Rédiger un CV et une lettre de motivation

Les mots clés et expressions:

Cv, resume

Definition : a detailed summary of your professional and academic life.

Translation : CV

Cover letter, letter of application (usa), covering letter (uk)

Definition : a letter that is sent with a résumé (or CV).

Translation : Lettre de motivation

Ceo (chief executive officer, usa), managing director (uk)

Definition : the highest person in an organization, usually reports to the chairman of the board.

Translation : DG

Board of directors

Definition : a group of people elected by stockholders to establish corporate policies and management of a corporation.

Translation : Conseil d’administration

Chairman of the board

Definition : permanent president of the company committee

Translation : Président du conseil d’administration

Ceo and chairman of the board

Definition : Managing Director who is also the company president on board of directors.

Translation : PDG

Cfo (chief financial officer)

Definition : top person in charge of all financial transactions in the company.

Translation : Directeur financier

Financial planner

Definition : a trained professional who helps you develop a financial plan and make investment decisions.

Translation : Conseiller financier

Project manager

Definition : person with the overall responsibility for a project’s successful implementation. Defines, schedules and plans the project.

Translation : Chef de projet

Computer technician (information technology manager or it manager)

Definition : person who works with development, installation and implementation of computer systems and applications.

Translation : Informaticien


Definition : person who buys goods, buyer.

Translation : Acheteur


Definition : person who handles correspondence, files and other clerical work.

Translation : Assistante administrative

Lawyer (usa), barrister (uk)

Definition : person who is trained to give legal advice and represent someone in a court of law or other legal matters.

Translation : Avocat, juriste

Insurance salesperson

Definition : person who sells insurance policies.

Translation : Assureur

Real estate agent

Definition : person who sells property (land, houses, appartments, etc).

Translation : Agent immobilier

Sales, salesperson

Definition : person who sells something.

Translation : Ventes, vendeur


Definition : education, training and work experience.

Translation : Expérience


Definition : the process of learning a particular skill.

Translation : Formation


Definition : an ability in a particular activity.

Translation : Compétence

Design (to)

Definition : to decide/plan how something will look/work, to think of and plan a system, to devise.

Translation : Concevoir

Launch (to)

Definition : to introduce something to the market, to initiate, to set in motion.

Translation : Lancer

Establish (to)

Definition : to create, to put something in place, to set up

Translation : Etablir

To implement

Definition : to make use of, to put in to action.

Translation : Mettre en oeuvre

Initiate (to)

Definition : to bring into being, to begin something.

Translation : Initier

To negotiate

Definition : to talk about a situation in order to reach an agreement.

Translation : Négocier

Optimize (to)

Definition : to get the maximum out of, to exploit fully.

Translation : Optimiser

To expand

Definition : to become larger in size, volume or quantity.

Translation : Etendre

To generate

Definition : to produce or to create something.

Translation : Fournir, produire

Improve (to)

Definition : to make something better.

Translation : Améliorer

Increase (to)

Definition : to become bigger or greater in amount.

Translation : Augmenter

Reduce (to)

Definition : to decrease, to make smaller.

Translation : Réduire

To define

Definition : to delineate the form.

Translation : Définir

Solve (to)

Definition : to find a solution.

Translation : Résoudre

To update

Definition : to supply with the most recent information, to bring to the latest state of technology.

Translation : Mettre à jour

Standardize (to)

Definition : to make everything the same, to conform to a norm.

Translation : Harmoniser


Definition : area, sector, subject area.

Translation : Domaine

Les usages à respecter:

• The cover letter should be typed (one page only).

• In the USA “résumé” is more often used than “CV”. The standard is one page (maximum two). Focus on your work experience.

• In England, “CV” is standard. It may be more than two pages. Main sections : Objective, Professional Experience, Education, Skills.

• Use the past tense on your CV/résumé, except for your current job (present tense).

• Do not include : photograph, sex, age, date of birth, family status, driver’s license.

• Use action words to site your accomplishments. 

Quelques règles de bon anglais:

No subject needed On a CV/résumé, no need to include the subject as one understands it is the person who wrote the CV.

Example : Increased sales by 15%.

Simple past

• Regular verbs : add “ed” if the verb ends in a consonant and “d” if the verb ends in an “e” (develop/developed, create/created). Add “ed” to verbs that end in a “y” preceded by a vowel (stay/stayed). If the verb ends in a ‘y” preceded by a consonant, change the “y” to “i” and add “ed” (try/tried, rely/relied).

• Irregular verbs : learn them one by one. Check their spelling before sending your CV. 


Fill in the missing word(s), then check the result below :

field, Launched, Reduced, Increased, Solved, lawyer, Designed, cover letter, background, Defined, skills, Negotiated, CV/résumé, Established, Improved, Generated, training, Expanded, Standardized, Implemented, Updated

1. Please send your ............ and CV to 121 Brown Street by January 1, 2008.

2. I have a ............ in sales and marketing but I am looking for a job in product development.

3. ............ customer complaint procedure in order to ensure that all customers received a satisfactory solution.

4. Languages spoken and computer abilities are examples of .............

5. British employers often ask for a ............ whereas American employers tend to use the word .............

6. ............ new overtime procedures in order to reduce unwarranted costs.

7. ............ quality rating with major suppliers to 90% satisfaction.

8. Organized quarterly computer skills ............ sessions for all employees.

9. ............ contract deals with suppliers for a total company savings of ten percent.

10. ............ business by developing new European customers in Germany, Spain and Portugal.

11. ............ all testing procedures in order to establish quality statistical data.

12. ............ marketing research graphs in order to clearly identify gaps in our target population.

13. ............ inspection process which identified and led to correction of potential defects.

14. ............ brand notoriety issue by implementing an intensive targeted marketing campaign.

15. As a ............ I have specialised in international environmental law.

16. ............ company manuals to include the most recent information and new procedures.

17. ............ production from current brokers through relationship marketing, seminars and advertising.

18. ............ internal training procedures and development plan for twenty sales representatives.

19. ............ employee turnover by twenty percent.

20. ............ new production method to decrease publication costs by ten percent.

21. Extensive knowledge in the ............ of chemical research, with ten years hands on experience.


Solutions 1 : cover letter. 2 : background. 3 : Designed. 4 : skills. 5 : CV/résumé. 6 : Established. 7 : Improved. 8 : training. 9 : Negotiated. 10 : Expanded. 11 : Standardized. 12 : Generated. 13 : Implemented. 14 : Solved. 15 : lawyer. 16 : Updated. 17 : Increased. 18 : Defined. 19 : Reduced. 20 : Launched. 21 : field.

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