Canadian CV Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, it requires thorough preparation, starting with a successful job application. Work in Canada requires more than just the obvious Canadian cover letter and Canadian CV writing and translation. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in Canadian jobs.

Do not underestimate the influence they can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.

In Canada, the term resume is used instead of CV. In short, you can turn an updated CV into a resume. The resume is a Canada-style CV, which details the most recent job first and highlights the main aspects of your career. It is less structured, in a narrative style and shorter than a CV. It is also more subjective. If you are applying for international jobs, you may need to submit a Curriculum Vitae instead of a CV.

The Internet is the main source for vacancies in Canada. Most Canadian employers accept computer applications. However, you should be aware that such an electronic CV does not look the same as a standard printed one.

Canadian job application procedure is more commercial than in most other Western countries. In result, both the cover letter and the CV (Canadians use résumés instead of CVs) should contain power words and action verbs that show accomplishment and action.

Prepare yourself - before writing your Canadian CV find out information about the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.

art_attention Canadian CVBe aware, there are some differences within the country itself. In English-speaking Canada applying for a job is very much like in the US - you have to actively sell yourself. But in the French part of the country, it is more formal and a little less direct.

Type your Canadian CV on no more than two to three pages, depending on the length of your work experience, in reversed chronological order - detailing your most recent activities first. Use concise and brief sentences filled with action verbs and power words. Scanners that are programmed to select specific words notice these words.

The aim of your Canadian CV should be to persuade the employer to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your CV is a marketing tool, which should be customized to the market in which you intend to use it.

Traditionally, the contact information with your name is centered at the top of each page with the page number on every page following the first one. Canadian CVs are kept on file for 3 to 6 months or longer, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code and e-mail are most important.

The main feature of Canadian CV is the objective and/or goal of your career. Clear, precise and operational "Career Objective" should use short and punchy sentences filled with action verbs and power words. It contains information about the function, the level of responsibility and the type of enterprise you would like to work for.

"Education" lists colleges and/or universities attended, dates of attendance, courses of study and diplomas or degrees. Also, mention extra courses or training, internships, computer skills and foreign travel. Detail your linguistic abilities with reference to the spoken and written levels.

"Work Experience" specifies the firm names, your titles, dates of employment and responsibilities. State whether the work was temporary or part-time. If you have no job at the present, you should mention that fact also. Bear in mind, that looking for a job in Canada, is much like selling a product. You are selling yourself, so make your CV more effective by providing examples to prove your achievements. Use power words and action verbs to describe them, such as contributed, organized, managed, developed etc. Bullet point these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

Close your CV with "References available on request" or on a separate page write three references, with their titles and contact information, and attach it to your application.

Legally Canadian employers are not allowed to discriminate. Employment decisions based on attributes other than a person's qualification to perform a job - e.g. race, color, gender, religion, personal associations, national origin, age, disability, political beliefs, HIV status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, family responsibilities or whether you hold a current driving license etc. are prohibited. So, ply safe and carefully consider what to leave out of your CV. Exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you and never include a photo.

Canadian employers often scan CVs, so make your CV scannable by avoiding for example lines, underlines or italic fonts etc.

Finally, most employers expect your CV to be accompanied by a cover letter.


Check the spelling and grammar of your Canadian CV. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your CV, send it to a professional for assistance.

art_remember Canadian CVRemember that your Canadian CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have a difficulty with your CV writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

art_tip Canadian CV

We recommend that you send your CVs together with cover letters. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:

Other Canadian CV Info

If your Canadian cover letter and Canadian CV are ready, distribute them through the job search services to your prospective employers. When your Canadian job search have been successful apply for a Canadian visa and Canadian work permit.

Start preparing for a Canadian job interview and use of Canadian dress code. Check the job interview tips do's and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your Canadian CV!

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