Do you need a “Canadian” CV? Of course, because when you look for a job in Canada, you will need it. Let’s start with the fact the Canadian CV is different from the traditional CV, which is an advanced, extensive description of your abilities and experience. Therefore, keep in mind that for the competent reflection of your professional side on the Canadian labor market it is important to familiarize yourself with a number of tips and recommendations.
In this article, we will acquaint you with detailed recommendations on drawing up a CV that will help you to find a job in Canada. It is important that you carefully read and understand each of the following paragraphs. So, let’s start.
Your CV is a key element in job placement in Canada. Employers will often assess your chances of getting a job only on this document. In fact, the main purpose of writing a CV is to attract attention from the one who reads it. If interested, they will want to talk to you during the interview. It is important to understand that you should take away the desire to tell the employer about yourself absolutely everything. On the contrary, try to identify only those moments that will benefit the company in which you are trying to find a job. Differentiate your description from the gray mass of the usual stereotyped phrases which are present in plenty of CVs.
Chronologically (as to the order), the CV should contain the following:
- Contact information
- Summary of your career/professional activity
- List of work experience
- Information on education
If appropriate, you can also add:
- Information on technical skills
- Volunteer experience
The main recommendations for drawing up your CV
- The CV is a way to manage an interview for yourself, rather than a detailed description of your professional experience. When drawing up a CV for the Canadian labor market, focus on reflecting your main strengths, avoid listing every little thing. At the interview, you will have enough time to deepen into the details.
- Use a professional template for your CV.
- Your CV is perhaps the only important tool for attracting attention from employers. If you are bored during the preparation and reading of your CV, the same will happen to a potential employer. So try to “sell” yourself on a more advantageous basis to those who have a job for you. They often don’t delay on their assessment of your CV. The reader spends usually less than a minute studying the CV, so make sure that it is interesting to read it.
- Avoid long paragraphsand small character font (the character font size of less than 12 points is not the best idea). Make sure that your document is easy to read and that the entire text of the CV is typed in one single character font.
- Don’t use the first person narrative form(for example, “I’m technically educated” or “I worked there, there and there”). Instead, keep a neutral way of description (for example, “Worked there, there and there”).
- The CV should not exceed two pages. If there is no possibility to impress with rich experience, one page will be sufficient too. In case you have more than 10 years of experience, you can add a third page, but not more.
- Don’t spend for any bad reason the precious space. List only the experience that is importantfor obtaining the specific position you are applying for.
- Use North American professional jargon when translating certain terms. Employers will not have time to understand what exactly you wrote.
- Don’t list personal interests and hobbies. You can list them only if they are some achievements that can describe you in a more completely manner. The employer is not interested whether you play the piano or you are a rugby fan.
- List onlyimportant skills. For example, knowledge of a second language or an excellent ability to work in a specific program on a PC.
- Many candidates lose the chance to get a job due to a “weak” CV. They send it to many companies, they don’t get an answer and they cannot understand why no one has been interested in them so far. So, don’t skimp on the time to write your CV. Moreover, customize your CV separately for each company you want to work in,because this is a document that reflects what you can offer to a potential employer. Companies differ from each other, and each pursues its own goals when hiring new employees. Also make sure that your CV is well edited, looks correctly and distinguished. If possible, ask a more experienced person in this matter to review your CV. There can be no question on grammatical and spelling mistakes – this is unacceptable.
- Don’t mention that you “came on a working visa for a year”. Companies are interested in dedicated candidates who are ready to contribute to their success. You need to let them know that you have come to Canada to create a career.
Note: we DO NOT invite you to lie, as Canadian employers are aware that some employees come to Canada for a limited period; so it’s best to discuss this issue separately with the employer during the interview, where you can say that you have come for further immigration. Familiarize yourself with terms such as CEC and LMIA – these are the most popular ways to extend your stay in the country if you come by the so-called “working holiday visa”.
- Don’t include the word «Resume» or «CV» in your CV. Also, abstain from the date of creation of the CV and personal signature.
- Don’t list recommendations in the text of your CV and don’t write “References available upon request” in the end, because it is assumed that the employer himself will request and confirm your recommendations, if necessary. Instead keep your recommendations ready and make sure that everyone who wrote them is ready to talk about you.
Concerning the contact information
- Don’t mention the date of birth, sex or marital status. According to the Canadian laws, nobody will demand this from you.
- Make sure that you leave your Canadian residence address, as well as the phone number in the CV header.
- It is also important to have an email address that looks professional. The combination of your name and surname will be an ideal option (firstname.lastname@example.org). Avoid using third-party domains. If necessary, create a new mailbox for the job search.
- Add a link to your profile in LinkedIn. Customize the hyperlink to your profile in such a way that it doesn’t look so cumbersome. Also, make sure that the information in the profile is up-to-date and the summary of the professional data looks decent.
Note: your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t need to be a copy of your CV, but rather a full list of your skills and work experience.
Summary of work experience
This summary is a micro-resume, which will allow the reader to understand what goals you are pursuing and how you can be useful to the company in which you are applying for. Three, four short sentences will be enough to set the tone for the following details. As a conclusion, describe what distinguished you from others: your personal qualities, technical or managerial skills, ability to work in a team and so on.
- Describe your intentions clearly. Indicate the name of the position you are applying for. A jack of all trades is fine, of course, but not for the employer. Do you want to be a sales manager? Specify exactly that. Don’t expect from the company that they will tell you who they want you to be.
- Mention the length of the experience, necessary for the position, you have and also what exactly is this experience. Also, let them know about your future plans for the company. .
- Avoid common phrases(for example, “honest and hardworking professional”) and immediately let understand to the employer what your strengths and goals are.
- Mention your career expectations, whether it is a desire to work in the field of management, control or something else.
Don’t drive in the boredom your potential employer by enumerating the entire working experience from past jobs. Instead of long lists, choose three or four points that describe everything you need.
Remember the key achievements with each of the previous works. After that, make each point in such a way that it was clear what problem you faced, what were the further actions and the end result.
Try to relate these components, because, otherwise, you simply list unimportant and unrelated facts. Each successfully solved problem either increases profit or reduces costs – that’s what managers think, so try to talk to them the same language. Remember, you must stand out.
Problem → Measures taken → Result
In this section, we will briefly describe how you can describe your achievements from past jobs. Describe your achievement in a structured way, according to a given order.
- Problem/Situation— Every action you take at work is not accidental. Who asked you to do this? What was the purpose? What was the forerunner for the problem you were asked to solve? It’s not necessary to answer specifically these questions, but they can help you in a more correct understanding of the problem, the solution of which you are entrusted.
- Measures taken— Here you must describe the actions that you took to solve the task.
- Result/Achievement— Again, a few questions for prompting. What would happen if you didn’t solve this problem? What was the impact of the result? Did the management praise for the work done? Was the number of sales increased or costs reduced? If possible, reinforce the description with real figures (%, $).
Avoid enumerating common tasks “in the name of enumeration”. It’s better to let the potential employer know about three or four short examples of your skills to solve unique problems that you had to face at previous places of work.
If you are not sure that the example given makes sense, try to develop it again according to the above scheme. Find out what was the impact of your actions on the success of the company, and don’t forget to back up each example with specific figures – increasing the number of sales by so much, reducing costs by so much, increasing positive feedback about the company at such and such number and so on.