How do I create a Canadian-style resume in order to find a job?

Your resume will get noticed more by Canadian recruiters if you have a Canadian-style resume. While Canadian-style resumes come in many different formats, they share some standards that you should know about.

Style and Personal Details 

In Canada, you never use a photo on your resume and you also don't include personal details other than your name and contact information.

You should never:

  • state your age 
  • state your ethnicity or cultural background 
  • describe your physical attributes 
  • state your marital status or if you have children
  • state your sexual orientation or preferences

None of these are considered relevant to obtaining a job. Do showcase how your strengths and achievements in past jobs will benefit the role you're applying to. 

Adapt your Resume for Each Role

Career experts recommend that you customize your resume for each job, especially for your most recent work experience. General or generic resumes do not work in today’s labour market. It's advised to follow the requirements of the job posting so that your resume speaks to those specific requirements. 

Generic resumes are better used for applications to companies that are not advertising a job opening. If you research a company that you want to work for but they don't have an current opening you can use a more generic version of your resume in this instance.

Also, remember to use your cover letter to showcase how your experience matches the job role requirement.

The Job Ad. or Posting

In general, the bullets sections for the requirements are listed in order of importance or according to job requirements. The top 5 bullets on the list are typically the highest requirements of the job with the least demands towards the bottom of the list. Ensure that your resume speaks to the top requirements in particular by focusing on comparing your past experiences and achievements those in the top requirements. 

For some jobs, you can change a few bullets or sentences to focus on certain skills and accomplishments. For others, you may need to rewrite a completely new resume. The important thing to keep in mind is that each application that you submit reflects the role you are applying for specifically.

Find what jobs are available in your area from our Where can I find job listing websites? page. 

Mind the Length

It's preferred to have a shorter resume over one with many pages. Most people have a resume that is 2 pages long. If you are a junior professional or fresh out of school you might choose a one-page resume. But depending on your seniority level if you have more years of experience it's ok to have up to a 3 page resume if you need it. 

Don't sacrifice quality details, achievements and past relevant experiences to make a resume shorter.   

Include Volunteer Work

You should include your volunteer experience if it relates to the job you are applying for in the section on work experience. It is important to talk about what you have done. It does not matter if it was unpaid work.

Use Social Media

Many employers cross-reference your resume with your online presence. You can include a link to your LinkedIn profile or if you have an online portfolio for your work or related blog you may include that as well. 

Employers may also look for you on other social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram etc First impressions are important - if you don't want a potential employer to see something, don't make it publicly 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 résumé.

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

In today's job market a lot of recruiters use online tools to select resumes. These tools are designed to match keywords from the job ad. to your resume. It's important to use keywords in your resume chosen specifically to match what you see in the job posting and on the company's website. Recruiters sometimes do not read every word on each resume and rely on the keyword matches.

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

Proof Read it

Look over your résumé 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 if you can or save it as a PDF to review the formatting. 

It's good to send a resume through as a PDF so that 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.

This is 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

This is an example of a Canadian-style functional résumé:

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

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Last updated: January 5, 2023 4001064