If you’re looking to find a job in Canada, you need to have a resume--not a CV--to begin your job search. This is easy for job seekers who already use a USA resume, but will require more adjustments for job seekers with a more comprehensive CV. In this article, we will go over some essential tips for creating a Canadian resume. At the end of the article, we’ve included a sample resume you can use to increase your chances of getting a new job in Canada.
ZipJob has a wide network of career experts and hiring managers, so the information on our blog is based on real experience from people who know how to land a job in the US and Canada. Spoiler alert: they're pretty similar systems!
The 3 resume formats you can use in Canada
There are only three types of formats you should use for a resume in Canada:
Traditional reverse chronological
Strategic functional resume
Balanced hybrid resume
All of these formats include the same basic information with a different layout.
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It is vital to choose the right resume format for the job. Your choice should be determined by the years of experience you have and the type of job you’re seeking. We’ll go into details about when to choose a different Canadian resume format, but most job seekers use the reverse chronological resume format.
Most Canadian employers use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to screen your resume before it's ever seen by a human. About 75% of resumes are filtered due to applicant tracking systems and will never be read by the recruiter or hiring manager. Many times the candidate is qualified, but the resume is not optimized for ATS.
If you’re seeking a job in Canada, it’s important to use a proper Canada resume format to maximize your chances of securing employment.
When to use a reverse chronological Canada resume format
A reverse chronological resume details your job experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position. This is the best resume format if you have at least some experience in the workforce. If you are a recent college graduate or have significant work gaps on your resume, however, you should consider the hybrid or functional resume formats.
When to use a hybrid or functional Canada resume format
The functional resume is a versatile format that focuses on your skills and qualifications instead of experience. While your employment history is still included, it is usually listed after your skills and education section. That places greater emphasis on those skill sets, showcasing your suitability for the position. As a result, this option can sometimes be used effectively by newcomers to the workplace and those who are changing careers.
A hybrid resume retains the expanded reverse chronological work experience section, but it’s no longer the bulk of the resume. Instead, the skills section is also expanded to include a summary of qualifications in addition to the technical skills or core competencies section.
It should be noted, however, that many experts advise job seekers in Canada to stick to a format closer to the reverse chronological. Regardless of the format you chose, here is the basic information a hiring manager is looking for on your resume:
Name and contact information (phone, email, city and province, and LinkedIn URL)
Top 3 things Canadian employers and recruiters want to see on a resume
You can maximize your odds of landing your dream job if you understand what Canadian employers want to see. That can help you to shape your Canadian resume format to fit those desires. Here are the questions you need to answer on your Canadian resume:
1. Hard skills
Make sure your Canada resume format emphasizes the technical skills needed to perform the job. These may include data analysis, language skills, computer skills, or similar qualifications relevant to the position.
2. Soft skills
Canadian employers appreciate soft skills on a resume, including people skills. These soft skills can include everything from communication and teamwork skills to problem-solving, flexibility, and the ability to learn and adapt. Include these vital skills throughout your resume with examples, results, and metrics.
3. Professional qualifications
Canadian employers, like most other employers, value relevant professional qualifications and achievements. Make sure you are qualified by the right institutions for the job you’re applying for.
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Canada resume format example
Additional tips for writing a Canadian resume
To modify your resume to the Canada resume format, it’s important to pay attention to the small details.
1. Include only the relevant information
Starting with your contact information, include your name, location (city and province), phone, email, and LinkedIn profile URL at the top of your resume. If you have a second page, it should also include your name at the top of the page.
Keep your skills, experience, and additional resume information highly tailored to the job you're applying for. This might mean omitting jobs from 10+ years ago on your resume or adding in volunteer work.
2. Don't include too much information
Don't include any personal details like your date of birth, parent or spouse names, marital status, or identification numbers. Canadian employers don’t want to see this and may reject your resume automatically to avoid discrimination concerns.
3. Include a cover letter
Take the extra time to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply to. It's professional, polite, and shows that you care about this position. It's one of the best things you can do to stack up well against candidates with similar experience to you!
Professional resume writers know how to organize your resume to appeal to hiring managers. Check out our guide to the best resume writing services to find your perfect fit!
The resumes in Canada are very similar to resumes in the US, but vastly different from CVs in other countries. Stick to resume formats that employers will expect, and play up your strengths. By using these Canada resume format tips, you can increase your chances of securing an interview and landing an eventual job.
Good luck with your job search!
Caitlin Proctor, CPRW, Certified Professional Résumé Writer
Caitlin joined the ZipJob team in 2019 as a professional resume writer and career advisor. She specializes in strategic advice for executives, career pivots, and remote workers. Read more resume advice from Caitlin on ZipJob’s blog.