Newcomers – Adapting Your Résumé for Canada

What are the characteristics that distinguish a Canadian résumé? Here are some aspects to consider, if you have just arrived in the country.

From pragmatism and adaptation to the job offer

Canadian recruiters expect to find the exact requirements of the job offer in your résumé. Sort through your business information to include only those which match the job. Marion Robert, who arrived in Quebec in October 2018, had to change her perspective. “In France, we put everything on the table, often more than the offer asks. Here you have to stick to the needs of the advertisement by adapting your résumé for each application. Being too scattered can even be detrimental.”

A profile worthy of a sales pitch

“I discovered here this paragraph where you summarize your knowledge, your social skills and your know-how,” Ms. Robert continues. Placed at the beginning of your résumé, these few lines will determine whether the recruiter will continue to read your career path or not. Be concise and powerful by summarizing your experience, your career goal and your core competencies… always according to the requirements of the position.

Quantified achievements and concrete tasks

In Canada, experience is often more important than your degrees. And recruiters want proof! “For each position held, a completed project needs to be described, supported by numerical data,” says Ms. Robert. Then, use action verbs to list your tasks accurately, putting the advertisement’s keywords in them. Above all, do not neglect any of your relevant experiences, such as volunteering.

In French or in English… for Canada!

Adapt to the local French or English lexicon. If possible, have your résumé proofread by someone who knows the subtleties: “I had it checked at a newcomers’ workshop,” says Ms. Robert. “I was told to be careful about using certain terms, especially job titles, which have different meanings in Quebec and in France. This requires some research.” Also consider “translating” your degree by indicating its Canadian equivalent, or clearly mention the official equivalence, if you have obtained it.

Finally, indicate in the header your first and last name, address, telephone number and email address. Any other information is considered discriminatory. You should also be aware that the Canadian résumé ranges from 2 to 3 pages at most and is in US Letter format.

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