How to Master Job Hunting in France: Advice from an American in...

How to Master Job Hunting in France: Advice from an American in Paris

Jill Amari back in Paris. Photo courtesy of author

In my first article for INSPIRELLE, I wrote about my process to realize my dream of moving to Paris. Good news: I made it! So, what comes next?

I received a work visa and will start working as an English tutor in September. Teaching jobs in Paris were the only type I was getting interviews for during my job search; most other companies will not assist foreigners in the visa process or sponsor their visa. In my experience, many schools and tutoring agencies looking for English teachers are understanding and patient with foreigners, as they strive to employ native English speakers.

While I haven’t begun this job yet, I currently work three other remote jobs, two of which are for different tutoring companies and one of which is for a marketing agency. Working remotely definitely has its benefits and has given me a lot of flexibility to explore Paris, though I’m excited to feel more like a real “Parisienne” when I start my French job.

Jill Amari in Paris. Photo courtesy of the author.

How did I find a French job as an American fresh out of college?

I started looking for jobs in January as soon as I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English and had more time on my hands. During my job hunt, I utilized many of the same resources and websites as I would during any other job search. In particular, LinkedIn and Indeed were lifesavers and were constantly updated with new jobs related to my expertise.

I also relied on one website a study abroad connection recommended to me called Welcome to the Jungle. This site is similar to LinkedIn and Indeed but is geared toward startups and companies looking for applicants who speak both French and English. Welcome to the Jungle offers many filters, making it easy to see jobs internationally. When I was looking for jobs in France, it even gave me the option to choose from the major French contract types, including CDD, CDI, alternance, and stage.

Essential French Job Hunting Terms

  • CDD = contrat à durée déterminée, or a fixed-term contract. This is the type of contract my French tutoring job falls under because I only work during the school year.
  • CDI = contrat à durée indéterminée, or a long-term contract with no fixed termination date. CDIs are the most sought-after contract type, and during my job search, I was looking only for jobs with CDDs or CDIs. However, most companies required that I already have a work visa or the right to work in France.
  • Alternance refers to a specific type of internship that is usually reserved for students enrolled in university who work part-time or full-time during their studies.
  • Stage refers to a general internship and can be paid or unpaid. I participated in two stages during my time abroad, gaining 20 hours of course credit (but, unfortunately, unpaid).
coach yourself
© goodiuz/123RF

My Recommendations for Networking 

Job search sites can only take you so far. Networking is what really helps you land your dream job (or, at least, a job in your dream city). Through getting in touch with old connections from my study abroad program and with French acquaintances, I discovered the American Library in Paris and Paris Lit Up.

While the American Library in Paris does not offer jobs to foreigners without visas, it has many long-term volunteer and internship opportunities and is a welcoming spot for American and other English-speaking expats. Reaching out to their volunteer coordinator allowed me to make a new connection in Paris and receive more advice on finding a job.

Paris Lit Up was attractive to me as a writer because it is a magazine and writing group with opportunities to publish work, participate in open mic nights, and speak with other English-speaking writers based in Paris and around the world.

Other websites I found helpful include the Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France (APUAF) and the U.S. Embassy in France website. APUAF has a complete listing of jobs from universities and study abroad programs around the city and is consistently updated.

The U.S. Embassy in France website has a list of international schools and Franco-US organizations, along with helpful information for expats in general. With these lists, I contacted many international schools, which are always looking for English teachers but may require you to have a visa before applying.

Do you REALLY need a visa to work in France?

If you want to work in France as a foreigner who does NOT hold a French or EU citizenship, you absolutely must have a visa. There different possibilities when it comes to visas and the rights they give you to work and live in France, depending on your situation.

Different Types of Visas in France

  • Student visa: Limited rights and opportunities to work. Many work opportunities for students come in the form of internships. I had two internships while studying abroad in 2022; both were unpaid and were capped at 20 hours per week.
  • Work visa: Gives you the right to work in France. There are different types of work visas, and what you are eligible for depends upon several factors like your current profession, what degree(s) you have, and the visas your regional consulate offers. I received an independent work visa, but in order to receive it, I had to prove that I was either already employed by a French company or had a promise of employment. Other requirements included proof of income, an address in France (even a temporary one), and a document explaining my professional project in France. While the requirements may vary by consulate and type of visa, be prepared to print out two copies of everything and be organized. The team at my consulate was much nicer to people who came prepared and organized compared to those who were missing documents.
  • Sponsorship: A company promises to sponsor you to help you get a visa. While I don’t have any experience with sponsorships, I’ve been told by people who have been sponsored in the past that it’s difficult to find a sponsor because it can cost upwards of $10,000. However, sponsorship can come with a more secure work contract and better benefits. In comparison, paying for an independent work visa cost me a few hundred dollars instead of thousands, but I had to figure out the visa process and logistics on my own.

Find out the best type of visa or work permit for you on the Welcome to France website.

It’s Good to Be Back!

I’ve been dreaming of returning to Paris ever since I left last year. While I still have some logistics to figure out, I’m happy to be back and to be living and working in France. It took time and hard work, but I’ve made my dream a reality, and hope my story inspires you to do the same.

Jill Amari is a writer and environmental activist from Massachusetts, USA, now living in Paris. Jill has a B.A. in English and is a passionate writer of short stories, poems, songs, blogs, and novels. She is currently querying her first YA fantasy/sci-fi novel. Jill's day jobs include tutoring and writing for a marketing agency. After studying in Paris, she returned in 2023 and has found no end to the inspiring nature of the capital and the charm of French culture. You can follow her journey on Instagram.



16 − 10 =

All comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment right away, please be patient. It may be posted soon. There's no need to post your comment a second time. Thank you!