Whether you are a student in a foreign country, a customer business manager or a tenant trying to contact his/her landlord… You will always need to write effective emails. On the other hand, a cover letter is another kind of document that requires great attention since it is your chance to show your future employer that you are the right person for that particular job. Thus, in this article, we will present:

  • some useful rules and tips, as well as essential vocabulary, polite formulas
  • concrete examples of both a professional email and a cover letter

So, shall we start? All right, here we go!

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How To Write An Email In French?

If you have to write a professional email in French, especially when it is not your mother tongue and your level is still a little low, this can be a little bit tricky. But, it’s nothing you cannot overcome fortunately! We can improve the writing, whether it’s the structure, the syntax or the spelling, it’s just a matter of practicing and learning good writing tips.

Steps To Write And Structure An Email

#1 Pay attention to the spelling and never use familiar language.

#2 Divide the information into maximum four short paragraphs; one paragraph per each idea treated. Respect your recipient’s time! The order to follow is:

  • Greeting: use an appropriate salutation
  • P1: Why you write
  • P2: Explanation and / or request
  • P3: Other information required
  • P4: Sentence for concluding and synthesizing
  • Closing formula
  • Signature

Typical Phrases To Use In An Email In English And Some Tips

Let’s start with the basics: use a neutral email address.

The subject (l’objet, en français)

This is the first thing that your reader will see. Thus, the subject must contain the purpose of your email: be brief and precise. A question, a meaningful word, or a short sentence will be appropriate. Examples:

  • Remerciements
  • Demande d’informations sur le stage
  • Candidature spontanée pour…
  • Le cours a-t-il été reporté?

Greeting and formal title

Based on the context and the relationship between the issuer and the recipient(s), we decide which formula to use, followed by a comma. Examples:

  • Bonjour Antoine, Cher Antoine (when addressing to a colleague)
  • Bonjour Madame La Torre (when addressing to someone not very close )
  • Madame la Directrice (when speaking to a superior)
  • Madame/Monsieur (when we don’t know the recipient of our email)

The first sentence of your email

It must be directly related to the subject of your message.

  • Je tiens à vous remercier de votre gentillesse et de la logistique impeccable pendant ces quatre années…
  • Je souhaite recevoir des informations sur le stage qui aura lieu le 3 février …
  • Je me permets de vous adresser un CV et une lettre de motivation…
  • Je voudrais savoir si le cours a été reporté…

The body of your message

Many experts advise to use an inverted pyramid plan which consists of starting the text with the main information of the message.  As we said before, the text must have a maximum of 4 paragraphs.

And to finish the message

#1 Use a polite closing. Don’t forget it because you could give a bad impression about yourself. Examples:

  • Respectueusement
  • Salutations distinguées / respectueuses 
  • Cordialement, Très cordialement

#2 Signature. Include information about you. Complete name, your position, your telephone number and your address.

An Example Of A Professional Email In French

Objet: Impossibilité d’envoyer mon dossier pour recrutement

Bonjour Madame Tinchant,

Je me permets de vous contacter car le site de l’université ne me permet pas d’envoyer mon dossier et j’ai déjà essayé plusieurs fois sans aucun succès. Je vous envoie une impression d’écran pour vous montrer le problème (la touche en bas pour tout envoyer reste grisée). Serait-il possible que je vous envoie les documents par email?

Je vous remercie par avance de votre aide.

Très cordialement,

Sabine Joubert

A Cover Letter

The cover letter, in French, la lettre de motivation, is the opportunity to show clearly how your background, experience and abilities meet the expectations of your future employer and the job’s description.

Some Pieces Of Advice To Write Cover Letters

  • Be direct and concrete, do not use long sentences.
  • Do not project a negative image of yourself by focusing on the requirements you don’t meet.
  • Express your motivation in the opening remark.
  • Show how your personal qualities and  skills may be useful and interesting for the company.
  • Try to address the letter to a concrete person, do not forget to check what his or her post is. Be careful with the spelling of this person’s name!

An Example Of A Cover Letter

cover-letter-example-french

As you can see, in the previous cover letter, the applicant shows that she is really interested in the specific internship she is applying to. Also, she demonstrates that she knows what the company does, and that she really wants to become part of it. She proposes ideas to show she knows what she is looking for.

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