Canada Resume 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 Canada resume writing and translation to English or French.

You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in employment in Canada. Do not underestimate the influence a job search in Canada can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, selection trends and the management culture.

Your Canada resume must be in one of the official languages: French or English, depending on the company and its location. In general, the language of the resume should be the same as the language of the job posting.

In recent years it becomes increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or Facebook social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with a current resume. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the resume you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your resume.
However, you should manage your online presence. Eliminate any photos and statements that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online resumes should not include sensitive information as they could show a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.

In Canada, the term resume is used instead of a 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 (CV) instead of a resume.

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

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

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

Be 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 Canada resume 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 Canada resume should be to persuade the employer to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your resume 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 centred at the top of each page with the page number on every page following the first one. Canada resumes 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 a Canadian resume is 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 resume 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 points these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

Close your resume with "References available on request" or on a separate page write three references, with their titles and contact information, and attach them 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, colour, 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 resume. Exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you and never include a photo.

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

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

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

Remember that your Canada resume must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your resume writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use resume samples and resume templates.

We recommend that you send your resumes together with cover letters. If you have difficulty with your cover letter writing use a cover letter sample and cover letter template.

Other Canada Resume Info

We hope that your Canada job search has been successful and you have a Canada visa with a Canada work permit too. So, if your Canada cover letter and Canada resume are ready, you may distribute them to your future employers and start preparing for a Canada job interview.

Do not forget to take a look at the Canada dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in being hired.
Check the job interview tips dos and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.
Also, take a quick look at job interview tips and other job search skills pages.

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 Canada resume!