Your resume format is key to landing a job in Canada or the US and ultimately growing your career. Employers will determine your suitability for a role using your resume or in some cases your LinkedIn profile accompanied by a resume.
Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reading this document. It’s therefore really important for you to get the recruiter’s attention by sticking to the Canadian or US resume format.
In this article, we will use a case study to provide you with the approach to use in crafting out a resume that not only meets the Canadian or US resume format but equally helps you land an interview in many companies.
Theophilus Jonathan is tasked with creating a resume for his Technical Support Specialist job application
1. The objective is to get the reader’s interest to land an interview
Some candidates find the need to over impress the employer. While this may seem good, it could equally be a stumbling block. Your main objective is to make them see the reasons why you will make a good addition to the team.
How can you do this?
It starts with the resume. By selectively dropping the important achievements you have had without telling everything about yourself, you will be showing the employer even before the interview how valuable you are to their organization and how you can help them reach their goals.
Apply this Canadian way of resume tweaking and see your job search improve. That’s why you are here on this platform, and we are equally here to support you.
Rather than listing your duties in each role, give accounts of your achievements that stand out from other candidates who have applied for the role. Differentiate yourself from the crowd.
2. The resume format in Canada must contain the following sections usually in this order
The recruiter will need to contact you during the process, so your name is necessary. One question we’ve seen immigrants ask is whether they should change their name.
We are of the opinion that your name is a representation of who you are and you shouldn’t change it. However, if you feel that your name is long or may be difficult for the recruiter to pronounce, you could use a shorter version of your name or a preferred name which in most cases can be a nickname.
For example, if your name is Theophilus Jonathan, the following can be used in your resume or LinkedIn:
- Theophilus Jonathan
- Theo Jonathan
- Theophilus ‘Theo’ Jonathan
b. Contact information
This is the section to provide your Canadian phone number, professional email address and it’s also advisable to include your custom LinkedIn URL. LinkedIn will create a URL, but you can change this to a custom URL.
To change your custom URL, log into your account, and click ‘Edit Public Profile & URL’ from the top right corner of the screen. It’s advisable yo use your first and last name for the URL. See the screenshot below.
A sample URL you may use in your resume is linkedin.com/in/theojonathan. Additionally, you can hyperlink it in your resume format so that the recruiter can click it directly!
c. Professional/career summary
This is similar to the About page on your LinkedIn profile. It needs to be succinct and straight to the point. Give a brief summary of your experience and skills. This helps the recruiter have a brief overview of your experience and what you bring to the table.
Here is a sample:
With over 4+ years of experience, I ensure that customer relationships are improved using problem solving approach and technical expertise to guarantee customer success and to improve business.
- Proficient in client onboarding/ training as well as Help Center documentation
d. Work experience
This is an opportunity to adequately convince the recruiter that you are up to the task and the best candidate for the job. As we have mentioned in a number of previous articles, we encourage you to review job descriptions to understand what the key responsibilities are. Using this, you can gauge the skills required and basically copy and paste it into your resume.
However, don’t just stop at copying and pasting, tweak it for it to relate to your overall experience. Applying the key skills really helps you beat the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) which is basically the software used to sieve candidate applications to reduce the manual work of recruiters.
Here is a sample:
- Povided a high level of expertise which contributed to a 97% CSAT, and less than 1 hour First Response Time
- Trained over 80 users on the product use and best practices via virtual demo calls or in-person visits
- Provided 100+ customers with support on the software to ensure their retention, drive adoption and help achieve their business goals
- Delivered on over 12 major projects as well as serviced over 5 high profile clients during their implementation phase
Notice how we’ve detailed accomplishments in the sample above with fewer words. To do this, take note of your KPIs at your previous job positions and use this in aligning SMART goals for your experience. SMART – (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Stay high-level and highlight your strengths rather than giving every little detail. During the interview stage you can share every detail necessary. With a Canadian resume format, the focus is to not have a wordy or repetitive resume.
e. Education / professional development
This is where you can provide your educational qualifications as well as any professional certifications you have recently achieved. If your bachelor or previous degrees don’t relate to the job position, we advise that you enroll in courses that can help you gain additional skills or at least show that you are someone open to learning more.
It’s acceptable for you to state in your resume that you are currently enrolled in a course even if you are yet to complete it. Canadian employers love to know that you are someone who as interest in self-development. Feel free to express this in your resume, however, ensure that you follow through in completing your course.
Examples of what you can write under this section if you are currently enrolled in a course:
- [Name of Course or Certification] – in view.
- [Name of Course or Certification] – [Month or Year Completion of the Certification]
If you aren’t sure the course to enroll in, simply do a quick Google search for any of the following:
- Top [Name of Job Position] Courses in [Name of City]
- Top [Name of Job Position] Certifications in [Name of City]
- Top [Name of Job Position] Certifications in [Current Year]
You may also add technical skills especially those listed in the job description if you have such skills. For voluntary experience, it isn’t necessary except you can relate it to your job application or if you have little to no job experience.
3. Additional tips to keep in mind
- Use an easily readable font and make sure that you are consistent throughout the resume. A maximum of two pages is what is required for your resume format. If you have 11+ years of experience, then three pages may be acceptable.
- Do not list personal interests or hobbies unless they are achievements that relate to the job application. If you are bilingual, this is a great skill you could add to your resume as it stands you out of the crowd.
- Avoid sending a generic resume to dozens of employers. Tailor your resume for each specific job and company you’re applying to as much as possible. We can’t emphasize this enough.
- Do not list references, or include the line ‘references available on request’. When references are required during the interview process, you’ll be notified by the recruiter.
- Do not list your date of birth, gender, marital status, religion, or parents’ names. It’s not required under the employment law in Canada and provides information which can make a recruiter bias, it’s against the law.
- Finally, keep your bullet points as short as possible, you want a resume a recruiter can read easily.
Check out this resource for additional information: The Comprehensive Resume Checklist for the Immigrant Worker
Also, have a look at our available Resume Templates and download one of choice. You can then fill out the resume using the information shared in this post.
- Download one of the Resume Templates and fill it out accordingly.
- Create another resume for a similar job position you want to apply to. In the end, you should have at least 2 resumes
- Go through this article once again and ensure your resume meets the Canadian resume format.
- Apply to at least 5 jobs and review your resume again for any corrections
If you have any questions while practicing these steps, use the chatbox to drop us a message, and someone will be in touch with you shortly. Feel free to leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article, we’ll love to hear from you.