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February 29, 2024

Tips for Writing a Canadian-Style Resume

For many newcomers, finding employment quickly after moving to Canada is a high-priority task. Whether you’re contemplating a career switch or looking to get back in your field of work, the first step is usually the same – to have a resume that you can share with potential employers or networking contacts in Canada.

Why is a Canadian-style resume Important?

A Canadian-style resume is essential to propel your job search and help you to find the right job faster.

The resume format in Canada is quite different from resumes you may be used to writing in other countries. 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. If you want your resume to stand out in Canada, you’ll need to know the basics of a Canadian resume format. 

In this article, we will explore the Canadian-style resume in detail, to ensure you stand out from the competition and get noticed by employers, hiring managers, and recruiters in Canada.

Preparing Your Canadian-Style Resume

1. Choose the right resume format

There are the top three Canadian resume formats that are popular among job seekers across Canada.

  1. Reverse chronological resume format — outlines your professional experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position.
  2. Functional resume format — focuses on your overall skills and qualifications instead of specific professional experiences. The employment history is still included, but it is usually listed after skills and education. 
  3. Combination resume format — is a mix of the reverse-chronological layout and the functional layout and is ideal for showcasing transferable skills along with professional experience. In this format, work experience is usually outlined in a reverse chronological format, and the skills section includes a summary of qualifications and technical skills (or core competencies). 

Surprisingly, job seekers in Toronto preferred a reverse chronological resume over any other resume format. Typically, hiring managers will only spend 10-30 seconds browsing your document. Use the resume format in Canada to sell yourself in a concise way that focuses on your achievements.

2. Adapt Your Resume to Each Job Listing and Keep it Relevant

Having a generic resume and sharing it with multiple employers for a variety of positions/roles may not yield the best result for you. It is essential to customize your resume to each position that you’re applying for. Tailor your work experience, skills, and any additional information to the role.

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.

3Use Keywords in Your Resume

It's important to use keywords in your resume chosen specifically to match what you see in the job posting and on the company's website. Recruiters sometimes do not read every word on each resume and rely on the keyword matches.

Keywords describe skills and qualifications. Enhance your resume by using as many keywords as you can. But do not make up experiences just to use keywords. In today's job market, a lot of recruiters use online tools 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. 

Optimize a resume for ATS:

  • Use standard formatting and don’t include images, designs, charts, and tables. 
  • Use correct headers and include keywords that match the job description and desired core competencies and skills.
  • Send your resume as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) document. Most ATS systems tend to process Word files better than PDF. 
  • Spell out abbreviations at least once on your resume. 
  • Include experience, skills, and qualifications relevant to the position.
  • Avoid long paragraphs and font size less than size 10. 
  • Convert technical terms, grades, and scores to their Canadian equivalents. 

4. Include the Right Information on Your Canadian Style Resume

Ideally, your resume format should not exceed two pages. This requires you to be concise and only include the relevant information that you want to highlight. So, 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. 

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 achieve success in the job you’re applying for.

Add your LinkedIn profile URL. Create a custom LinkedIn profile URL so that it isn’t as ‘clunky’ as the one that LinkedIn designated for you. You want to make it as easy as possible for the employer to find your profile, particularly when viewing a printed version of your resume. Also, ensure it’s up to date and that your profile contains a strong summary. 

5. Quantify Your Accomplishments

Many job seekers make the mistake of outlining roles and responsibilities instead of achievements. Recruiters and hiring managers prefer seeing quantified accomplishments on resumes. The ‘CAR’ approach is a good way to help you structure individual sentences: 

C = What was the Challenge,
A = What action did you take, and
R = What was the Result?

6. Exclude irrelevant information.

Be aware of the information that you do not need to include on a Canadian-style resume. 

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.

Your ultimate goal is to showcase your experience, skills, and qualifications professionally. Most importantly, you want to avoid including information that can be used to discriminate based on age, nationality, marital status, political or religious beliefs, or other factors. This information can also contribute to employer bias in the selection process. It’s also unnecessary to add your photo. 

Do not list personal interests or hobbies unless they are achievements that add to your character. Remember: a good resume sets you apart from other candidates. Mentioning that you like football, play piano, and enjoy the cinema is not likely to boost your chances of success.

Still finding it hard to design a Canadian-style resume click here to get help to 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. 

8. Show Off Your Skills with Volunteer Work

This is a good way for newcomers to show Canadian experience on their resume. If your volunteer work requires you to use skills that may also be valued in the position that you are applying for, adding the volunteer experience to your resume may work to your advantage.

9. Check Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation, and Proofread Your Resume

Look over your résumé before you send it. To write the perfect Canadian-style resume, be sure to check and double-check for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes especially since it serves as a reflection of your communication skills.  It’s also helpful to ask someone to proofread your resume. A good proofreader can identify unclear sentences, spelling, grammar errors, or repetition.

10. Double Check Your Contact Information

Newcomers sometimes have temporary phone numbers and addresses during their initial months in Canada and occasionally forget to update their contact when they get a permanent one. Before submitting your resume to an employer or a recruiter, check all your contact information, including social media links, to ensure they are up-to-date.

A well-crafted resume with strong marketing tools to help you get the job you desire. Being familiar with the best practices and employer expectations in Canada will better your chances of securing an interview and landing an offer.  

Also, it’s important to write a one-page cover letter to accompany your resume in Canada. 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.

Adapt to the Canadian Way of Presenting Your Experience and Skills

If you are still struggling to get your resume right, get in touch with us here at Get Trained Get Hired. We offer Career Skills Courses that train you on all aspects of the job search process including Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn for Job Search, 1st round interviews & Assessment Centers.

Reach out to Get Trained Get Hired to book a free 30-minute career counseling meeting. At Get Trained Get Hired we provide you with the necessary training to learn practical skills to become an accountant. Our training is based on practical real-life cases. After the training, we work on your resume and try to place you in accounting firms through our network. You will also get access to like-minded individuals who are looking for jobs through our WhatsApp group. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. Or call us at 647-870-6986.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not consider your situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from professionals. Salman Rundhawa and Gettrainedgethired.com will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.


Salman Rundhawa

Salman has a strong desire to help others succeed and believe in passing on the knowledge. He likes to mentor others and wish to play part in other people success.
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