One of the most important things you will need to do in the first stages of your job search is to create a resumé, which may be different in Canada than in your country of origin.
Did you know Canadian resumés shouldn’t have personal information like your marital status or age? There are many free services at immigrant settlement agencies in Canada that can help you adapt yours to Canadian standards after you land.
We have prepared a Pre-Arrival Checklist of valuable information that will make arriving in Canada as smooth a process as possible.
If you have a very difficult name to pronounce, someone may suggest to you that you create a Canadianized version of your name as well. Or at least a nickname! Several Canadian university studies have proven that some employers show bias against resumés where the applicant’s name sounds too foreign. This is a very personal decision, and you need to weigh the pros and cons for you.
What a Canadian resumé should contain
Although there are many formats for resumés, they all should contain the following.
1. Your full name, address, telephone number, fax number and email if available.
2. The position being sought or your overall career objective.
3. A summary of your education, including the names of any schools or institutions you’ve attended, the name of diplomas or certificates you’ve received, and the dates they were granted.
4. A summary of your job history, with an emphasis on the skills you utilized and accomplishments.
5. A list of any skills and talents you have that will help you do the job you’re applying for. (Because Canadian employers may not be able to relate to your foreign work experience and education, a breakdown of what you are capable of doing is helpful.)
Whatever your job focus, you will need to be clear on the qualities you can bring to that job in order to sell yourself to a prospective employer. It’s recommended you start your resumé off with a strong career objective/profile at the top of the first page, followed by a breakdown of your skills/talents with concrete examples. Then list your job experience and educational credentials on page two.
In addition to organizing your resumé properly, ensure that it contains no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, and that it looks professional from a design viewpoint. When faced with a stack of resumés, a prospective employer may judge a potential candidate based on the first impression a resumé gives off. One spelling mistake could mean your resumé is going right into the recycling box. If your English skills are not perfect, ask someone to proofread it, not only for typos, but also for awkward phrasing.
Also, keep it brief; your resumé should be a maximum of two pages.
Finally, do not include your age, gender, race or marital status on your resumé.
Don’t forget the cover letter
Every resumé you submit should also be accompanied by a one-page cover letter. The letter should be addressed to a specific person and should be tailored to a specific job.
Focus the cover letter more on demonstrating your knowledge of the company and how well you’ll fit in or how you can benefit the company, rather than just summarizing your past experience.
Many hiring managers may not even read your resumé if your cover letter doesn’t capture their attention!