Resume Tips for a Canadian Job Application

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Follow these helpful tips to give employers the resume they need!

Having a clear, concise resume greatly increases your chances of getting hired by Canadian employers.

Here are some top tips for creating a great resume that will make you stand out.


What to include in your resume

Here are some top tips for creating a great resume that will make you stand out


Keep it short - one page only!

Your resume should only feature relevant information and word experiences.

Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. 

The information should be direct.  Keeping your resume to a one-page limit is a great way to achieve this.

Canadian employers want to be able to read your resume quickly, and usually won’t look beyond the first page, so it is important to stand out on one page.


Make it easy to read

While it is important to keep your resume to one page it is also just as important to make sure that the employer can easily read all of the information. 

Use a basic but modern font, like Calibri, Arial, or Century Gothic. Choose a smaller font size between 10 and 12, with a 1.5 line spacing. 

Use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked. No matter what resume format you choose, your main focus should be on readability for the hiring manager. 

Allow for the person reading your resume to be able to skim over it quickly. List your job tasks, and how it benefited the company.

By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will gain by hiring you.

Make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. Get a family member or friend to read it over and give you feedback as well.


Relevant work experience only - do not share your entire history

For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for (even if that means not including all of your past work experiences). 

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying.

If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose to add more detail about your current job role. 

No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section. Hiring managers will not read more than that.

You may be tempted to throw in tons of industry jargon/terms so you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but ultimately you want your resume to be understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them. 

Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? 

By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you can handle. Describing soft skills on a resume often starts to sound like a list of meaningless buzzwords. Think about how you can demonstrate these attributes, rather than just listing them. 

Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. Chances are, your last couple of jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you received your education. 

If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own. Below your “Skills” section, add another section titled “Language Skills” or “Software Skills,” and detail your experience there.


What not to include in your resume

The following things should not be included in your resume.  Avoiding these mistakes will help you look more professional to Canadian employers.


No images of your face

There is no reason why your resume should include a picture of you. Your photo will likely reveal your nationality, gender, or age — among other factors — that could lead to discrimination. 

There's no need to provide an employer with a picture.  In fact, some recruiters have been known to automatically dismiss a candidate whose application includes a headshot because they don't want to be accused of discrimination.


Complicated formats and designs

When it comes to selecting a design for your resume, less is more. 

Not only do elaborate designs and unconventional formats confuse most applicant tracking systems, but they also annoy recruiters who are accustomed to quickly scanning a resume for specific information they expect to find in particular spots within the document. 

Don't make recruiters hunt for the information they care about. Play it safe and stick to a clean resume design with a clear hierarchy.


Charts and images

While these design elements may look nice to the human eye, resumes with embedded images cause issues and don’t pass through ATS (applicant tracking systems) well.  This can cause your resume to be dismissed before anyone actually sees it.


Too much of the past

If you're not new to the workforce, it's time to remove all references of high school from your resume. 

Once you've been working for a few years in your desired field, you can reduce the level of details from your college experience. 

If you're further along in your career, limit the details of your work history to the past 15 years. Anything further back in time can be briefly mentioned in a career note or an abbreviated “Earlier Work History” section. 

Not only is this information considered less relevant because it took place so long ago, but listing it makes it challenging to stick to an appropriate resume length.


Long paragraphs without bullets

Employers might gloss over sections of your resume and miss key evidence of your qualifications if paragraphs are too dense with text. 

A resume should be easy to read.  Employers do not want to read lengthy descriptions.


What you want from the job

Leave out statements in your objective or summary that point to what you want to gain from the job. 

Your focus should be on what you can provide to the employer. Your goal is to sell the hiring manager on picking you for an interview.


Certain personal information

Leave off details such as height, weight, birth date, age, sex, religion, political affiliation, or place of birth. 

Employers shouldn't make employment decisions based on these factors, and they may resent the fact that you are tempting them to do so. Keep your resume focused on the facts.


Ready to apply

By following these tips for Canadian employment applications, you will stand out from the crowd!

Check out our job board and apply today for one of our many openings.

If you need more help with building your resume or the application/interview process, we offer consultations with our expert team for $165. We'll help you build your custom immigration plan!