You have 20 seconds to make a good impression with your Canadian resume…
Your résumé is this 20 seconds and if employers don’t like it, you will go straight in the bin. You won’t get an interview, they won’t reply to your email, and there are 50 other people who want this job and they have nicer Canadian résumés!
The above may sound a bit extreme but it’s how things work and that’s why we have prepared this guide for you.
First off, a résumé (curriculum vitae) in your home country may not follow the same format or structure as Canadian résumés.
Canadian’s do not put their date of birth or profile pictures on resumes and often include a “Career Objective” statement at the beginning. If your résumé does not follow these Canadian standards you are already seriously damaging your chances of getting a job.
You need to present your Canadian résumé in a way that is familiar to Canadian employers.
How to write your Canadian resume?
What should be the structure of your Canadian resume?
1. Name and Contact Information
This information should be positioned at the very top of your Canadian resume. You can centre this information or put it in a header so that it follows through to the second page.
Your name; current home address; home and/or cell phone number; your personal email address.
2. Personal/Career Objective
This is optional but quite common in Canada and the US. If you are including this it should be kept short – 3 or 4 lines.
3. Profile/Summary of Qualifications
Again, including a section like this is optional but quite common in Canada. Because employers and recruiters may only look at your resume for 20 seconds, including this section can be a great way to highlight your main achievements that you feel are relevant and will impress the employers. Again, it should be short and no longer than a paragraph and/or possibly a number of bullet points.
4. Work Experience
List your work experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. starting with the most recent). This is what employers want to see most. Include your title in each position, the period you were employed for and the name and location of each employer. Ensure that you present each job in a consistent format and manner.
If you are a recent graduate and do not have much work experience, include all summer jobs, part-time work and any volunteer work you have done.
List your education in reverse chronological order. If you attended third-level education, list the university/college name, course name/qualification, period of study, and grade achieved. You do not need to list all the subjects covered in your course.
You can include secondary school but do not have to. Again, don’t list subjects taken. Name and location of the school, a period of study and summary of grades will suffice.
6. Other Skills/ Interests
This can be adapted based on the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job as a labourer on a construction site, they may not really care if you have two years’ experience managing a PPC campaign on Google for the website of your previous employer. However, if you are applying for an Online Marketing position, this could be very relevant. Below are some examples of what can and cannot be included.
- Do: Computer skills – e.g. Microsoft Office, C++, etc.
- Do: Languages and level of competency
- Do: Sports: teams, awards, accomplishments
- Don’t: Cinema, Reading, Photography, Blogging, Socialising
Many people will say “References available upon request” and you can do this if you like. However, it is not always necessary as employers will presume that they can ask you for reference if then need to.
Canadianize your resume!
You’re moving across the world, so don’t just assume that everything will be the same. Put some time and effort into your Canadian Résumé and make sure that it’s worth reading.
If it doesn’t excite you, imagine how the HR manager will feel. Canadianize your Résumé!
Key: Achievements are key! Don’t use boring daily tasks.
BONUS TIP: What are you saving your Résumé as? Don’t use file names like “Résumé Retail” or “Résumé Admin”. You can do better than that!