International Students in the EU | A Playbook for Finding Your Next Job in France

A recent QS research report on prospective international students interested in studying in the EU suggests that a whopping 49% of the respondents were considering studying in Germany followed by France(29%) and the Netherlands(28%). Every international student’s biggest consideration when deciding on a university is the prospect of landing a good job after graduation. After all, a big majority of international students want to recover their expenses abroad and pay off their loans.

Looking for jobs in European countries can be overwhelming and takes more than just a degree from a well-known school or a killer resume that you spent hours creating. Add to that the complexities around visa, work permit, and not to forget — the language. Good for you, we at akiTalent are determined to set you up for success in your job search in the EU, especially if you are targeting purely English-speaking jobs in the region. In this Three-part Blog Series, we will look at the visa and work permit rules for international students in France (Part 1)Germany (Part 2), and the Netherlands (Part 3). Additionally, we will also discuss a few job search tips for each of these countries.



Internships in France


In France, you need to be a current student in order to be eligible for an internship. Most French schools are well versed in providing you the paperwork you need to get done, namely, a convention de stage (internship agreement). This document is a three-party agreement between yourself, your school, and your employer. It proves to your employer that you are a full-time student and that your school is aware of the fact that you plan to carry out an internship. To get your foot in the door, an internship could be just the right first step and the first place to look is undoubtedly your school where companies are often looking for bilingual interns fluent in English.


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Staying in France after Graduation and Finding a Job


Students who are planning to take up small and short-term courses in France cannot stay in France. Only students who are taking up long-term courses like bachelors and masters and have a Visa de Long Sejour Etudes or Long Stay Study Visa for France get the permission to stay in the country after completing their course.

With France gaining popularity as a study abroad destination — international students who want to find a job in France after graduation can get a Temporary Residence Permit, or APS (for “Autorisation Provisioire de Séjour”) right after graduation and before the expiry of their récépissé. Normally, APS is valid for one year. However, Indian students in France can extend their stay in the country beyond the completion of their studies in order to acquire work experience. An agreement was signed between France and India that allows Indian students in France to stay for a period of 24 months: a 12-month visa renewable once for a further period of 12 months.


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A work contract can be either for a fixed period of time — Contract Duration Determine (CDD) or an indefinite period of time — Contract Duration Indeterminate (CDI). Foreign graduates with an APS are authorized to work under the same conditions as if they were students, meaning to a maximum of 964 hours per year, or approximately 20 hours per week. Once, you have found your job, you will have to apply for a change of status. They can then be issued with a temporary “employee” or “temporary worker” residence permit or a multi-year “talent passport” residence permit.


Practical Job Search Tips and Advice for Non-EU Students in France


1. Keep an eye out on a dedicated English-speaking job portal like akiTalent. For graduates who are fluent in French, the APEC (the Association Pour l’Emploi des Cadres the Management Employment Association) and Pôle Emploi (Employment Centre) sites also have some job listings, so make sure you check them regularly or create email alerts.

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2. It is preferable to use the European CV format, for easier comparability of your qualifications and experience across Europe. For your job applications in France, you will be writing a CV, not a resume (know the difference). Get a professional picture clicked that sits on your CV. It is the most widely accepted format and also displays that you have put in some effort. Have your CV be no more than two pages and if possible, get it reviewed by a local or hire professional services who are dedicated to making International talents’ transition to work easier.

3. Your school alumni networks and platforms such as France Alumni are highly-effective tools for networking when it comes to finding work or for learning about the companies and job profile that interests you. This is also a great place to find your industry mentors who can invariably give you an advantage over other candidates through their recommendation if they spot the potential and an appetite for learning in you. Keep an eye out for any ex-pat events too, whether a pub quiz to an organized meet-up. These are an easy way to get to know people.

4. Getting your paperwork in order early will help reduce stress levels when searching for jobs. Make sure you carry around a file containing photocopies of passports, old payslips, your Carte Vitale (health card), working papers, visas, household bills — in fact, any piece of paper you can think of including, of course, your CV.

Finally, learn the language and the basics about the French work culture. It takes longer to land a job in France because of the economy and the labor laws that make companies more careful about hiring. It’s good to start as soon as you can and also have a plan for your finances. Most importantly try not to get frustrated because patience is your best friend in France when looking for jobs. Spend the time throwing yourself into learning French — it will give you some structure, and help you out whenever you do finally land that dream job.

Check out links to Part 2 (Germany) and Part 3 (Netherlands) from this three-part blog series from akiTalent. Don’t forget to follow us now and leave a clap if you found this useful!



Smriti Narendran for akiTalent Paris, France

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