Sunday, January 6, 2013

Job hunting in France

Job hunting in America wasn't easy, but in a foreign country it's even more difficult. 

       After my first month attending classes, I was ready to get out there and find a job.  Of course my dream would be to find this amazing marketing position, (part-time) that is looking for someone who speaks perfect English and very little French. After lots of searching I have realized that job does not exist.  I emphasize part-time, because although I would love to work full-time, with a student-Visa you are only able to work up to 20 hours a week.  That limited my search for employment and also made me more open to any kind of job!  After I transformed my résumé into a "CV", I applied at restaurants, hotels, boutiques, call centers, and museums.  I had high hopes when I would get a call for an interview, but when it came time to interview nerves were high!
      I remember my first interview was at a restaurant/bar chain, called O'Sullivans Irish Pub.  It was located near Pigalle, which isn't exactly the safest part of Paris (from what I'm told).  So I walk in to meet the two managers who seemed pretty easy going, both with strong Irish accents.  As the interview continued pretty smoothly, they told me what the schedule would look like for the person they were looking to hire.  (I was hoping for something after my class say 2:00pm and ending before it got dark?)  They were looking for someone who could work from 10:00pm to 5:00am!  (WHAT kind a bar is open until 5am!)  This wasn't possible for more than one reason.  First of all, the train stops running between 12:30am- 6:00am, and second I had classes!  After trying to charm them in to laying off one of their current employees with an afternoon shift, I was left with not the best expectations for the job. 
       Onto a few more not so successful interviews, until I got a call for a call center position.  (Perfect! I have lots of experience on the phone!)  The only problem with this interview was, it was in Versailles (not familiar territory), and an hour and half by train.  Thomas asked his Grandfather if he would mind taking me to my interview just so I can learn the area a little bit before seeing it alone.  "Papi" being the great grandfather that he is to Thomas, said that'd be no problem to take me 40 minutes by car to my interview.  Now that transportation was figured out, I was not only having my typical pre-interview nerves but also thinking of how this car ride was going to go.  Just me and Papi, alone, with no translator, this should be interesting.  The morning of, I was ready early so we could be sure we didn't hit traffic.  As we drove I read over a few notes I jotted down, and tried to make the best of the awkward silence with no music.  Every once and awhile he would point to a sign or the road and say something, I would respond with either a "Oui" or "Uh huh"(< I don't even know if "uh huh" translates!)  Occasionally I would look around and say something like " le ciel est bleu" (the sky is blue), yes, weather is always a good common interest.  We made it in great time not hitting any traffic at all and arriving 30 minutes early.  As we sat in the car awaiting my interview patiently, I was wondering what was Papi going to do when I walked in for it? (Was he going to stay in the car? Is he going to walk in with me? Would that be weird if he did?)  
       Next thing I knew it was time, and sure enough Papi was coming in with me! (Eeekk this would be weird if I took my grandfather in with me to an interview in USA, but I'm sure as hell not going to ask him to stay in a car!  Who knows how long it could take!?) Once we walked in I let the woman know I was here for an interview.  She then looked at Papi and asked him if she could help him, but he informed her that he was here with me.  She told us to have a seat while we waited, and there were some magazines.  After about another 20 minutes, the woman who would be interviewing me came out and introduced herself to me, and to Papi.  She then spoke in French with him, so I couldn't exactly follow what was said but it seemed pretty normal (as normal as you get with bringing your boyfriends grandfather to your interview).  After a long interview, testing my french skills, and phone skills it was over.  All and all it went pretty well, the french part was difficult but I did the best I could do under pressure.  We walked out to the front to meet Papi, and I'm pretty sure he asked her (the woman who just interviewed me) how I did!?  I remember my face turning bright red, but she responded with a casual, friendly response.  I may have been a little nervous having Thomas's Grandfather there with me, but if it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have made to that interview.  
      I didn't stop looking for jobs even if something felt promising, I continued to look until something was certain!  I attended another interview just a few days after that. It was in Paris working for a tourist company.  That interview was much more relaxed considering she was American too, and it was all in English!  The more I heard about what the job entailed, the more I wanted it! The position was a museum Hostess, which involved meeting tour groups up to 20 person, at some of the most famous museums in Paris: the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Pompidou.  I would then introduce them to a tour guide then follow the groups through the museums making sure not to lose anyone along the way. (sounds easy enough) This was the perfect job for me, I can meet new people, learn the city better, and get to hear about the most famous art in our history, daily.  
      After both job left me in suspense for the next two weeks, the job for the Museum host called me first!  (woooohooo!)  This call couldn't have come at a better time, classes were coming to an end and summer was approaching.  She proceeded to tell me I start training on May 12, 2012, with a Bicycle tour around Paris!  I love this job already!!

Just for the record, the other job at the call-center also called me for a position about a month after the interview.  But I wasn't going to turn down the position that involved seeing museums daily and get paid for it!  Whoever said taking a cute grandfather to an interview with you hurts your chances of landing a job?

The differences between a CV and a Résumé.


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