Are you an international student who wants to work in Canada? If so, you may wonder how to write a resume that meets the standards and expectations of Canadian employers.
A summary is a crucial document summarising your qualifications and achievements for a potential job. It can make or break your chances of getting an interview and landing a job offer.
Therefore, knowing how to write a resume in a Canadian format that showcases your skills and experience in the best possible way is essential.
In this article, I will describe how to choose a resume format, write a resume in a Canadian format, and tailor your resume to Canadian employers.
I will also provide a template and an example resume to help you prepare your own.
By following the tips and illustrations in this article, you can create a resume that stands out from the crowd and impresses Canadian employers.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- How to Choose a Resume Format
- How to Write a Resume in a Canadian Format
- 1. Use Canadian English or French
- 2. Use the Year-Month-Day Format for Dates
- 3. Use the Metric System for Measurements
- 4. Avoid Using Graphics or Images
- 5. Include a Resume Header with Contact Information
- 6. Write a Professional Summary
- 7. Highlight Relevant Experience
- 8. List your Education Qualifications
- 9. Include Additional Sections if Relevant
- 10. Proofread your Resume
- Canadian Resume Template
- How to Tailor Your Resume to Canadian Employers
How to Choose a Resume Format
Choosing a resume format is essential in creating a Canadian resume showcasing your qualifications and achievements.
Your resume format should highlight your strengths and match the employer’s expectations and the industry you’re applying for.
There are three resume formats you can use in Canada:
- Traditional reverse chronological: This is Canada’s most common and preferred format, suitable for most job seekers with relevant work histories. It lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position and returning in time. It shows your career progression and achievements clearly and concisely.
- Strategic functional: This standard format focuses on your skills and abilities rather than your work experience. It is suitable for career changers or those with gaps in work history. It groups your skills into categories and provides examples of how you used them in different contexts. It shows your transferable skills and potential value to the employer.
- Balanced hybrid: This is a combination of chronological and functional formats, suitable for those who want to highlight their skills and work experience. It starts with a summary of your abilities and achievements and a reverse chronological list of your work experience. It shows both your skills and your work history in a balanced way.
To choose the best resume format for your situation, consider these factors:
- Your work experience: Use the chronological format if you have a solid work history in the same field as the job you’re applying for. Use the functional or hybrid format if you have gaps in your work history or are changing careers.
- Your skills: If you have strong skills that match the job requirements, use the functional or hybrid format to showcase them. If your skills are not as relevant or impressive, use the chronological form to emphasize your work experience.
- The employer’s expectations: Research the company and the industry you’re applying for to find out what resume format they prefer or expect. Some employers may have specific guidelines or preferences for resume formats. For example, some government jobs may require a chronological structure, while some creative jobs may allow more flexibility.
Writing a resume in a Canadian format is similar to writing an outline in any other country. Still, you need to pay attention to some specific details and nuances.
Here are some helpful tips for writing a resume in a Canadian format:
- Use Canadian English or French
- Use the Year-Month-Day Format for Dates
- Use the Metric System for Measurements
- Avoid Using Graphics or Images
- Include a Resume Header with Contact Information
- Write a Professional Summary
- Highlight Relevant Experience
- List your Education Qualifications
- Include Additional Sections if Relevant
- Proofread your Resume
1. Use Canadian English or French
Depending on the province you’re applying for, use Canadian English or French spellings and terminology on your resume.
For example, many words spelt with an “o” in the U.S. are spelt with an “ou” in Canada, such as “behaviour”.
Also, avoid using slang or jargon that Canadian employers may not understand.
2. Use the Year-Month-Day Format for Dates
Canadian resumes specify dates using the “Year-Month-Day” format, such as “2023-01-30”.
This format differs from the standard “Month-Day-Year” format in the U.S., such as “01/30/2023”.
Ensure you use the correct format for all the dates on your resume, including your work experience, education, and certifications.
3. Use the Metric System for Measurements
Canada uses the metric system, so use those measurements on your resume.
For example, if you want to mention your height, weight or distance, use centimetres, kilograms or kilometres instead of inches, pounds or miles.
Also, use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit for temperature.
4. Avoid Using Graphics or Images
Avoid using graphics unless you’re applying for a creative job requiring visual elements.
5. Include a Resume Header with Contact Information
At the top of your resume, include your name, phone number, email address, location and LinkedIn profile (optional).
Make sure your contact information is accurate and professional.
Avoid using personal or unprofessional email addresses, such as “[email protected]”.
6. Write a Professional Summary
Below your resume header, write a brief statement summarising your qualifications and career goals.
This is your opportunity to capture the employer’s attention and showcase your value proposition. Use 2-3 sentences highlighting your most relevant skills, achievements, and personality traits.
For example, “Experienced and enthusiastic customer service representative with over five years of experience in the retail industry.
Skilled in resolving customer complaints, upselling products, and providing excellent service. Fluent in English and French.”
7. Highlight Relevant Experience
If you have experience working for a Canadian employer or have had an appropriate volunteer role, showcase this work on your resume.
Using action verbs and quantifiable results, use bullet points to describe your accomplishments and responsibilities.
For example, instead of “Managed a team of 10 sales associates”, write “Led a team of 10 sales associates to achieve a 15% increase in monthly revenue”.
8. List your Education Qualifications
Below your work experience or skills section, list your highest level of education, including the institution’s name, location, degree, and significance (optional).
If you have a degree from a foreign country, you may want to include a brief explanation of how it compares to the Canadian education system.
For example, “Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, Nigeria (equivalent to a four-year Canadian bachelor’s degree)”.
9. Include Additional Sections if Relevant
Depending on your situation, you may want to include other sections that showcase your value, such as foreign languages, certificates, volunteer work, awards, achievements or publications.
Only have information relevant to the job you’re applying for and demonstrate your skills or accomplishments.
Use bullet points or short sentences to describe each item.
For example, “Volunteer work: Tutored new immigrants in English and math at the local community centre for six months.”
10. Proofread your Resume
Before sending your resume to Canadian employers, proofread it for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors.
You can use online tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to check your resume for mistakes.
You can also ask a friend or a professional to review your resume and give feedback. A well-written and error-free resume will show your professionalism and attention to detail.
Canadian Resume Template
[Phone Number] | [Email Address] | [LinkedIn Profile] (optional)
Write a brief statement that summarizes your qualifications and career goals. Highlight your most relevant skills, achievements, and personality traits.
[List your most recent job first, followed by your previous jobs in reverse chronological order. Include the following information for each position:]
[Job title], [Company name], [Location], [Dates of employment]
[Bullet points that describe your accomplishments and responsibilities using action verbs and quantifiable results.]
[List your relevant hard and soft skills that match the job requirements.]
[List your highest level of education, including the institution’s name, location, degree, and significance (optional). If you have a degree from a foreign country, you may want to include a brief explanation of how it compares to the Canadian education system.]
[Additional Sections] (optional)
[Include relevant information showcasing your value, such as foreign languages, certificates, volunteer work, awards, achievements, or publications. Use bullet points or short sentences to describe each item.]
Tailoring your resume to Canadian employers means customizing your resume to match the specific requirements and expectations of the job you’re applying for.
By doing so, you can increase your chances of getting noticed and invited for an interview.
Here are some steps you can take to tailor your resume to Canadian employers:
- Research the company and the industry: Before writing your resume, research the company and the industry you’re applying for. Find out their mission, vision, values, and goals, what challenges they face, and what skills and qualities they look for in candidates. This will help you understand what the employer wants and needs from you.
- Use keywords and phrases from the job description: Read the job description carefully and identify the keywords and phrases that describe the role’s skills, qualifications, and responsibilities. Use these words and phrases throughout your resume, especially in your professional summary and work experience sections. This will help you demonstrate your relevant skills and experience for the job. It will also help your resume pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan resumes for keywords.
- Highlight your transferable skills and cultural fit: If you have skills or experience that are not directly related to the job, but are still valuable and applicable, highlight them on your resume. These are called transferable skills, and they can include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and adaptability. Show how you used these skills in different contexts and how they can benefit the employer. Also, show that you are an excellent cultural fit for the company by aligning your values, personality, and goals with theirs.
- Proofread your resume: After tailoring it, proofread it for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. You can use online tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to check your resume for mistakes. You can also ask a friend or a professional to review your resume and give feedback. A well-written and error-free resume will show your professionalism and attention to detail.
In conclusion, writing a resume in a Canadian format is not difficult, but it requires some research and customization.
By following the tips and examples in this article, you can create a resume that showcases your skills, experience, and education in a way that appeals to Canadian employers.
Remember to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for, use Canadian English or French, and proofread your resume before sending it.
Doing so can increase your chances of getting a job in Canada and achieving your career goals.
I hope this article has been helpful and informative.
If you need more guidance or assistance writing a Canadian resume, please get let me know in the comment box below.
Thank you for reading, and good luck with your job search!