Writing Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) for the Canadian Market
Just as every job is different, the approach to getting hired can differ from country to country. Here are some tips on how to make your CV (curriculum vitae) appeal to Canadian employers, or in support of your work permit application or even immigration.
Canadian Resumes – Key Features
While every resume is different, here are some important elements to keep in mind:
- Keep your CV short and focussed. While you don’t want to skip any relevant skills or experiences, Monster.com generally recommends limiting your resume to two pages (one if you’re a recent grad or otherwise less experienced).
- Ensure that your resume is organized. You can create a chronological resume (organized based on when you gained specific experiences) or a functional resume (organized based on specific skills you gained). Either way, using headings, bulleted lists, bold or underlined text for key pieces of information, and other formatting elements can help make your CV easier to read.
- Customize your resume for each job you apply for. While this can be time-consuming, tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for can make your application stand out. You can customize your resume by emphasizing relevant skills or cutting out experiences that don’t connect with the job you’re expressing interest in.
- If you’re applying for a specific immigration program, you may also want to check if the job you’re applying for fits the criteria for the program in the first place. There are specific rules about which jobs are considered skilled trades or skilled workers, for example. Also, if the job does fit the criteria, keep those criteria in mind when writing the descriptions of your past work experience—just make sure that the duties and skills you mention in your description are accurate to the positions you’ve held.
Additional Information on your Resume
Depending on where you’re from and what the standards are for job applications there, what to include on your resume there may look a little different from a Canadian CV. Here are a few potentially unexpected features that may be worth including:
- Your volunteer history—your experience is relevant and should be included in your CV whether it was paid or not. While unpaid work generally won’t count toward your work experience for an immigration application, it will for a job application.
- Your social media—your Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media accounts can be great places to build a professional brand and give potential employers a sense of your personality. This is especially true if you are in communications, marketing, or sales. Just remember to keep anything you’d prefer stayed personal set to private. If you want to make sure you are able to manage your social media professionally, you can create different accounts for your personal/social life and your career.
Details are Important to Potential Employers
Also, check for proper spelling, grammar and punctuation (you can use the free or paid version of the Google Chrome extension Grammarly to help with this). Not only will doing so make you look more professional, but it will help ease any concern on your potential employer’s part about language difficulties if English is your second language. To really set a potential employer’s mind at ease, do a little research to ensure that your CV is written using Canadian spelling and punctuation, which differs from American English in small but noticeable ways such as writing “colour,” not “color,” as well as from English outside North America (in Canada, it’s “realize,” not “realise,” for example).
While these details aren’t all directly related to your work experience, these subtle elements can provide clues to your potential employer as to whether you’ll be a good fit.
Getting your Foot in the Door
Do you need help applying for a work permit or your employer needs assistance to apply for an LMIA? As immigration professionals, we know the answers, and we can help you find the best path to Canada. Contact us if you have any questions.