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A female hiring manager looking at a  Canadian -style resume in an interview with a male candidate.

A Canadian-style resume is necessary to propel your job search and find the right job faster. As well, Canadian employers look for specific items that you may need to add to your existing resume. And, in some cases, you may need to delete information. So to get noticed by employers it makes sense to revise and update your resume format with these tips in mind.

Eight Tips to Write a Canadian-Style Resume

1. Choose the right resume format

2. Read the job description carefully

3. Tailor your resume to the job description

4. Use keywords in your resume

5. Include the right information on your Canadian style resume

6. Omit irrelevant information

7. Use strong and concise language

8. Proofread your resume for spelling and grammar errors.

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Why is a Canadian-Style Resume Important?

A Canadian resume format may look much different than the resume that you have used in your home country. So it’s important to know what information to include or omit on a Canadian-style resume. This is important because your resume is often the first impression you will make with a potential employer. 

As well, recruiters may easily receive over 100 resumes for one position. And when they view that many resumes, they quickly scan them for essential information. 

Preparing Your Canadian-Style Resume

1. Choose the right resume format

There are three resume formats that job seekers commonly use: 

Chronological resume: this format highlights your work history and timeline.

Functional resume: this format highlights your work experience and previous job activities.

Combination resume: this combination format shows your experience and timeline like you would see in a chronological format and has a strong emphasis on your skills as you would see in a functional format.

You can decide which format is best for you based on your work history and what you want to highlight.

 

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2. Read the job description carefully

The job description will provide you with a clear picture of the:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Skills that are required (technical and soft skills such as communication and language)
  • Education, training and certification or designations that you require.

You can even use a pen or highlighter to mark what requirements match your work experience and achievements. This will give you a good sense of how closely your experience matches the job requirements.

3. Tailor your resume to the job description

When you see a job that interests you and that matches your skill set, take the time to tailor your resume to the job description. The time you invest in tailoring your resume will pay off. And when you tailor your resume you clearly show potential employers how you are a perfect fit for the job. This will increase your visibility to employers.

However, when you submit the same resume to every employer you reduce your chances of meeting specific job requirements as the employer is seeking.

Whatever your job focus, you will need to clearly state the qualities you bring to that job to sell yourself to a prospective employer. For example, you can do this by adding 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.

4.  Use keywords in your resume

Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to collect, sort, and store resumes. This automated software can also compare your resume to keywords in the job description. If there is a good match, your resume will appear in search results. 

You will have a better chance of showing up in search results if your resume contains keywords used in the job description. A good way to determine keywords is to read job descriptions for keywords that are used. Use those keywords to tailor your resume based on your skillset. 

5. Include the right information on your Canadian-style resume

Your resume should be a maximum of two pages in length. So this will require you to be concise and only include the relevant information that you want to highlight. 

So make sure to avoid listing every job responsibility and only include the skills and responsibilities that best match the job description. Also, rather than listing your responsibilities, showcase what you accomplished. For example: 

Instead of:

  • Responsible for sales and marketing.

Use:

  • Planned and implemented a $1M marketing campaign that achieved a 10% sales increase within six months.

Again, it’s important to remember that recruiters will quickly glance at your resume. So make it easy for them to identify that you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to be successful in the job you’re applying for.

6. Omit irrelevant information

Be aware of the information that you do not need to include on a Canadian-style resume. Avoid including the word Resume at the top of your document. Recruiters know they are reading your resume and this also takes up valuable space. It’s also unnecessary to add your photo. 

Other information to omit:  

  • Date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • Political or religious beliefs
  • Outdated technical or business skills
  • Hobbies.

Your ultimate goal is to showcase your experience, skills, and qualifications in a professional manner. Most importantly, you want to avoid including information that can be used to discriminate on the basis of age, nationality, marital status, or other factors. This information can also contribute to employer bias in the selection process.

For newcomers entering the Canadian job, it’s also helpful to know that employers cannot ask interview questions that could be viewed as discriminating. For example, interview questions that ask about your marital status, nationality, religion, and other factors defined by the Canadian Human Rights Act are illegal.

There are many settlement agencies in Canada that can help you adapt your resume to meet Canadian requirements when you arrive.

7. Use strong and concise language

It’s important to use strong action verbs that will grab attention. Choose strong verbs that showcase your capabilities. And remember to use the past tense to describe your previous experience. 

Consider these strong action verbs:

Acquired   |   Advised   |   Analyzed   |   Assembled   |   Briefed   |   Centralized   |   Consulted   |   Collaborated

Composed   |   Defined   |   Enhanced   |   Evaluated   |   Exceeded   |   Expanded   |   Facilitated   |   Forecasted

Informed   |   Influenced   |   Mobilized   |   Negotiated   |   Overhauled   |   Redesigned   |   Resolved   |   Secured   

Streamlined    |   Stimulated   |    Surpassed   |   Transformed   |   Verified

8. Proofread your resume

To write the perfect Canadian-style resume, be sure to check and double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes. It’s also helpful to ask someone to proofread your resume. A good proofreader can identify unclear sentences, spelling, and grammar errors, or repetition.

While using the spell-checker on your computer is helpful, it’s not always perfect. For example, it may not pick up the difference between words such as there, their, and they’re. So always remember to check your writing.

When you follow these eight tips to format your Canadian resume, you’ll be on your way to resuming your career in Canada.

Final Checklist

a Canadian-style resume with a summary at the top and work experience listed below.

When you have completed your resume, apply this short review checklist before you submit it.

  • Does it look professional? Look at your resume through the eyes of a hiring manager. Ensure your resume design and content looks inviting to read. Avoid large blocks of text and keep the information short and to the point.
  • Is the information clear? Ideally, you want your Canadian-style resume to be easy to read. The hiring manager should easily find the information they’re searching for.
  • Is it the right length? The last thing that you want to do is give the hiring manager a lengthy four-page document. Try to keep your resume to two pages.
  • Does it align with the job description? Make sure that you show the skills, experience, and qualifications that relate to the job. This will also serve to keep your resume to a reasonable length.
  • Can the hiring manager get in touch with you? Make it easy for the hiring manager to contact you! Include your phone number and email address at the top of your resume so they can see it with ease. Make sure you include a professional email address. And if you are still in your home country, make sure that you will have access to the email address after you arrive in Canada.

Also, it’s important to write a one-page cover letter to accompany your resume. The purpose of the cover letter is to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and how well you’ll fit it and add value to the company. Many hiring managers may not even read your resume if your cover letter doesn’t capture their attention.

For additional information, resources, and webinars related to finding a job in Canada, click here! We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada!