TAPIF Tip/Lecteur Lesson: So You Want to Be a Lecteur/Lectrice…

It was around this time during my assistant year that I determinedly decided that I wanted to stay in France, and that I was going to try to become a lectrice. I have been (happily!) receiving similar inquiries from eager expats about how to have the best chances at obtaining a position. So, below is my step-by-step process of what I did in order to prepare, search, and obtain a lectrice position.

December/January-

1. Get your University Diploma(s) Officially Translated! Most lecteur positions require all of the same documents as assistants, but I guarantee that they will also require your university diplomas. Do it early and make plenty of copies, so it is finished and ready to send off when jobs start to pop up around the internet.

2. Write Your CV and Lettre de Motivation in French! This process alone took me over a month. Be sure to spend a decent amount of time on it. The French style is extremely different from the American resume and it can be difficult to decide what to include and what to eliminate. I highly recommend having colleagues/teachers at your school, French friends, French roommates, or basically any native speaker look over and correct your CV and cover letter. Do internet research for key phrases used in professional French documents, and ask others for various samples or examples if you are at a loss as to where to start. Your CV and Lettre de Motivation will be the most important aspects of your applications. Most importantly, be sure to tailor both your CV and lettre de motivation to EACH university you apply to! The French cover letter format is also different from the US & UK styles (ie: sender’s address goes on the bottom left, receiver’s address on the top right, signature goes on the right) so verify you are using the correct format!

February-

3. Start networking! There are much fewer lecteur positions than assistant positions, and many of them are never advertised! Use the who-you-know technique to your advantage in order to find vacant positions! It was actually through of a friend I met through the Blogging and Twitter world that I found and applied for my position in the first place. Even if it is only a friend of a friend of a friend or someone with whom you’ve only connected on social media, it can’t hurt to send a tweet or private message! The other faculties at the university where I work solely use the who-you-know technique in order to pass on the positions as well!

4. Start researching and brainstorming! Besides networking, start compiling a list of regions or specific cities and even universities that interest you!

March/April-

5. Vigorously Start Searching and Applying! During the months of late February, March, and April, I was doing constant Google searches for lecteur positions, and applying to any position for which I qualified. I recommend using both Google.com and Google.fr, in case the position is only in one language versus another. Additionally, my friend Jennifer at ielanguages.com posts all of the positions she can find every year! The 2016-2017 positions are currently being updated here, the 2015-2016 positions can be found here, and the 2014-2015 positions can be found here. I used her website as well as her Twitter Feed religiously while searching– they were my biggest resources!

If you have specific universities in mind, simply search their websites and see if they have any vacancies to fill. Be sure to look for links or tabs such as recrutement, postes, or emplois either on their home page or Langues Etrangères pages. If the universities you are interested in do not have any vacancies, send them your CV anyways!

April/May

6.  Interviews! Take any interviews you receive, and come to them prepared! Do some research about the school, the English department, the lecteur position, etc. as well as prepare some questions before your actual interview! Interviews can vary greatly! For example, I had first a phone interview and then a Skype interview for my position. But, many universities may request in-person interviews!

Your interview may or may not be in English or French. My interviews were both in English because my boss is British and the person I replaced is American, so it was just more natural for us. But, MANY other departments conduct their interviews solely in French. Additionally, some (read: many) universities offer lecteur positions solely based off your CV and cover letter without interviewing you (I had one other offer without an interview). However with such recent increased competitiveness, many universities are now requesting further interview materials, such as lesson plans and/or portfolios.

Do research about the school, the languages department, etc. with whom you’re interviewing. Some of the questions that came up on my interview included,

  • Tell me about your current job/most recent teaching experience and what do you like best about it?
  • Why do you want to work as a lecteur/lectrice at our school?
  • What do you know about our school?
  • Tell me about your recent lessons.
  • How would you describe your ideal classroom?
  • What kind of English do you think engineering students need ?
  • What are your experiences with mixed ability classes?
  • What is most important thing an English teacher should keep in mind when planning lessons?
  • How are you going to deal with the fact that you and your students are close in age? 
  • What is your classroom management style?
  • How do you feel about working in teams?
  • Have you applied to other positions?
  • What is the best way to teach a second language?

Other Tips / Advice

7. Most lecteur positions want you to be at least working on a Master’s Degree, or have the equivalent to Bac + 4. Even if you don’t have any Master’s credits (I don’t), apply anyways. A Bachelor’s Degree is sometimes considered and accepted, especially if you have relevant language or teaching experience.

8. If you already have a Master’s Degree or more (ie: PhD. credits), search and apply for Maître de Langue positions as well. You have more responsibilities than as a lecteur, but with a more prestigious title, fewer hours, and higher pay (oh, France!)

9. Even if the application deadline has passed, send your application materials anyways. You never know what could happen!

10. Personalize any email you send along with your application materials to the person in charge. (Hint: You may need to do some research to figure this out.) It WILL make a difference!

11. Some universities may request you to send paper copies of your application. If this is the case, I recommend you do so via lettre recommandée avec avis de réception, to ensure it arrives.

12. Some universities may require additional documents with your application. Make sure you read the requirements carefully and send everything they ask for. Some of the positions I applied for required recordings of myself in French and English, lesson plan samples, and several passport photos!

13. Even if the universities you are interested in do not have any positions posted, send them your application materials regardless, and then follow up with an email or phone call a few days or weeks later. Again, you never know what can happen! (This is called candidature spontanée!)

14. Use the who-you-know advantage. Network. Think outside the box. Be willing to re-locate to a new area of France.

15. Try to see if your university has any exchanges with a university in France. Many times, these are how lecteurs positions are filled, and hence never advertised or open to the public.

16. Especially if your interviews are in French, brush up on your professional, educational, and business vocabulary!

17. Stay positive! Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you never hear back from some of the universities to which you apply! I sent approximately 15 applications over the course of two months, and never heard back from most. In the end, I had three declines, three interviews, and two offers– and DEFINITELY ended up in the BEST possible position I could have imagined! I am so happy!

If you don’t end up securing a position, you can try to renew as an assistant again. As of 2015, the CIEP has re-opened up the opportunity for English Assistants to renew. Click here for the CIEP link to the renewal page. 

Please do not hesitate to email me or comment with any questions, concerns, or other advice! Bonne Chance!

Bisous,

Dana

63 thoughts on “TAPIF Tip/Lecteur Lesson: So You Want to Be a Lecteur/Lectrice…

  1. Hi Dana, this is Somrita from India. I worked as an English Assistant in Academie de Versailles in 2014-15. This year I had applied to some universities for lectrice and maitresse positions. I had got interview calls from 3 universities, got 3rd rank in all of them and the second ranked candidate took the position in all three of them. I am yet to get result from few. But I am losing hope. Do I have a chance? Does anything happen in August in the last moment?

  2. Hey Dana,

    I was wondering if you could show me an example of a candidature spontanée email? I’m at a loss for how to formulate it, haha. Thanks! 🙂

    Megan Lapke

  3. Hi Dana,
    I was hoping to send you an email asking some specific questions about the lettre de motivation for the lectrice positions; however, I can’t seem to find out how to do this.

    Can you help me, please? I’m applying for the 2017-2018 school year.

  4. Dana, what a delight to come across this blog! I’ve just moved to France with my hubs and will be taking French classes at Sorbonne in the mornings. I taught ESL for about 5 years in Chile and am hoping to find a steady teaching job here to round out my afternoons/evenings. I may be a bit late on the lectrice positions for this year, but your comments have inspired me to send out my information anyway.. ya never know! 😉 anyway, just wanted to say bonjour and thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. I’m @alissavermeulen on social media if you want to follow back. bisous

  5. Hi Dana! Question about the diploma translation. If your diploma is in latin, do you still need it translated? Or do you have to somehow get it translated from Latin to French?

  6. Salut Dana,
    Soo, I’m currently working on a master’s degree (will be done in August) and just did TAPIF last year. I’ve applied to 9 lecteur positions and I so far have been denied by 3. One of the universities even went so far as to say: “A Master’s degree = Master 1 in
    France, so you need to have completed your Master’s degree in order to
    apply for this job”. Is this a finished/validated master’s degree a new requirement? It seems ULTRA competitive, and I’m just hoping to get at least 1 interview, but it seems I’m not qualified. =( I just wonder if this is the reason why I’m not getting any interviews, or not hearing back. Thanks! PS I follow you on Instagram as @megansmusings and on Snapchat as magnifiquemeg 😉
    -Megan

    1. Hi Megan,

      Nice to “meet” you outside social media 🙂

      UGH, I feel your frustration. This “requirement” was put into place in 2013, but for awhile many universities didn’t enforce it or realize what it meant (I was lucky enough to get around the rules in 2014, but we have had to check requirements, etc. for a new Lecteur to replace me. ) you’re right, it IS ultra competitive and it’s getting a bit ridiculous. The “one year of post graduate studies” indicates an M1, you’re correct, but I see no reason why your US masters should my count (and a master’s degree is 2 years in France, so I believe that university was mistaken in their “requirements.”). Anyways, keep trying. You’re definitely qualified, France is just more obsessed with pieces of paper more than anything else. Do you have teaching experience? These are things I believe universities are looking for now that it is so competitive.

      Keep your chin up and keep trying to google search, “recrutement Lecteur d’anglais 2016-2017” for example… PS if you have a master’s you can apply to be a maître de langue- it pays more!

      Hope this helps, keep me posted!!!
      -Dana

      1. Omgsh, yeah. I feel like it takes a rocket scientist to apply for this job, or to be considered! The thing is, I don’t yet have a master’s degree (M2 in the French translation) but will have one in August if all goes well (haha). I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing on lettres de motivation, though, so I’m going to try to fix that up today so I can continue applying to a couple more positions. And I don’t have any teaching experience other than TAPIF last year which was suuuuuch a mixed experience for me. I have always wanted to teach people around my age/adults (am I one?!) though. Maybe I’m too young to be considered? I’m 23. Honestly I’m not really sure I’m what they’re looking for, but it’s worth a shot.

      2. Send me an email and I can send you some examples! It may be teaching experience that is what is killing you. Also, where are you applying? Are you only sticking to Paris? You may have to really branch out!

      3. Alsoooo…forgot to add that I definitely don’t have my highest diploma (bachelor’s) officially translated. I do have a copy of it but I don’t know how I would get that translated very quickly…yikes.

      4. There is a woman called Julie Seubion on Facebook (in some of the expat groups), like assistants considering master’s. She does them quickly and efficiently!

      5. Yes! I really feel like it’s the lack of teaching experience and any other “real” jobs that is killing me :/ I’m applying all over, definitely not just Paris. Does it even make sense to translate a bachelor’s though? I just get the impression that I can’t even apply if I haven’t validated my Master’s yet. It’s weird. Don’t know how that guy got a position without a finished Master’s! Another thing is- for writing these cover letters, I only have peoples’ names and email addresses and usually not any address to add in there. What to do in that case? Thanks SO MUCH for all your help, I really love your blog and I’m so happy I found it!

  7. Hi Dana!
    Thanks for all this great info. I was wondering if you could tell me when your interviews were generally held… I know you posted April/May, but did they tend to be more towards the beginning/ end of a certain month?
    I’m looking into buying plane tickets soon but don’t want to miss the chance to go to any interviews in person.

  8. salut Dana
    i am looking for a teaching job in Toulouse, i am a french and ESL teacher in salt lake city , utah ,with 15 years of experience, and i am a native of france.and i am trying to bring my family back to france. My letter and CV are ready to go , in french and in english, should i send then in both language or not.
    Also can you help me out with the email, do you have a magic phrases ou tournure that you like to use.
    and one more question: how do you Get your University Diploma(s) Officially Translated?
    Merci , beaucoup pour ton blog
    Lou

    1. Hi, I would send your CV / lettre de motivation in French if you can! You need to find a certified translator to translate your diplomas (or you may be able to do it yourself!) Check with the consulate nearest to you, and they should have a list of provided certified translators in your area. Good luck!

      1. merci Dana, je vais faire des recherches sur Salt Lake pour un traducteur Français et je garderai mes cv en Anglais pour moi et si il demande je les leur enverrai. Any connection in Toulouse that you know? thanks
        Lou

      2. merci Dana, je vais faire des recherches sur Salt Lake pour un traducteur Français et je garderai mes cv en Anglais pour moi et si il demande je les leur enverrai. Any connection in Toulouse that you know? thanks Lou

        On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 11:13 AM, As Told By Dana wrote:

        > Dana commented: “Hi, I would send your CV / lettre de motivation in French > if you can! You need to find a certified translator to translate your > diplomas (or you may be able to do it yourself!) Check with the consulate > nearest to you, and they should have a list of provi” >

  9. Hello Dana! I’m starting to look for positions (maitre and lectrice) for the 2016-2017 school year, and I had a couple of questions.

    Do you think a lack of teaching experience would disqualify me from positions? I have a BA and MA Linguistics and one year of curriculum development experience, but no formal teaching experience outside of a one-month volunteer stint in a rural classroom. Do you think it’d be necessary to start out in a TAPIF position before I try for a lectrice/maitre position? Thanks!

    1. Hi Courtney!
      It’s hard to say! You have the advantage of having a masters degree; I think you could face some setbacks for some jobs but not others. Perhaps apply for the assistantship as a backup but don’t sell yourself short! Go for the maître de langue and Lectrice positions!

  10. Hey, I’m wondering, does it matter what you masters degree is in? Would a degree in English or French be preferable to, say, a masters in International Relations? Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi! Usually for a Lecteur position it doesn’t matter; I think anything with languages or English would be a plus but you see people from all walks of life. Usually for these posts they just care about the piece of paper. Hope that helps!

  11. Hi Dana! This is an amazing blog, as I am sure you have heard many times. I was wondering if a teaching certification/credential is a necessary prerequisite for being a lectrice. Merci beaucoup!

    1. Hi! Thank you so much!

      Nope, it’s not needed but it’s definitely what put me ahead of other candidates. However what France requires now is one year of a Master’s Degree completed for a Lecteur/Lectrice position, and a finished MA degree for a Maître de Langue position. Hope that helps!

  12. Hello Dana,

    Thanks so much for such a helpful post. I’m sending off some candidature spontanée but am not sure of the best people to send them to. Did you only apply to the positions on Jennie’s website or might you have some insight on who would be the best person to send the applications to? Director of the English department? Or just the general human resources email?

    I really appreciate it !

  13. Hi Dana,

    Currently applying for these positions myself and trying not to get too anxious. I’ve sent out 5 applications and recieved a rejection from one. I was shocked when I learned that this position had received 82 candidates!!! Granted it was in Paris, but my questions are:

    – Did you find that a certain region in France (outside of Paris which we all know is inundated with people looking to be hired for these positions) was harder to find a job in than others?

    – Did you have any other teaching experience besides TAPIF when you applied?

    – Did you actually hear back/get accepted into any of the Paris facs? There are a few left that I haven’t applied to, but I am wondering if I should skip them and focus on schools that weren’t advertised somewhere

    – Did you ever send two applications in to the same university? For example, one for the maitre de langue (I think I qualify since this is my last semester of my M2 and I’ll be getting my diploma in June) and one for the lectrice – or, one at the fac de lettres et langues and one at the fac de medecine?

    Sorry this is long! If you have any insight on even one of these questions it’d be greatly appreciated!

    Shelly

    1. Hi Shelly!

      Thanks for your comment and for reaching out!

      Yeah, the lecteur positions are becoming more and more competitive each year, even in schools outside of Paris. When I applied last year, I literally sent my application everywhere– about 16 schools, all the ones I found on Jennie’s website, ielanguages. (This year’s posts are here: http://ielanguages.com/blog/lecteur-anglais-2015/

      This year there are 2 positions opened at the university I work at in the north, and there were over 30 applications, and we are quite a small city! If I’m being completely honest, I think it’s competitive anywhere– your best tactic is the “who-you-know” technique– anything to get your name out there (do your teachers know anyone working at a uni, for example?)

      I do not have a Master’s Degree, so that is where I encountered the most red tape (many unis didn’t glance at my application) and therefore I also don’t qualify for Maitre de langue. but if you do qualify for both, definitely apply for both! There is no harm in that!
      But, to answer your question, I do have my Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Wisconsin Teaching License from the US, and I taught ESL in a middle school before moving to France as an assistant, so that experience is definitely what set me apart.

      let me know if you have any other questions, or feel free to email me at dana.wielgus@gmail.com.

      Bisous!

      1. Of course posting the jobs online certainly does not help with the competition, though I’m certain it draws a lot of traffic to the site!

  14. Hi there. I am contemplating becoming a lectrice as a backup plan (been living in France over 5 years now). What titre de sejour did you get? Is it salarie or travailleur temporarire? Thanks a lot

    1. Hi!

      When I first got my visa back in August, it was a Travailleur Temporaire visa. When you renew for a second year as a lectrice, you are then given a “salarie” visa from the prefecture.

      HOWEVER, I had all of my papers stolen in mid-September, so I had to apply for a carte de sejour early in order to replace the vignette visa from my stolen passport, so I am now labeled as “Salarie.”

      Can I ask what you’ve been up to in France for the past 5 years? I’ll be out of options once my contract runs out. 🙂

      1. Oh ok I see. Thanks for the info. I ‘ve done the teaching asssitantship thing several years as well as completed my Masters. Currently on the job hunt and the lectrice/maitre de langue thing sounds like a good possibility. Been considering it for a while now. Any ideas on what you might do next? I’m in Lyon currently

      2. nice! pretty much done every possible thing eh? Definitely think that’s the best thing for you!

        I’m on my first year as a lectrice, and I’m renewing for next year so I’ll have 2 years total. Afterwards, I could potentially apply to be an assistant again (as I’ve only done it once), but with the crap salary as well as the skill level, I think I will be ready to move on. I”ve considered a master’s but I think I may move onwards to Asia. We’ll see! 😀

        Thanks for your comments 🙂

  15. I’m a bit annoyed that I haven’t been able to find any job listings for la rentrée 2015 yet – though I’m afraid I won’t be able to find as many as in previous years since the TESOL France mailing list (where I found about half of them last year) is no longer free. 😦

    1. Ive been frustrated i couldnt find any either! I figured thats why I hadnt seen anything posted on your site yet. Ive been getting emails and messages about positions and being able to find any… Hopefully they will pop up soon!

  16. Lol I love it: “What is the best way to teach a second language?” IF WE ONLY KNEW.

    Also, I gotta say, being a maître de langue has important differences to being a lecteur. There are differences in every university of course but I certainly had more responsibility as a maître de langue than as a lecteur.

    1. Hi! Thanks for bringing that to my attention- i just added that to my post. I had interviews in both languages but for my current position it was all in English because my boss is English and the person I replaced is American, so it was just more natural for us.

  17. One of the best things to do? Even if you don’t see a job offer, apply to the schools or schools in cities that interest you like you said! You never know! Plus exchanges can drop out at the last minute.

    Also, many people (myself included) tend to send their materials to the language part of the university. We both know that’s not the only people who hire! Luckily, the language facs usually share the applications with other facs at the same uni (I received several offers that way), but a good way to stand out is to send it there on your own.

    1. Yes to all of this! It’s really all about taking initiative and thinking outside the box, as you must do in order to survive in France! I would have never thought engineering school otherwise! 🙂

    1. That would be so cool for you to come back to France! I know, I saw the CIEP website and I was like, wow, this is a change! I don’t know if they accept every renewal request they receive, however!

      Hope you’re doing well!

      1. I’ve emailed Carolyn Collins about it a few weeks ago (as I’m sure many people have!) because the tapif website still says you can’t do two consecutive years…Not sure how this new policy will affect tapif acceptances. I’ll let you know if I hear back 🙂 at the very least there may be some current or future assistants reading the comments section!

      2. yeah, keep me posted! It was an option to renew until like 2011, so the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 assistants were never given the option!

      3. I heard that she was leaving, too, shannon! Im not sure where i heard it but i know i did! What a shame, she was like a God!

      4. She had posted a job ad for her position on the FB group for Alumni of TAPIF. I never had contact with her. Back in my day, it was a woman named Meg I believe.

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