Firstly, we would like to let you know that the CVs and resumes you are used to writing in other countries are different from the resume format in Canada, but if you adhere to our instructions, then, you will also want to adapt to the Canadian way of presenting your experience and skills.
What is the major difference about the resume format in Canada from other countries?
If you wish to find a job in Canada, you should pay more attention to your resume because it is key to finding jobs in Canada. Your resume is what your employer will use to generally assess your suitability for roles based on this document alone.
The main reason for writing a resume is to be able to get the interest of the reader so that you get an interview. In doing this, endeavor to move away from telling the employer about yourself, instead, tell the employer things that will prove to them that you are the most suitable candidate for the job, such as things that will benefit the company.
Furthermore, you should avoid listing your duties in each role, rather, talk about the achievements that other candidates wouldn’t be able to put on their resumes in order to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
In Canada, the resume format must contain (in this order):
1. Your contact information
2. The summary of your professional/career
3. Your work experience
4. Your education or/and professional development
Feel free to add technical skills and volunteer experience/community involvement. where appropriate.
Sixteen tips on how to adapt to the resume format in Canada.
1. The essence of your resume is to serve as a tool to secure an interview, and, not supposed to be a comprehensive work history document. Hence, when you are writing your resume for Canada, focus on presenting the reader with your highlights, and not going into detail. It is when you are invited for an interview that you can go into detail.
2. Secondly, ensure that your resume is interesting because a typical hiring manager will not spend more than 10-30 seconds browsing your document, therefore, seize that opportunity to sell yourself in a concise way that concentrates on your achievements.
3. Make use of a professional resume template.
4. Try not to use long paragraphs and small fonts (a font that is less than size 10 is not a good idea), instead, make use of an easily readable font and be consistent with that font throughout.
5. Avoid the use of the first person such as “I am technical”, “I worked at XYZ”, rather, use short sentences like “Increased sales by 10%”.
6. If you are writing a resume format in Canada, it means that your document should not be less than two pages. Nevertheless, one page is enough if you do not have a lot of experience, but you can make use of three pages if you have more than 10 years of experience.
7. Ensure you do not waste important space, this is why you must only list the experience that is relevant for the role to which you are applying.
8. Another important tip is to convert all terms to their Canadian equivalent. For instance, infused terms such as “high school”, “GPA” (Grade Point Average — which is the equivalent for university grades), “internship”, and so on.
9. Please avoid listing personal interests or hobbies except they are achievements that add to your character, do not forget that it is a good resume that distinguishes you from other candidates, therefore, mention only things that will improve your chances of success.
10. Additionally, add skills like the ability to speak a second language or mastery of particular computer applications but make sure that they are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
11. Do not send a generic resume to dozens of employers, instead, take your time in preparing your resume for each specific job and company you’re applying to.
12. You can also go the extra mile by getting a professional in the field to proofread it and look out for grammatical and spelling errors because these things can mar your first impression.
13. Avoid mentioning that you are on a “gap year” or “one-year work permit” because companies are searching for committed candidates who are going to contribute to their success. When the time for the interview comes, you can discuss your immigration status, that is if the employer requests more information. Also, if you are in Canada on a temporary permit, you should research options of longer-term permanent residence so you can discuss ways of residing in Canada once your work permit expires.
14. Exclude the word ‘resume’ or ‘CV’ or the date you prepared the document at the top of the page.
15. Do not append your signature on your resume.
16. Avoid listing references or even include the line ‘references available on request. Do not waste valuable space doing so because it is already assumed that you have your reference ready. Just ensure you have the names and contact details of your references ready to present when requested, also ensure that they are ready to speak positively on your behalf.
Useful tips on preparing for the resume format in Canada
Below are the useful tips you should employ when crafting the contact, career summary, and work history sections of your resume.
Your contact information:
- Under Canada’s employment law, your date of birth, gender, marital status, religion, or parents’ names are not required.
- Include a Canadian phone number and where needed, ensure you have a Canadian address listed.
- Your email address should be a combination of your first name and last name, let it look professional, and not slang terms or nicknames. In addition, do not use email addresses with country-specific domains, like .co.uk, you can set up a new email address specifically for job hunting, if necessary.
- Ensure you attach your LinkedIn profile URL. We are sure you want your employer to easily locate your profile, so, create a custom Linkedin profile URL so that it isn’t as ‘clunky’ as the one that LinkedIn designated for you. Not just that, male are constantly updated and have a strong summary.
For your Professional / career summary
Consider this to be a micro resume that will enable the reader to understand your goals and how you can be of assistance to their company.
Think of anything that distinguishes you from the rest whether it is personality, technical ability, managerial skills, team building, or some other talents that are relevant to the job.
Start by clearly stating your aim, list the title of the role you are applying for, that is if you’re responding to a job posting, if otherwise, it should be the title of the role you are aiming for. Please, know that being a “jack of all trades” doesn’t go down well with most employers. That is to say that if you desire to be a Project Manager, go ahead and call yourself one, and don’t expect a company to identify what you should be.
And, if you would like to do two or three different things, you have to prepare two or three specific documents, and adhere to the resume format in Canada for each of them.
- Talk about your years of relevant experience you have, the type of experience you have, and mention your future ambitions.
- Make sure you do not use generic comments such as “honest and hardworking professional”. Rather, ensure you give the reader a true insight into your strengths and objectives, and it should be specific to you, and not just things that anyone can write on their resume.
- Furthermore, talk about your career aspirations, irrespective of if it is professional designations, supervisory work, managerial work, or other work.
Your Canadian work experience
Attach details of roles that are relevant to the job, because prospective employers are already accustomed to the duties and responsibilities of these roles, therefore, you don’t have to list them.
Instead of lengthy lists, make use of three or four concise bullet points.
In each of the past roles, think about your major achievements, then elaborate on each point by pinpointing a particular problem you experienced, the actions you took, and the results you accomplished. Do you know the language of a manager? Each problem successfully solved brings either an increase in revenue or a decrease in costs.
In conclusion, you have to write a resume that will be intriguing to your employer, commit them to invite you for an interview, and you can achieve this if you are able to adhere to the tips given to you.