To find work in Canada, it is essential that you have a resume. This might be different to your own country, maybe you don’t even need one to find a job in your home city.
A resume is a summary of your professional experience, education and skills. It is a document that ‘sells’ you to a potential employer and clearly shows what you, as an employee, can offer them.
If you search online, you will find a million different examples and different opinions about how to write a resume. It could leave you feeling a little confused.
Don’t worry! We are here to give you some uncomplicated guidance.
- Invest some time to write your resume
- Update your resume for every job you apply for
- It should be 1 page (no more than 2 pages)
- No pictures, crazy fonts or slang words
- Work backwards in time – your most recent information first
- No photos or personal information
- Write about your skills
- Choose a format that works for you
1. Invest some time to write your resume
Creating your resume will take time, especially when English is not your native language.
It might seem like a big task, but you will thank yourself when it is finished.
So, make yourself a coffee and spend a couple of hours in front of your laptop preparing your resume. Fun, no?
2. Update your resume for every job you apply for
It is important to change your resume for each job you apply for. Every job description will be different, so your resume should be too.
Carefully read the job description and the person requirements. You should try to repeat and reflect the vocabulary and the tone of the job description in your own writing (but don’t copy and paste!).
If the job description asks for someone who has excellent people skills à highlight your interpersonal skills and customer service experience.
If the job description asks for someone who is organized and can prioritize big workloads à highlight your experience of multitasking and prioritizing important deadlines.
It is obvious to an employer when you have sent the same resume to 10 jobs. You won’t get a call!
3. It should be 1 page (no more than 2 pages)
This is something that people might argue. However, the purpose of a resume is to summarize your professional background.
Keep the information direct and to the point. It is not necessary to write your life story or how you made coffee for everyone in the office on a Monday or always put more paper in the photocopier.
The responsibilities you write about must demonstrate your skills, abilities and biggest successes in your previous position.
4. No pictures, crazy fonts or slang words
Your Canadian resume is a formal document. Keep it simple. Use formal vocabulary and an appropriate tone.
We recommend using the fonts: Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Use the same font for all the text.
5. Work backwards in time – your most recent information first
You should start with your most recent / current job and qualification, then work back in time. Simply the month and year are enough.
Do not include information that is more than 10 years old. The employer doesn’t need to know where you went to kindergarten.
6. No photos or personal information
Do not include a photo of yourself.
Also, do not include your date of birth, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, favourite soccer team, favourite flavour of ice cream….
It is not necessary to write personal information. It is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their age, gender, sexuality or other lifestyle factors.
Your personal contact information should look a little like this:
Your Street, City | firstname.lastname@example.org | (123) 456 7890
7. Write about your skills
Professional skills are very important to employers in the current job market. They demonstrate that you can really do the job. Some employers even argue that skills and attitude are more important than a qualification.
Avoid these phrases:
Good team player, organized, hard worker, good communication skills.
Unfortunately, these skills do not make you more special than anyone else. In fact, they are the most basic skills that an employer expects in the workplace.
Try these phrases instead:
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills at all levels.
Able to foster strong client relationships and deliver consistently good service.
Able to manage demanding workloads and maintain a positive and professional attitude.
Confident user of MS Office, Java, CRM, InVision, Adobe Photoshop, etc…
Creative problem solver with demonstrated attention to detail.
8. Choose a format that works for you
Finally, meet with a career coach who can give you detailed support and feedback.
They will help you with language, content and how to best ‘sell’ yourself.
Cornerstone has a team of Career Coaches who are dedicated to guiding you in the direction of your chosen career. They can help you with your applications and job-searching, to make sure you find a job in Canada.
You can find some useful tips to answer questions in an interview here.
If you want to know more about how to study, work and live in Vancouver, contact us!