Jan 07, 2023

How to Write a Canadian Style Resume & Cover Letter

This guide is about writing a Canadian CV as per title. But let me tell you first na it's highly possible na you'll find better guides on how to write a CV out there. I have to be honest with you, I'm not that confident to teach you how to write a CV, but if you really need help, and you really want to complete this journey with me, I'm still willing to share with you what I know.

Job bank has a resume builder you can use to create your CV/resume. Create your resume there and may follow below tips on what to put and what is NOT to put in your resume.

Job Bank - Resume Builder

Don't attach photos in your CV

Unless you're an actor, model, TV Presenter or similar, don't attach a photo to your CV. Doing so may appear to be unprofessional.

To ensure unbiased hiring policies based on appearance, recruiters / companies will not consider resumes with pictures. Some HR departments even have policies in place that don't allow resumes with pictures from being considered.

Though only information you need on your CV should be information relevant to the jobs that you'll be applying for.

Don't provide unwanted, unrelated information

You don't need too much personal information on your CV. At this point, the only personal information the employer/recruiter need is your name & contact details. They don't need to know your social handles, except maybe Linkedin profile. They don't need to know what nationality you are, your race, your religion, marital status, or anything about your status. In fact, if any of these were asked during your interview, it may be illegal according to Canada's human right's laws.

Your CV is also not the place to disclose your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Your employer doesn’t need that until you are hired for the job. Your SIN card is a sensitive document which is only to be shared when legally required. If you don't know what SIN is, you'll only get this document after arriving in Canada.

Things that can be added in your CV is relevant skills, work experience, Basic Contact info.

Mailing address is usually not necessary, but if you are applying from outside of Canada, then you need to be clear that you are applying from outside.

Don't make your CV too long

More than 2 pages is too long. One page is ideal but, if necessary, it is still okay if you have two. You want the person reviewing the application to see only your best, most relevant and recent experience. If you have relatively lesser work experience and/or just have started in your career, you can include items that may be less relevant to the job posting.

Recruiters/HR managers should be able to get an idea of your experience and its relevance to the position that you are applying for.

Don't add unfamiliar reference

This part actually is something I just read about in the internet. They always advise including a reference. Personally, I didn't do it, but it may be required for you to do so. Hope you can decide for yourself.

The next thing you shouldn't do is to put someone, who's unfamiliar with your work, as reference in your reference. The reference you select for your previous job/s should be someone who has worked with/observed your work (For at least 2 years)

Some important things you need to consider is that the individual that you choose should be available for when your Canadian employer needs to call them to verify your information, experience, or credentials.

They need to be comfortable answering the reference check questions. So, it's important that you list someone you trust, and whom you have a good working relationship.

Don't use an Unprofessional email address

Another huge mistake people often make is that they use their old email address, which has a funny name or a sarcastic meaning. Examples are batangasman@gmail.com or multongbakla@yahoo.com. It may sound funny earlier when you were younger, but it's really unprofessional. Recruiters do pay attention on these details, and they might just judge you based on this.

Using an email address that contains your name, however, does not signal any red flags and I recommend you do that.

Tailor your CV for a job that you're applying for

What many people do is they create one singular universal CV, which they use for all the jobs that they are applying for. Although, there's nothing wrong with that, but it limits your chances of getting selected. Again, you want the person reviewing the application to see only your best, most relevant and recent experience.

Tweaking your resume to highlight the skills and experience relevant to the position you are applying for will boost your chances of getting hired to a great extent. This is because most recruiters/companies already have software in place to match keywords from your CV to open job positions. CV's that list a few to no matching keywords are directly discarded and ignored.

Quanitfy your achievements

Try to quantify your achievements with numbers

Like, if you were a manager, mention how many people you were responsible for and/or mention how many executives made your team. If you worked in Sales, mention how many products you sold in a month. If you work in advertisement, mention how many ad campaigns you ran and maybe how much profit you brought every month.

Listing specific achievements in numbers that employers can understand will highlight your skills better than just saying you have a "good work ethic" or "bears a good moral character"

Write in the Third Person

Avoid using "I", "me", or "my" in your resume. Keep your sentences short and clear.

For your work experience, include the name and location of your company. List a few of your responsibilities, include the years (or months if less than a year) you worked at the company. You don't need to mention gaps in your employment, the recruiter will ask you about it during the interview, if they really need to know.

For your education, list your school/university, study program, credentials, and dates (commencement/completion). Depending on the position that you are applying for, you may include your GPA but it's usually not necessary. You can also list your awards here or on a separate section if you need to fill the page.

Add a cover letter

I personally didn't do this as well, unless required in the application procedures. But doing so may still increase the chance of you getting hired. From what I know, employers/recruiters usually skip this anyway and head straight to your CV.

Anyway, a cover letter is meant to enhance your CV, and show employers or recruiters why YOU are the best fit for the job opening. It should include the company's contact information, and your own as well.

The cover letter should just be a couple of paragraphs and should NOT cover a whole page. The first paragraph should be your introduction and why you want this job. It should also include the position you're applying for. The subsequent paragraph/s should demonstrate why YOU are the best candidate for the position and referring to your previous relevant work experience to support this.

You can go above and beyond by writing how your involvement will solve their problems, and make them a better company.

Add unpaid/ volunteering experience

Canadian employers prefer candidates who made the effort for unpaid works for charity or volunteering events. Especially if it is aligned with the job position that you are applying for.

End Note

As I mentioned before, after completing the requirements and updating it to your resume, you'll receive multiple job offers to choose from. (but still depends on how in-demand your position is.

Once you got the job offer, go through our guide to know what Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is.

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