Applying for a job in Canada? This Canada Resume guide has the templates, tips, examples, & format requirements needed to write the perfect resume.
From its beautiful scenery to famously-friendly locals, it’s easy to see why so many people think moving to Canada for work would be a dream come true. But with all the perks can also come high cost of living cities and a very competitive job market – so if you’re looking to work in Canada, you’ll need to have your Canada resume as polished as possible.
In this article, we’ll cover:
Thankfully, if you’re familiar with standard resume formats, you’re familiar with resume formats in Canada. In general, your Canada resume will take one of three forms: chronological, functional, or a combination of the two.
A chronological resume is the most common resume format, used around the world by jobseekers. If you write a resume using a chronological format, you’re telling the story of your career in order. Normally, chronological resumes are actually reverse chronological resumes, meaning you begin with your current or most recent job and work your way backwards from there. Because chronological resumes are common around the world, using this format when you apply to jobs in Canada won’t hinder your chances at all. In fact, many employers will likely prefer this format over others. However, it’s always a good idea to carefully read any job description you’re interested in. You may find that the application instructions specifically request a certain type of resume over another.
Where a chronological resume focuses heavily on your work experience, a functional resume focuses on your skills. After all, when you’re applying for a job you’re trying to explain how your skills would allow you to succeed – a functional resume lays those skills out plainly so that hiring managers and recruiters can instantly assess whether you hold those skills and qualifications. Of course, that’s not to say that a functional resume ignores your work experience! However, instead of leading with your experience, a functional resume explains how your work experience exemplifies your skills. For example, if you’re trying to demonstrate your expert-level Adobe Suite skills, you could use your work experience as a graphic designer to illustrate (no pun intended) the fact that you have a solid history of working with Adobe. Functional resumes aren’t as common as chronological resumes, but they’re used in specific industries, such as accounting, fairly regularly. If you’re applying for a job that requires very specific skills or certifications, using a functional resume may be the best way to demonstrate that you’re qualified. Before you decide to use a function resume, though, make sure to carefully read the job posting and do your research about the industry. Some industries consider functional resumes to be the standard, while in others they would seem awkward and out of place. A job posting may also specifically ask for one type of resume over another – when in doubt, defer to a chronological resume format.
In general, a Canada resume will be very similar to a resume you’d write for elsewhere in the world. Your resume should consist of the following components, give or take depending on your experience and the job requirements.
You may also choose to add additional sections to your resume, such as awards, certifications, volunteering experience, and hobbies and interests. Some jobs and industries require specific information to be included in your resume, so make sure you’ve done your research! If you’re not from Canada, and you’re hoping to work in the country as an expat, it may be a good idea to clearly state your right to work in Canada. This may include visa information or a brief note about your eligibility.
For the most part, it’s not strictly necessary for you to include a resume summary. If you aren’t confident in your ability to quickly sum yourself and your experience up, it may be best to leave it out entirely. In the past, the beginning of your resume contained an objective – essentially, stating that you were seeking employment. Nowadays, employers have almost unanimously said that a resume objective is pointless – they already know you’d like the job, because you’re applying for the job! If you choose to include a resume summary, use it to highlight the very best of your experience. This is also a great place to include keywords from the job posting – for example, if the job is looking for someone with Python experience, stating that immediately in your resume summary is a great idea.
Your work experience is usually the place where you can really shine. After all, you’re trying to explain to your future employer that you’ll find success in this role. What better way to demonstrate that than by showing off all the success you’ve had elsewhere? If you’re creating an entry level Canada resume, you’ll focus mostly on your education and any relevant internship or volunteer experience. Remember that you can use things like clubs and organizations as experience if they’re relevant to the position. For example, being president of a coding club could be valuable experience for a coding position. Each entry in your work experience section should include:
Remember that you need to focus on achievements, not day to day tasks. Instead of saying you completed projects on time, say averaged 10% under budget while completing 100% of tasks on schedule, 60% ahead of schedule. If you’re looking for a complete resume writing guide, you can always check out VisualCV’s ultimate guide here.
The education section of your resume will differ depending on your seniority. Recent grads with less work experience can lean on their education section to help explain their fit for a role. You can speak more about your educational accomplishments, because they’re more likely to still be relevant and expand on your skills. If you’ve been at the game for a while, and you’re applying for more senior positions, it may look out of touch or out of place to have an expanded education section on your resume. If that’s the case, you can stick to a basic education section that simply lists the institutions, the degrees earned, and the areas of study. Of course, if you’re applying for positions with a focus on academics (such as a professor role) then your education section is absolutely crucial, and you should make sure to treat it with the same weight as you would your work experience section. Do your research and make sure you understand what’s expected of you and your resume well in advance.
While this section can sometimes be overlooked, it’s hugely important – especially when employers are skimming resumes or using ATS systems to determine who to move ahead. The skills you have in this section should directly correlate with skills required in the job description. This way, potential employers understand immediately that you could find success in the role. It’s a good idea to include your level of competency with each skill. This way, employers can gauge how well you’ll suit a role, as well as how much on-the-job training you might require. Don’t be afraid to list skills you only have a beginner-level knowledge of, either – many employees appreciate seeing that you’re trying to learn new skills!
Expats come from all over the world to live and work in Canada. Many Canadian cities consistently rank highly on both happiness and safety indexes, and several industries are currently booming. In major cities, you’ll find a great many fellow expats ready and willing to share their knowledge, and in smaller towns, that famous Canadian friendliness can go a long way.
If you’re interested in working in Canada as a foreigner, you’ll need a work permit. Contrary to popular belief, marrying a Canadian citizen doesn’t actually entitle you to legal work in Canada – you’ll have to be sponsored, either by a spouse or common-law partner, immediate family, or an employer. While some industries are very open to foreign workers, others are satisfied with the local supply, so do your research before deciding whether a move to Canada is an option for you.
In recent years, Canadian employers have begun to further recognize the importance of work-life balance. The province of Ontario’s “unplug law,” for example, gives employees the legal right to disconnect from work outside of working hours, meaning they aren’t required to respond to emails or otherwise do work. While this law doesn’t apply to everyone, it does demonstrate a welcome shift in working culture in Canada.
In Canada, standard full-time employees work 40 hours per week, divided into 8 hours per 24-hour period. Different types of workers, such as those required to work overtime, those with unconventional schedules, or emergency workers, often have different hours. Once you know your working schedule in Canada, you can check it against federal and provincial regulations to make sure your employer is honoring their obligations to you.
In 2022, for example, there are 260 working days in the year. This doesn’t include any vacation time Canadian workers are entitled to, or days off like holidays and weekends.
Canada observes the following statutory holidays, meaning you’ll likely have the day off: