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How to write a cover letter to apply to an internship in France ?

If you study in France, there will come a time when you need to apply for an internship. This is an important part of your studies and you will have to write a cover letter to convince the recruiter that you are the perfect match for the job. The American Business School shares a few tips with you to write a great cover letter!

Cover letters in France

In France, a cover letter is called “une lettre de motivation”. The main principle to follow when writing a cover letter is to make it clear and unique. You have to meet your future employer’s expectations, but you also have to stand out. A cover letter always comes with a résumé which complements it.
As you guessed, it has to be written in French. In this letter, you will need to explain your current situation, your experiences and skills, but above all, you will demonstrate the relevance of your application with examples. Ideally, you will draw the outlines of your professional project.

Style and wording

Just start the letter like you would do for a normal one with your name and address at the top left corner and the recipient’s name and address at the top right corner. Then, underneath all that, centered, the date and the city.
Before addressing with “Madame, Monsieur,” you need to put the subject of your letter above as “Objet: candidature pour le poste de [the job you are applying for]”.

Never use “tu”. You must be polite, so always say “vous”. The best solution is to keep the letter as simple as possible.
And in case you want to write a very “frenchy letter”, know that there are tons of fancy expressions like: « Par la présente, je me rapproche de vous pour… » « Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes respectueuses salutations », « afin de vous convaincre de mes compétences… », so we advise you to show your final letter to a French native speaker who can proofread it and correct any possible mistakes.

Structure of your cover letter

You have to follow basic rules. Introduce yourself, talk about your education and experiences, say why you are the perfect match for the job and what you could bring. Conclude by saying how the company can contact you for more information.
Start off by introducing yourself and your interest in the job with a sentence such as: “Ayant parcouru votre annonce pour le poste de [job] sur le site de [website where you saw the offer], je souhaite vous proposer ma candidature”. It is often advised to talk about the firm you are applying to in a paragraph: it shows that you took time to know more about it and proves your interest.
Then, in another paragraph, discuss your best qualities, your educational background related to the job offer, and your previous and most relevant job experiences. In this section, demonstrate as much as possible your experiences with examples. For every quality, mention a clear and brief example.
You have to be enthusiastic and authentic. Don’t show off and don’t lie. You need to talk about how you will benefit from this job, and how the company would benefit from choosing you. The job suits you, and you suit the job!

Final point: sign with your name at the bottom right.

Some other rules

Finally, here are a few more useful tips:
Don’t extend to more than a page
French degrees are very valued, so don’t hesitate to talk about any formation you had. However, mentioning any non-related job is useless, unless you acquired a specific quality that is related to the job offer.
Avoid repetition. French people are very sensitive about that and using the same word too often is considered poor writing.
Arial is the most used and conventional font for cover letters.

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