How to write a Résumé for Canadian Employment

How to write a Résumé for Canadian Employment

Writing a Canadian-Style Résumé
 
One of the reasons why new immigrants find it hard to land a job in Canada is that they fail instantly on the first step: writing a résumé that wins over Canadian employers. A new immigrant or foreign worker in Canada planning to work in country must know how to prepare and present an appropriate Canadian-style résumé. Some ground rules:
 
Be concise
Canadian CEOs don’t have much time for a 10-page document detailing someone else’s career history. Make it between 1- 2 pages. Use short and straightforward sentences. Employ the bullet point system to make it easy for your future boss to scan through your résumé more efficiently.

Use keywords
Some career experts also advise using keywords that most hiring managers utilize to search their résumé database. It could include specific job requirements, industry expertise, credentials, even previous positions and employers. This is also why it makes sense to know the company you’re applying for really well. The right keywords you should use in your résumé can be typically found in their job ads themselves and on the company's website.
 
Only include relevant work experience
The most important thing about employers is the applicant’s work experience. Career experts suggest excluding previous job experiences that have nothing to do with the role you’re applying for. 
 
However, if you believe that whatever you’ve learned from your previous work would be beneficial to the industry you’re wishing to be a part of, then it’s up to you to include it and clearly illustrate how those particular skills can be transferred over into the position you are vying for.
 
Include volunteer work
Where it was paid or unpaid work, your experience in volunteering is highly appreciated in Canada. It says a lot about your enthusiasm for service and learning. Many employers count volunteer work as experience, especially if it is relevant to the position you’re applying for or if it was rendered in Canada.  
 
Learn how to customize
Generally, generic résumés end up ignored. The reason is that employers look for specific people for specific job posts. Customized résumés also convey an interest in the position or company, since HR managers/ head hunters/ CEOs would know if you’ve just written a generic application letter for a bunch of companies. Companies, like applicants, want to feel they’re special, too. 
 
Another reason is that every industry has its own set of requirements and qualifications. Companies looking for employees for a skilled position (construction worker, for example) would typically look at work experience, and industry certification rather than academic excellence, while universities would most likely put a higher premium on academic achievements/credentials than experience.
 
Be honest
It’s obvious why sheer inventions and lies don’t have a place in your résumé. First, it would reflect in your work and second, wouldn’t it be easier to answer interview questions if you know what you’re talking about? Aside from avoiding a messed-up interview, remember that most hiring managers take the authentication part seriously. Yes, they will call at least one of the previous companies listed in your application.  This is also why they ask for both professional and personal references.
 
Ensure your social media accounts are intact
Hiring managers use social media and other online presence to cross-reference an applicant’s résumé. Experts advise making your public profile at least a bit professional when applying for a job since companies would most likely look for you online. 
 
While you can set your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to private, it's best to leave your LinkedIn public so that hiring managers can verify you with ease. That’s why you need to make sure your account on LinkedIn is professional, always up-to-date and, most importantly, match the details listed on your résumé.
 
What to leave off your résumé
  • A headshot. Many Canadians see it as passé since it’s considered a thing of the past. But some career experts offer a more practical reason you should not bother putting one: hiring personnel would look at your LinkedIn anyway, and most employers would judge you by your work experience and skill set. But the industry/company should also be considered when torn being putting one or not: if you’re applying for a company wherein looks are highly valued and required—modeling, airlines, tourism—then including a photo might be a better choice.  
  • Anything overly personal. Employers don’t care if you love cats or you have this special liking for semi-aquatic insects. Marital status, race, sexuality, and other personal stuff have no place on your résumé unless employers ask you about it (i.e. companies that focus on socio-entrepreneurship).
  • Anything that could lead to bias and prejudice. Canada is a multicultural country and differences are very much celebrated here. Employers look at your skills and not at your skin colour, political affiliation, and/or sexuality. Be neutral and profession-oriented. What you need to show employers is your eagerness to work with them, your passion for the job post you’re applying for, and your professionalism.
  • Your physical attributes. Your height, weight, and eye colour will always be irrelevant in the job world. If you have a particular health condition that you feel that should know about, it's best to let them after they've determined that you're qualified for the position.
  • Your weaknesses. Companies are looking for people who can add value, not liabilities to their organization. This is something that many companies ask in the interview, where you have a chance to explain in better detail how you have worked on improving your weaknesses. But there's no need to include it on your resume. Your resume is the only tool you have representing you amongst the sea of applicants - so put your best foot forward in this first stage.
  • A list of references. The company will ask for it after they've interviewed you; most especially if they've decided to put you on the shortlist. Plus, it gives you a chance to give your references a heads up that company 'ABC' might contact them for the 'XYZ' role you've applied for. 
  • Your signature. Since it’s neither a bank statement nor a contract; they’ll ask for it once you’re hired. It's okay to have on your cover letter, but it's not necessary.
 Résumé format
Career experts suggest it should be chronological, with the latest on the first page and the more previous ones on the last. Preferably, the format must contain the following in this order:
  • Basic biographical information such as your name, address, mobile number, email address
  • Professional / career summary, starting with the most recent and working backwards
  • Work/volunteer experience
  • Education / professional development
 Additional tips:
  • Never include unnecessary documents such as; passport, visa, work permit, citizenship status, unless they've asked you to.
  • Always include a cover letter, especially when submitting the application via email.
  • Double-check typo, grammar mistakes, as well as company name and address before sending it to the employer.
  • When it comes to the email subject line, always remember to be clear and specific, include the position and your name, as well as a relevant keyword for search and filtering. For example Job Application: Mike Reynolds for Operations Manager or Marketing Director: Evangeline O'Hara, MBA
 
Good luck! Now go and begin working on your Canadian job prospects! 

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