
led a research project
leading...
conduite de projet de recherche
managed a department of 50 persons
managing..
direction d'un service de 50 personnes
managed a team of 8 persons
managing...
responsabilité d'une équipe de 8 personnes
managed incidents and risks
managing...
gestion des incidents et risques
negotiated contracts
negotiating...
négociation de contrats
organized events
organizing...
organisation d'événements
participated in steering-committee meetings
participating...
participation aux réunions du comité de pilotage
performed software functional tests
performing...
réalisation de tests fonctionnels de logiciels
prepared monthly reports
preparing...
préparation de rapports mensuels
priced products
pricing...
tarification des produits
processed customer orders
processing...
traitement des commandes clients
proofread legal documents
proofreading...
relecture et correction de documents juridiques
provided technical support to users
providing...
assistance technique aux utilisateurs
published a newsletter
publishing...
publication d'une lettre d'information
ran an online community
running...
animation d'une communauté en ligne
recruited staff
recruiting...
recrutement de personnel
responsible for managing the budget
in charge of managing the budget
responsable de la gestion du budget
responsible for project planning and execution
in charge of project planning and execution
responsable de la planification et de l'exécution de projets
searched for industrial partners
searching...
recherche de partenaires industriels
taught a course in Project Management
teaching...
enseignement d'un cours de Gestion de projets
tested hardware components
testing...
test de composants matériels
trained editors on indexing tools
training...
formation des éditeurs aux outils d'indexation
translated medical publications
translating...
traduction de publications médicales
wrote articles
writing...
rédaction d'articles

See also on this site the articles to which the following links lead:

>> achever vs to achieve

>> mise en oeuvre

>> mise en place

>> mise en service

>> réaliser vs to realize


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6.5) Detailed figures

It is recommended to provide detailed figures in a CV, for example for a budget you were responsible for. You must however be careful to not make any mistake in the presentation of numbers (in French, the decimal separator is the comma and not the dot, which is sometimes used in French as the thousands separator instead of a non-breakable space), or in the position of monetary symbols, or by omitting the "s" which marks the plural of terms such as "millions" in French, as explained on this site in the articles to which the following links lead:

>> Nombres mal formatés (séparateur décimal)

>> Symboles/codes monétaires mal placés

>> Pluriel des puissances de 10 utilisé à tort

The table below provides a few examples of detailed figures.

English Français
Managed a budget of €750,000. Gestion d'un budget de 750 000 €.
Responsible for using a fund of 2 million euros. Responsabilité de l'exploitation d'un fonds de 2 millions d'euros.
Cost of project: £2.5 million. Coût du projet : 2,5 millions £.
Revenue: USD 3.5 billion. Chiffre d'affaires : 3 milliards (de) USD.


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7) Education / Formation

This section of your CV should mention the degrees or diplomas ("diplômes" in French) you have obtained and, for each of them, the institution ("institution" in French) that delivered it, as well as the year it was awarded ("année d'obtention" in French), for example in the following form:

Licence d'Électronique, Université de Mumbai, Inde, 2016.
(Bachelor's degree in Electronics, University of Mumbai, India, 2016.)

For studies not yet completed, you should indicate the diploma you are studying for and the institution where you are preparing it, for example in the following form:

Préparation d'un Master international en Sécurité informatique à l'EPITA, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre (près de Paris), 2016-2017.
(Studying for an International Master's degree in Computer Security at EPITA, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre (near Paris), 2016-2017.)

In the absence of diplomas and studies under way, it is well-advised to replace the "Formation" section by a section named "Qualifications" in which you can describe your skills, training courses you may have attended, and/or achievements (you may find it more appropriate to place the latter under "Expérience professionnelle").

The links below lead to advice for writing a CV without any diploma:

>> Overcoming 'No Degree' (Great CVs - UK)

>> How to Write a Great Resume Without a College Degree (eHow - USA)

You can mention your A levels (or high-school diploma) in the absence of a higher-level diploma, otherwise it is not necessary to feature it in your CV.

If you have published ("publié" in French) an article ("article" in French), a white paper ("livre blanc" in French), a dissertation ("mémoire" in French) or a thesis ("thèse" in French), mention it, with possible references, for example an active link to the work ("ouvrage" in French) on the web.


>> Return to the beginning of "Education"

>> Return to the table of contents

>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


7.1) Diplomas

The table below provides (in alphabetical order of English terms) a few examples of (sometimes approximate) equivalence of titles of diplomas in English and French.

Diplomas Diplômes
GB: A levels
US: High school diploma
Baccalauréat
Advanced vocational diploma in... BTS de/d'...
(NB: BTS = brevet de technicien supérieur)
Bachelor's degree in... Licence de/d'...
Bachelor of Arts degree in...
BA in...
Licence de/d'...
Bachelor of Laws degree
LLB
Licence de Droit
Bachelor of Science degree in...
BSc in...
Licence de/d'...
Doctor's degree in...
PhD in...
Doctorat de/d'...
Doctor of Laws degree
LLD
Doctorat de Droit
Doctor of Medicine degree
MD
Doctorat de Médecine
Master's degree in... Master de/d'...
Master of Arts degree in...
MA in...
Master de/d'...
Master of Business Administration degree
MBA
Master d'Administration des entreprises
MBA
Master of Engineering degree in...
MEng in...
Diplôme d'ingénieur en...
Master of Laws degree
LLM
Maîtrise de Droit
Master de Droit
Master of Science degree in...
GB: MSc in...
US: MS in...
Master de/d'...
Secondary-school Teaching degree in... CAPES de/d'...
(NB: CAPES = certificat d'aptitude au professorat de l'enseignement du second degré)
Secondary-school and University Teaching degree in... Agrégation de/d'...
University Technology degree DUT
(NB: DUT = diplôme universitaire de Technologie)
Vocational diploma in... BEP de/d'...
(NB: BEP = brevet d'études professionnelles)
Vocational training certificate in... CAP de/d'...
(NB: CAP = certificat d'aptitude professionnelle)

See also on this site, by clicking/tapping on the link below, the part of the article named "Métiers - éducation et formation" which provides names of a few subjects in French and English:

>> Matières

The following links lead to multilingual sites that can help you find the translation of titles of European bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees:

>> bachelorsportal.eu

>> mastersportal.eu

>> PhDportal.eu

NB: the expression "with honours" translates into French as "avec mention", for example "Master de Physique avec mention" ("Master's degree in Physics (with honours)" in British English).


>> Return to the beginning of "Diplomas"

>> Return to the beginning of "Education"

>> Return to the table of contents


7.2) Institutions

The table below provides (in alphabetical order of English terms) a few examples of (sometimes approximate) equivalence of generic titles of academic institutions in English and French.

Types of institution Types d'institutions
Business school École de Commerce
College Faculté
Université
College of Engineering École d'ingénieurs
Engineering college
Engineering school
École d'ingénieurs
Graduate school Établissement de 3e cycle
Établissement pour études prédoctorales et doctorales
School
(in the most general sense)
École
School of Applied Arts École d'Arts appliqués
School of Engineering École d'ingénieurs
GB: Secondary school
US: High school
Collège et/ou Lycée
GB: Secondary school (first 4 years)
US: Junior High school
Collège
GB: Secondary school (last 3 years)
US: Senior High school
Lycée
University Université
University institute of Technology IUT
(NB: IUT = Institut universitaire de Technologie)
University of Technology Université de Technologie
Vocational school Lycée professionnel


>> Return to the beginning of "Institutions"

>> Return to the beginning of "Education"

>> Return to the table of contents


7.3) Translation into French of the terms "graduate, graduated", etc.

The English terms "graduate", "graduated", "(to) have a degree" and "qualified" can be translatd into French as "diplômé" (masculine) or "diplômée" (feminine). The table below provides a few examples of how to use those terms.

English Français
(I am a) graduate in Industrial Design
(I am an) Industrial Design graduate
(I) graduated in Industrial Design
(I) have a degree in Industrial Design
(Je suis) diplômé en Conception industrielle
(Je suis) diplômée en Conception industrielle
(I am a) graduate of the University of Mumbai, India
(I am a) University of Mumbai, India graduate
(I) graduated from the University of Mumbai, India
(Je suis) diplômé de l'Université de Mumbai, Inde
(Je suis) diplômée de l'Université de Mumbai, Inde
(I am a) qualified software programmer (Je suis) programmeur de logiciel diplômé
(Je suis) programmeuse de logiciel diplômée


>> Return to the beginning of "Education"

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>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


8) Skills / Compétences

This section of your CV presents your skills in various relevant areas, generally including languages and computing/IT, for which it is useful to specify your level of knowledge.

The tables in this part of this article provide vocabulary which should help you write this section of your CV in proper French.


8.1) Languages

In order to indicate your level in the various languages of which you have a good or average command, you can use the vocabulary provided in examples in the table below.

NB: it is not useful to mention languages for which your level is rather poor!

Language levels Niveaux de langues
mother tongue
native speaker
langue maternelle
Example:
Hindi: mother tongue
Hindi: native speaker
hindi : langue maternelle
bilingual bilingue
Example:
bilingual English/German
bilingue anglais/allemand
trilingual trilingue
Example:
trilingual English/Spanish/Italian
trilingue anglais/espagnol/italien
fluent courant
Example:
English: fluent
anglais : courant
good
good level
bon
bon niveau
Example:
French: good level
français : bon niveau
intermediate
intermediate level
moyen
niveau moyen
Example:
Mandarin: intermediate level
mandarin : niveau moyen

In French, names of languages are written with a lower-case first letter (except if the name appears at the beginning of a sentence), for example "coréen" ("Korean" in English).
To see the translation of names of languages into French, consult the articles on this site with a title beginning with "États -" in the "Geography" section, to which the link below leads:

>> Géographie


>> Return to the beginning of "Skills"

>> Return to the table of contents


8.2) Computing/IT

The table below provides vocabulary related to various areas of competence in computing/IT.

Computing/IT Informatique
Applications Applications
Content Management Systems
CMS
Systèmes de gestion de contenu
CMS
Design tools Outils de conception
Development environments Environnements de développement
Environments Environnements
Graphic creation tools Outils de création graphique
Hardware Matériels
Languages (for programming) Langages
Management tools Outils de gestion
Operating systems Systèmes d'exploitation
Platforms Plates-formes
Productivity tools Outils de productivité
Programming languages Langages de programmation
Software Logiciels
Software applications Applications logicielles
Example:
Microsoft Office Suite
Microsoft Office Pack
Suite Microsoft Office
Pack Microsoft Office
Tools Outils

For more vocabulary related to software and, more generally, to computing/IT, consult the articles on this site to which the following links lead:

>> informatique

>> matériel, logiciel

>> Ordinateurs, etc.

>> Abréviations - Informatique/Internet


>> Return to the beginning of "Computing/IT"

>> Return to the beginning of "Skills"

>> Return to the table of contents


The table below provides vocabulary (in alphabetical order of English terms) related to various levels of competence with examples in the area of computing/IT.

Skill levels Niveaux de compétence
advanced knowledge of... connaissance avancée de...
connaissance poussée de...
Example:
advanced knowledge of CAD software, in particular...
connaissance avancée des logiciels de CAO, en particulier...
Example:
advanced knowledge of DBMSs, in particular...
connaissance poussée des SGBD, en particulier...
basic knowledge of... notions de...
Example:
basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
notions d'Adobe Photoshop et Illustrator
basics of... principes fondamentaux de...
Example:
basics of software project management
principes fondamentaux de la gestion de projets logiciels
excellent practical knowledge of... excellente connaissance pratique de...
Example:
excellent practical knowledge of Adobe InDesign CS6
excellente connaissance pratique d'Adobe InDesign CS6
experience of... expérience en...
Example:
experience of Android and iOS application design and development
expérience en conception et développement d'applications Android et iOS
a good grounding in... bonnes bases en...
Example:
a good grounding in computer graphics
bonnes bases en infographie
good knowledge of... bonne connaissance de...
Example:
good knowledge of Windows (XP and 7) and Mac OS X environments
bonne connaissance des environnements Windows (XP et 7) et Mac OS X
good practical experience with... bonne pratique de...
Example:
good practical experience with Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint
bonne pratique de Microsoft Excel, Word et PowerPoint
a grounding in... bases en...
Example : a grounding in computing bases en informatique
in-depth knowledge of... connaissance approfondie de...
Example:
in-depth knowledge of object-oriented languages, in particular...
connaissance approfondie des langages orientés objets, en particulier...
knowledge of... connaissance de...
Example:
knowledge of office automation tools, in particular...
connaissance des outils bureautiques, en particulier...
practical experience with... pratique de...
Example:
practical experience with Microsoft Project and Serena OpenProj
pratique de Microsoft Project et de Serena OpenProj
proficient in... expérimenté en... (masculine)
expérimentée en... (feminine)
Example:
proficient in HTML and CSS
expérimenté en HTML et CSS (masculine)
expérimentée en HTML et CSS (feminine)
a solid grounding in... solides bases en...
Example:
a solid grounding in network architecture
solides bases en architecture de réseaux
working knowledge of... connaissance pratique élémentaire de...
Example:
working knowledge of XML
connaissance pratique élémentaire du XML


>> Return to the beginning of "Skill levels"

>> Return to the beginning of "Skills"

>> Return to the table of contents


8.3) Other skills and abilities

The table below provides vocabulary (in alphabetical order of English terms) related to various types of skills and abilities.

NB : it is obviously recommended to support skills and abilities mentioned in a CV or a covering letter with facts (achievements, detailed figures, etc.).

Skills/Abilities Compétences/Capacités
analytical thinking ability capacité d'analyse
esprit d'analyse
analytical and global thinking ability capacité d'analyse et de synthèse
esprit d'analyse et de synthèse
communication skills capacité de communication
creativity skills
creative thinking ability
capacité de créativité
esprit de créativité
decision-making ability capacité à prendre des décisions
GB: driving licence
US: driver's license
permis de conduire
global thinking ability capacité de synthèse
esprit de synthèse
GB: heavy-goods-vehicle driving licence
GB: HGV driving licence
US: truck driver's license
permis poids lourds
interpersonal communication skills capacité de communication interpersonelle
management skills capacité d'encadrement
negotiating skills compétences en négociation
organizational skills compétences en organisation
people management skills capacité d'encadrement
problem-solving ability capacité à résoudre les problèmes
project management skills compétences en gestion de projets
public-speaking ability
public-speaking skills
capacité à prendre la parole en public
time management skills compétences en gestion du temps
writing ability
writing skills
compétences rédactionnelles


>> Return to the beginning of "Other skills and abilities"

>> Return to the beginning of "Skills"

>> Return to the table of contents

>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


9) Interests - Personal achievements / Centres d'intérêt - Accomplissements personnels

Your achievements or successes may be described in the "Expérience professionnelle" section of your CV if they are related to your work or, for example for academic publications, in the "Formation" section.

As for your personal achievements, they are not in principle directly related to your jobs or studies, so they should be presented in the "Centres d'intérêt" or "Centres d'intérêt - Accomplissements personnels" section.

The table below provides vocabulary and examples (in alphabetical order of English terms) that may be useful for the description of your interests and personal achievements. You can also use vocabulary provided in the table under "Activities/Responsibilities" in the "Work experience" part of this article.

English Français
award, prize prix
(I) was awarded a prize in the... competition
(I) won an award in the... competition
(I) won a prize in the... competition
obtention d'un prix au concours de...
Example:
(I) won first prize in the 2016 Indian nationwide drawing competition
obtention du premier prix au concours national indien de dessin 2016
cofounder and coordinator of... cofondateur et animateur de... (masculine)
cofondatrice et animatrice de... (feminine)
Example:
cofounder and coordinator of the Bucharest, Romania Art school alumni association
(I) cofounded and coordinate the...
cofondateur et animateur de l'association des anciens élèves de l'école d'Arts de Bucarest, Roumanie
cofondatrice et animatrice de l'association des anciens élèves de l'école d'Arts de Bucarest, Roumanie
creator of... créateur de... (masculine)
créatrice de... (feminine)
Example:
creator of the Practical English website to help French speakers to communicate better in professional English
(I) created the...
créateur du site web Anglais pratique pour aider les francophones à mieux communiquer en anglais professionnel
medal médaille
Example:
(I) won a gold medal in judo at the London 2012 Olympics
obtention d'une médaille d'or en judo aux JO de Londres 2012
member of... membre de...
Example:
(I am a) member of the Seoul, South Korea amateur astronomy club
membre du club d'astronomie amateur de Séoul, Corée du Sud

See also on this site the articles that provide vocabulary in French and English related to various activities which may fall into the "interests" or "leisure" categories (although the articles deal with "jobs"):

>> Métiers - arts et culture

>> Métiers - sport


>> Return to the beginning of "Interests - Personal achievements"

>> Return to the table of contents

>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


10) References / Références

Unless a potential employer has explicitly requested that you should include references in your CV, you can either not mention any or indicate "Références disponibles sur demande" ("References available upon request" in English).

However that may be, it is recommended to prepare a list of a few references to be used when requested. With the authorization of each person concerned, indicate the person's full name, the company/institution where he or she works, the person's title/function and his or her contact information, including at least an e-mail address, possibly completed with other information you have been allowed to disclose, for example a phone number (which must be internationalized if necessary) and a postal address (with country name if necessary). It is also useful to specify the relationship (which may be hierarchical) between each person mentioned as a reference and yourself.


>> Return to the table of contents

>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


11) Covering/Cover letters / Lettres de motivation


Although the previous parts of this article deal mainly with CVs, some of the information that is given may also be useful for covering/cover letters. As a complement, this specific part of the article provides vocabulary and remarks which should help you to write covering/cover letters or e-mails in proper French.

More advice and examples are given in the documents and on the sites to which links are provided in the final part of this article.


11.1) Addresses

The sender's address ("adresse de l'expéditeur" in French) is usually placed in the top left part of the first page of a letter in French.

The recipient's address ("adresse du destinataire" in French) is usually placed on the right, generally in a lower position than that of the sender's address.

Do not forget to mention the name of the country where you reside if your letter is to be sent to a different country.

You should also include your e-mail address and phone number (which must be internationalized if necessary).

NB: in the case of a covering/cover e-mail, you can of course omit the postal addresses.


>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

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>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


11.2) Date

In a letter in French, the date is usually preceded by the name of city where the sender resides, a comma and the article "le", and is generally placed a few lines below the recipient's address.

The table below provides a few examples of dates (and cities).

Dates Villes et dates
GB: 1 August 2017
GB: 1st August 2017
GB & US: August 1, 2017

(letter to be sent from Gentilly)
Gentilly, le 1er août 2017
GB: 2 August 2017
GB: 2nd August 2017
GB & US: August 2, 2017

(letter to be sent from Le Kremlin-Bicêtre)
Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, le 2 août 2017
GB: 3 August 2017
GB: 3rd August 2017
GB & US: August 3, 2017

(letter to be sent from London)
Londres, le 3 août 2017
GB: 16 August 2017
GB: 16th August 2017
GB & US: August 16, 2017

(letter to be sent from Mumbai)
Mumbai, le 16 août 2017
GB: 31 August 2017
GB: 31st August 2017
GB & US: August 31, 2017

(letter to be sent from Paris)
Paris, le 31 août 2017

NB: remember that the first day of a month is represented in French by the ordinal number "1er" (premier), whereas all other days are represented by a cardinal number, and that the names of months (and days) are written with a lower-case first letter (except if they appear at the beginning of a sentence).


>> Return to the beginning of "Date"

>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

>> Return to the table of contents


11.3) Initial salutation

The table below provides a few examples of initial salutations in French.

Form of address for the recipient Formule pour s'adresser au destinataire
Dear Sir, Monsieur,
Dear Madam, Madame,
Dear Sir or Madam, Madame, Monsieur,
Dear Mr. X, Monsieur X,
Dear Ms. Y, Madame Y,
Dear Dr. Z, Docteur Z,

NB: the very impersonal phrase "À qui de droit" ("To whom it may concern" in English) should be avoided in a covering/cover letter or e-mail.


>> Return to the beginning of "Initial salutation"

>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

>> Return to the table of contents


11.4) Ending phrase

The table below provides an example of ending phrase in French (with variants depending on the initial salutation).

Ending phrase Formule finale
GB: Yours sincerely,
GB: Yours faithfully,
US: Sincerely yours,

(initial salutation = "Monsieur,")
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées
"
(initial salutation = "Madame,")
Veuillez agréer, Madame, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées,
"
(initial salutation = "Madame, Monsieur,")
Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées,
"
(initial salutation = "Monsieur X,")
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur X, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées,
"
(initial salutation = "Madame Y,")
Veuillez agréer, Madame Y, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées,
"
(initial salutation = "Docteur Z,")
Veuillez agréer, Docteur Z, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées,

More examples are given on the site to which the following link leads:

>> Formule de politesse de la lettre de motivation (frajob.fr)


>> Return to the beginning of "Ending phrase"

>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

>> Return to the table of contents


11.5) Subject, Reference, Enclosure

The subject of your covering/cover letter in French can be specified by mentioning the title of the position for which you are applying, possibly completed with a reference, for example as follows: "Objet : Poste de Chef de projet (référence CP-2017-08)".

The above-mentioned information can be placed before the initial salutation in a letter or in the "Subject" field of an e-mail (in the case of an e-mail, you can omit the "Objet : " part).

As for mentioning an "enclosure" or an "attachment", you can use the expression "pièce jointe" (which can be abbreviated as "PJ"). That indication should be placed at the end of your letter (below your signature) or of your e-mail (below your full name).

The table below provides examples of how to mention the presence of enclosures/attachments in French.

English Français
GB: Enclosure: Curriculum vitae
US: Enclosure: Résumé
Pièce jointe : curriculum vitae
Pièce jointe : curriculum vitæ
GB: Enclosures: CV and list of referees
GB: Enclosures: CV and list of references
US: Enclosures: Résumé and list of references
Pièces jointes : CV et liste de références
GB: Attachment: Curriculum vitae
US: Attachment: Résumé
Pièce jointe : curriculum vitae
Pièce jointe : curriculum vitæ
GB: Attachments: CV and list of referees
GB: Attachments: CV and list of references
US: Attachments: Résumé and list of references
Pièces jointes : CV et liste de références

You can also include a sentence in the body of your letter or e-mail to indicate that you have enclosed/attached your CV (see examples of such a sentence in the table featured in the following part of this article).


>> Return to the beginning of "Subject, Reference, Enclosure"

>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

>> Return to the table of contents


11.6) Vocabulary

As a complement to the vocabulary featured under "Activities/Responsibilities" in the "Work experience" part of this article and under "Other skills and abilities" in the "Skills" part, the table below (which may be enhanced...) provides a few terms that may be useful for writing a covering/cover letter or e-mail in French.

NB: some of the terms in the table are a bit "cliché" ("cliché" in French), so you should use them in moderation!

See also the specialized documents and sites to which I provide links in the following (and last) part of this article.

English Français
Following your advertisement, I would like to apply for the position of... Suite à votre annonce, je souhaite présenter ma candidature au poste de...
Having heard that your company is currently recruiting staff, I am hereby applying for a position of... Ayant appris que votre entreprise est en phase de recrutement de personnel, je fais acte de candidature par la présente à un poste de...
I will soon complete my internship at..., and would like to apply for the above-referenced position. Ayant bientôt fini un stage chez..., je souhaite poser ma candidature au poste cité en référence ci-dessus.
I am completing my studies at..., and would like to apply for an internship at your company. Je termine mes études à... et souhaite postuler à un stage dans votre société.
I am convinced that my experience and skills meet the requirements of the position of... Je suis convaincu que mon experience et mes compétences répondent aux exigences du poste de...
I am autonomous. Je suis autonome.
I am a good communicator. J'ai le sens de la communication.
I have initiative. J'ai l'esprit d'initiative.
I am methodical. Je suis méthodique.
I am meticulous. Je suis méticuleux. (masculine)
Je suis rigoureux. (masculine)
Je suis méticuleuse. (feminine)
Je suis rigoureuse. (feminine)
I have a passion for products. J'ai une passion pour les produits.
I am scrupulous. Je suis scrupuleux. (masculine)
Je suis scrupuleuse. (feminine)
I am a self-starter. J'ai l'esprit d'initiative.
I have a strong experience in... J'ai une expérience solide en...
I am a team player. J'ai l'esprit d'équipe.
I like teamwork. J'aime le travail en équipe.
I am a very hard worker. Je suis un grand travailleur. (masculine)
Je suis une grande travailleuse. (feminine)
GB: I have enclosed my CV to support my application.
GB: I have attached my CV...
US: I have enclosed my résumé to support my application.
US: I have attached my résumé...
J'ai joint mon CV à cette lettre en appui de ma candidature.
J'ai joint mon CV à ce mail...
GB: Please find enclosed my CV, which provides details of my work experience.
GB: Please find as an attachment my CV...
US: Please find enclosed my résumé, which provides details of my work experience.
US: Please find as an attachment my résumé...
Veuillez trouver ci-joint mon CV, qui fournit les détails de mon expérience professionnelle.
I will be in Brussels next week and available for an interview at your convenience. Je serai à Bruxelles la semaine prochaine et disponible pour un entretien à votre convenance.
Thank you for considering my application.
Thank you for reviewing my application.
Je vous remercie pour l'attention que vous porterez à ma candidature.
I look forward to hearing from you, Dans l'attente de vous lire,


>> Return to the beginning of "Vocabulary"

>> Return to the beginning of "Covering/Cover letters"

>> Return to the table of contents

>> Return to the beginning of the table of contents


12) Other resources related to CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in French


12.1) Links to other useful sites

Sites in English:

>> Writing a CV in French (French About.com)

>> Example of CV in French (French About.com)

Site in French:

>> Modèles de lettres de motivation et de CV en français (modèle-cv-lettre.com)


12.2) Links to sample documents in French
(extracted from the Grand Dictionnaire Hachette-Oxford and converted to PDF format)

>> CV of an English graduate

>> CV of an American academic

>> CV of an English middle manager

>> CV of an English senior executive

>> Covering letter

>> Reply to a job ad

>> Looking for a placement (internship)

>> A few useful expressions and phrases


12.3) Link to a specific example of CV/résumé in French (which is worth what it's worth!)

>> CV de Neil Minkley


12.4) See also on this site:

>> Other articles under topic "Emploi, Organisation" (Employment, Organization)

>> Salutations, remerciements et voeux (Greetings, thanks and wishes)


>> Return to the beginning of "Other resources related to CVs/résumés and covering/cover letters in French"

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>> Retour to the beginning of the table of contents

>> Return to the top of the page


Copyright © 2012-2017 Neil Minkley. Tous droits réservés. All rights reserved.


Read below a comment made on this article by a visitor to this website.


March 26, 2014 17h05, by Frances K.
Hello Neil,
Je suis née à Montréal (Canada), and that's where I'm writing you from.
I found your website the other day, while researching how to write my c.v. en français.
So, your website for French speakers was helpful, in reverse.
Thanks,
Frances K.

March 27, 2014 9h46, by Neil Minkley
Bonjour Frances et merci beaucoup pour ton message :-)
I'm glad to hear that my site was useful to you. I actually wrote the article on CVs in French for my "foreign" (non-French-speaking) students at EPITA (an Engineering school), where I teach Project Management (in English), hoping it would also be useful to other audiences, and you've confirmed it is indeed!
All the best,
Neil


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