Nine ways a French job centre can help jobseekers - and employers

From CV advice to language lessons the new France Travail is gearing up to increase employment

France’s 890 job centres have been rebranded as France Travail and changes are afoot
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The Pôle Emploi has changed its name to France Travail and, alongside a new logo, has a new director.

In theory, France Travail is a completely new entity but changes will be incremental.

Eventually, however, it is expected to simplify the administration involved in registering for benefits and accessing help to get back into training and/or employment.

Between now and 2027, when the new structure is expected to be fully operational, jobseekers will become more closely supervised.

They will be expected to spend at least 15 hours a week actively attending training sessions or job-hunting, and will face sanctions if they fail to comply.

Read more: French jobseeker rebrand aims to inspire ‘active’ take on employment

The services offered by Pôle Emploi/France Travail – which employs around 58,000 people and runs approximately 890 job centres across the country – include the following:

1. Support finding work

Anyone, even those currently in employment, can ask for information about job opportunities, training, career progression, and mobility.

The Pôle Emploi/France Travail website is the largest job listings website in France and anyone can consult it. As well as jobs in France, it lists opportunities abroad.

Staff also construct and maintain close contacts with employers in their area, meaning they can advise jobseekers which might be recruiting soon, and where best to send spontaneous applications to get ahead of the game.

Read more: Jobs in France: These key sectors are actively recruiting

2. Help claiming benefits

Staff can inform jobseekers about unemployment benefits available, and help apply.

If necessary, they can help applicants complete their employment history. This is important because if, for example, a short employment contract has been omitted from an applicant’s record, it could adversely affect the benefits they receive.

Read more: Receive family benefits in France? Why you must change your password

Read more: French benefit: Ajpa the caregiver or compassionate leave allowance

3. Writing a lettre de motivation

Staff can help write the all-important covering letter, or lettre de motivation.

They will correct spelling and grammar and suggest what to include.

This can usually be typed – the requirement to copy it out in your best longhand is dying out.

4. CV advice

Staff can help applicants write their CVs, which entail professional-looking layouts, attractive fonts and sometimes a photo.

French CVs need to be adapted to each job opportunity. Some job centres run group sessions or short courses.

Otherwise, applicants can check their own CV with their personal adviser.

5. Language lessons

Receive help accessing French lessons to improve both written and oral language skills.

Depending on the area, sometimes staff can even point you in the direction of free courses.

Otherwise, they can help navigate the CFP (Compte Personnel de Formation) system, where applicable.

Read more: A1, C2: What is the CEFR language rating in France?

6. Vocational training

In certain circumstances, jobseekers can sign up for paid vocational training.

Staff can help find these opportunities locally, and explain who is eligible/how to apply.

7. Interview practice

Prepare for upcoming job interviews, either in real life or, as is increasingly the case, online via platforms such as Zoom.

Where the job centre has a relationship with a prospective employer, they can let candidates know what to expect at the interview.

8. Free use of computers

Jobseekers can use the computers and printers to apply for jobs, draw up CVs and write covering letters.

Many job centres have workstations to use without making a reservation, but check first.

9. Employer support

Staff can help employers list jobs by explaining the rules and regulations to follow and the types of opportunity that can be created. They can also help recruiting.

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