Alright, so I've decided to share a secret of mine that I've been holding in for awhile. Now that I have a constant flow of customers and a paid internship on the side, I feel comfortable enough in sharing my little secret of how to find work in Lyon.
First off, understand that it will take work, patience and perseverence... it's not an easy job market in France or in Europe. There is a crise d'économie everywhere you look and it can cause some potential problems for those of us who are needing to pay for ourselves while living abroad. I'll break down the ideas according level of French and experience:
You Don't Speak Barely Any French
If you barely speak any French it might be beneficial for you to try working for companies that are in need of a Anglophone. Baby Speaking is always hiring for baby sitters and teachers- but the problem remains that they are just expanding so you may not have a permanent pay check until after you leave. On the side, you can post up some ads around your campus or around the internet (try LyonWeb or Vivastreet) explaining you are looking to baby sit. Worse comes to worse, you could try to apply for cleaning positions that don't need you to speak.
You Can Get Through.. and you Know Some Future/Past Tenses
If you can hustle through French then you can try applying to some English speaking places... Vieux Lyon has some British Bars. Drop by (before busy services) and drop off a resume with a letter of intent, prove you are an Anglophone and that you could be useful to the company.
You can speak, but Sometimes Get Confused
If you feel you are able to understand/speak at about a 75% fluency rate then you might be able to try applying to some bilingual companies (Wallstreet Institute, Berlitz) or even try your hand at applying for teaching english in a school. The problem with teaching is that you need some level of experience (unless you tutor on the side), and patience. Teaching is not for everyone, if you are bad at explaining or have difficulties understanding why our language is the way it is, try applying for something else.
You Are Fluent
Well, good for you, in that case you can pretty much apply to any position. Know that there are many people fighting for the same position so outline your strengths due to living abroad. If you are fluent in French you could try to work in a company that interests you- remember to understand that companys are rigid in hiring... they have taxes to pay for employees and contracts to obey.. this makes it difficult to get a contract, but worth it if you try.
Some Other Ideas
-American Places (My Best Bagels, Donut Times, Little Britain, Bars in Vieux Lyon)
-Restaurants with Tourists (Vieux Lyon)
-Hotels or Tourism Places
-Bilingual Assistant Positions
-Tutoring via Postings around Campus
-MacDo (very common for Université students to work here)
Remember that it may take time to find a job but to research as much as possible to find something.. look on any website and think in French. Often it's a simple word such as: Baby Sitter to Garde d'Enfants that can give you a client or a person.. we forget that we are in France and many jobs are posted in French. Some key words: garde d'enfants, enseignement anglais, bilingue anglais, poste, traduction.
Good luck with the search.. something will pop out. OH, and one last thing, don't be afraid to charge what you are worth for tutoring or baby-sitting. I once turned down a job that offered 8 bucks an hour because it was for two children and it was a lot of hard work. Simply say, merci, mais ce ne m'interesse pas.