In the world of Canadian immigration, a leading factor in strengthening your professional identity and optimizing your chances of finding employment lies in your ability to write a Canadian-style resume.
This document holds even greater significance than you may initially give it credit for, and it introduces you to prospective Canadian hiring managers and recruiters. It is essentially your bragging sheet for not just your hard skills, experience, and past education, but also your personal character and potential for cultural adaptability to the Canadian job market.
To guide you through the intricacies of writing a resume that aligns with Canadian standards, skilledworker.com has compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind:
1. Clarity and simplicity are key
Recruiters often get hundreds of resumes for a job posting, and they only have limited amounts of time to go through them. They therefore value straightforwardness. You will get plenty of time to impress them with words, but the resume is not the place for that.
Present information in a digestible manner so that hiring managers do not skim over relevant facts. Utilize easy and clear to understand language that is free of exaggeration and irrelevant jargon.
2. Provide your contact information
This should be clearly visible and updated. After all, how can recruiters reach out to you if they have no idea where to find you?
Include your full name, phone number, email address, and a link to relevant social media (especially your professional LinkedIn profile). This facilitates smooth communication.
3. Reverse the chronology
The rule of thumb is: latest work experience first, followed by the one before that, and so on. This reversal of your work history provides structure to your resume, and brings your latest experience – that is, your most relevant experience – to the forefront.
Employers would thus be able to track your career progression, and assess big leaps you may have made over the years.
4. Include a professional summary
The resume should be initiated with a brief, easy to comprehend, and relevant summary of your professional life. It is an introduction to your resume, encapsulating relevant skills, work experience, and career prospects.
Try to customize this section of your resume for every role you apply to, as employers may want to know what brings you to them.
5. Soft skills are important
Yes, hard skills are often the ones employers look at first, be it in a particular software, coding language, or editing platform. However, the Canadian job market also greatly values soft skills, such as teamwork, adaptability, and communication.
You need to prove that you are as adept in interpersonal interaction as you are in your technical prowess.
6. Look into search engine optimization (SEO)
Recruiters often us an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter through the hundreds of applicants they receive, which ensures they are only presented with the most relevant CVs.
To bypass this level of the hiring process, you must tailor your resume by including industry-specific keywords that are relevant to the role you are pursuing.
7. Language proficiency? Mention it
Because Canada is a bilingual country, proficiency in both English and French is highly favored by employers.
If you are skilled in one or both, you must highlight it, as it reaffirms that you are ready for multilingual collaboration with teammates of different backgrounds.
8. Have you volunteered?
Employers value you taking the time to be involved in societal work, and therefore we recommend that you include relevant volunteer work in your profile.
1. Identify irrelevancy, and avoid it
Personal details such as age, marital status, or a personal photograph are irrelevant in employment decisions. Stick to information that is pertinent to your professional profile, and avoid information that only dilutes your main selling points.
2. No fancy fonts needed
Standard, professional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri should be your go-to, in font-size no smaller than 11.
While other fonts may look interesting or visually pleasing, these methods to stand out are not usually favored by Canadian employers. The content itself should take precedence over irrelevant stylistic details.
3. Try to limit use of personal pronouns
“I,” “we,” “us,” “my” — these should be avoided as much as possible and replaced with action verbs instead. This makes sentences concise and sounds more professional.
4. Salary information? Irrelevant on the resume
Salary is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a job, but it is not relevant on a resume. This discussion comes later down the line, when contract negotiations and job interviews are taking place.
5. Do not write about hobbies unrelated to your prospective job
Although these can offer insights into your personality beyond your professional life, list only those hobbies that may be relevant to the job.
6. Letters of reference (LORs) are not for the resume
LORs should only be provided on request, and not in the primary stage of hiring. Your resume could be concluded with a statement regarding how LORs are available if the employer desires to have a look at them.
7. Have a professional e-mail address
Employers judge you on every bit of information available to them about you, and that includes your e-mail address. It shows your level of professionalism. Casual or unrelated handles could leave a damaging first-impression.
8. Lastly, do not give up
The resume is such a vital thread in the tapestry of Canadian immigration, that giving up on it is just not an option. Know that you are not alone in looking for work in Canada, and every newcomer to Canada must go through this process.
If you have taken into consideration the aforementioned list of Do’s and Don’ts, you are already well on your way to succeeding in finding a job.
Your Canadian-style resume is a gateway to building a successful career in Canada, and its contents are only going to get stronger the longer you stay and gather Canadian work experience.
Are you ready to live and work in Canada? Fill out our The Skilled Worker CV Submission Form to find out if you are eligible.