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How do I create a Canadian- style resume?

While Canadian resumes come in many different formats, they share some standards that you should know about.

Keep it Short
Keep your resume short. In Canada, most people have a resume that is 2 pages long. Keep it to 1 page if you finished school recently or do not have a lot of experience.

Change 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 do not work in today’s labour market.

For some jobs, you can change a few sentences to focus on certain skills and accomplishments. For others, you may need a completely new resume.

Include Volunteer Work
You should include your volunteer experience in the section on work experience. It is important to talk about what you have done. It does not matter if it was paid or unpaid work.

Use Social Media
Many employers cross-reference your resume with your online presence. LinkedIn is a popular business-related social networking site. When you update your resume, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile too.

Employers may also look for you on other social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. First impressions are important – if you don’t want a potential employer to see something, don’t make it publically accessible or put it online at all.

Formatting Hints
Format is critical. Your resume should be organized, neat, clear, and consistent in formatting (e.g., font and bullets).

If you are applying for a job which requires that you have attention to detail, then you need to demonstrate this with your resume.

Use headings to organize the information in your resume. Common resume headings are:

  • Highlights of Qualifications
  • Professional Experience
  • Education

Use formatting tools such as bold and bullets to make important information stand out.

Use Keywords
It is important to use keywords in your resume. Employers do not read every word on each resume. Keywords describe skills and qualifications. You might see them in the job posting that you are answering and on related companies’ websites.

Enhance your resume by using as many keywords as you can. But, do not make up experiences, just to use keywords.

Look It Over
Look over your resume before you send it. Make sure the company names, job titles and dates are accurate.

Print out your resume to see how it looks when printed.

You may wish to save your resume in PDF so that formatting will be consistent and employers will be able to open the document without difficulty.

Sample Resumes
There are 2 common types of resumes:

  • Chronological
  • Functional

You can find general samples of these types, below. You can use these samples as guides. Do not rely on samples or templates to create a good resume.

In some fields, employers will expect to see a resume with a specific format, which may be different than these samples.

  • Chronological Resume
    A chronological resume is time-based. It is organized by the positions you have held, in order of time. You list your most recent position first. These resumes are best if you have a lot of experience in your field. They are also better for people who do not have periods of time when they were not working.
    Click HERE for an example of a Canadian-style chronological resume.
  • Functional Resume
    A functional resume is skills-based. It is organized by skills that you gained in your previous work. Functional resumes are best if you:

    • Are a recent graduate
    • Have major time gaps in employment
    • Are changing careers
      Click HERE for an example of a Canadian-style functional resume.

Many settlement or employment agencies can give you information and advice about your resume, and how to create resumes for specific fields. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

For More Information

Possibilities – Find toolkits to help you with your resume, cover letter, interviews and tools for entrepreneurs.
JobStar Central – Good examples of the chronological and functional resumes. There are also cover letter samples.
Monster.ca Resume Centre – Many tips for creating great resumes.
eResumes & Resources – Information on posting and sending your cover letters and resumes electronically.

This article first appeared on Settlement.org.

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