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Resume Building For New Canadians
A look at what to consider when creating your resume for opportunities within Canada.

Canada is a welcoming country that embraces cultural diversity, but hiring practices may be different than what a newcomer is used to. When I moved to Canada, before I started applying for jobs I brainstormed with others who were in the same position as I was, on tips and tricks they found to be helpful on their journey to finding a meaningful career in Canada. If you are a new to Canada and looking for a career opportunity, I am going to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Here is my top 6 list of, what I think, are some useful tips to help you succeed in your job search:

1. Keep your information relevant to the position you are applying to and the experience in which you bring.

Here are some suggestions of information not required in a Canadian-style resume:

  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • SIN or Passport number
  • Picture
  • Marital Status
  • Number of kids that you have

2. Modify your resume for each Job

Career experts recommend that you customize your resume for each job, especially at the beginning of your resume. General or generic resumes usually do not work in today’s labour market. Make your resume stand out, start with a meaningful cover letter that is specific to the role and company you are applying to. For your resumes itself, can change a few sentences to highlight specific skillsets or requirements that the job description requested, highlight your accomplishments. I would also highly recommend creating yourself a file to help you organize companies that you have applied to, and which version of your resume you used.

3. Keep it short

In Canada, most resumes are composed of 2 or 3 pages,3 or 4 pages if you include a cover letter. Keep your resume simple if you finished school recently or do not have a lot of experience. Save the 9+page resume for roles where you are applying to Public Sector or Consulting opportunities and you would like to highlight projects you have contributed to.

4. Volunteer work counts in Canada

You should include volunteer experience if you have it. It is important to talk about what you have done, regardless if it was paid or unpaid.

5. Resume structure

If you are stuck on what a good resume looks like, there are consultants out there who customize resumes at a cost. A free option would be to Google ‘Resume Templates’ or ‘Resumes Ideas’ this will provide you a great starting point. Your resume should look organized, neat, clear, and consistent in formatting (example: font and bullets). Use headings to organize information.

Most popular resume headings are:

  1. Objective / Career Aspiration
  2. Highlights of Qualifications
  3. Professional Experience
  4. Education

6. Read It Over, and when that is done, have someone else read it for you

Read over your resume before you submit your job application. Make sure the company names, job titles and dates are accurate. Print out your resume to see how it looks when printed. You can save your resume in PDF so that formatting will be consistent and employers will be able to open the document easily.

Even though you may be new to Canada and to the hiring practices that are standard here, your experience and energy can make you a valuable asset to an organization. Aligning your job applications to expectations will allow you the chance to showcase yourself on the path to success.