Get Work in Canada Faster with the Perfect Resume

August 30, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

If you hope to work in Canada, this may be the most suitable time to apply for jobs. There are over 800,000 job vacancies in Canada, meaning there is bound to be one for you. Although some immigration programs do not require a job, having one not only opens up more programs but also increases your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. So, to get ready to land your dream job in Canada, look at our guide on how to put together the perfect Canadian-style resume for your Canadian job application.

What is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV

So you have mainly used a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for job applications in your country but have noticed that most Canadian job advertisements ask for a resume. If you are not sure whether there is a difference between the two, take a look at our breakdown of the two:

  • A resume summarizes your work experience, education, and skills. You will need a resume to apply for most jobs in Canada
  • CVs are typically two pages long and usually need to be submitted if you are applying for academic positions, postdoctoral positions, teaching or research positions, or other high-level posts

Going Back to the Basics to Draft the Perfect Canadian-Style Resume

The main purpose of your Canadian-style resume is to grab your recruiter or prospective employer’s attention, secure an interview and ultimately, a job in Canada. So when drafting your first version of this document, remember that you must focus on highlighting the value you can bring to the company and why they should hire you instead of other applicants.

To achieve those mentioned above, ensure that your resume has the following basic information:

  • Your contact information
    • Include your Canadian residential address, mobile number, professional email address, etc.
  • An education and skill-set summary
    • Include information about the languages you speak and relevant skills you may have.
  • Your work experience
    • Provide an overview of where you have worked and your role.
  • Professional development and achievements
    • Include courses you have done to upskill and awards you may have won.
  • Volunteer experience or community work
    • If you have a history of doing volunteer or community work, add this too.

Tips and Tricks For the Perfect Resume

The most important thing to remember when working on your Canadian resume is to keep it concise. You must, therefore, list only information relevant to the job you are applying for.

Also note that unless you are applying for a creative position and are attempting to demonstrate your skills, there is no reason to create your resume from scratch. Save yourself some time and energy and use a free resume template, which can be found on free design apps such as Canva.

Here are some tips to make sure you tick all the boxes for your Canadian-style resume:

  • Use point form form
  • Choose a good font size - Titles size 14-16, text size 10-12 depending on the font)
  • Avoid using the first person “I”
  • Keep your sentences as short as possible
  • Keep spacing consistent
  • Convert all terms to their Canadian equivalent
  • Don’t write CV/Resume at the top of the page (it’s assumed and understood)
  • No signature is required
  • No photo needed (save that for LinkedIn)
  • No references needed unless requested
  • You don’t have to add personal information like your gender, date of birth, marital status, religious beliefs, parents’ names, or sexual orientation

Writing Your Cover Letter

If you wonder whether a cover letter is essential when applying for a job in Canada, the answer is: yes! First impressions are extremely important, so a cover letter serves as an introduction to your prospective employer or recruiter in the Great White North. Include information about your education, skills, and career experience and use this to make them interested in having an interview with you.

For the perfect cover letter:

  • Ensure that the format is clean and easy to read
  • Start by stating your objective directly and concisely
  • Describe your professional profile efficiently
  • Mention your career goals briefly
  • Ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors

The Letter of Reference

This letter of reference differs from what you may be accustomed to. Your letter of reference used when wanting to work in Canada needs to verify two things:

  1. Your time worked for an employer
  2. That your position matches your National Occupation Classification (NOC) code

A letter of reference is usually provided by your supervisor, the management, or the human resources (HR) department at a company you worked at. This document allows an immigration officer to calculate how much work experience you have. Work experience is an important factor in the immigration process, contributing to your CRS score. Your visa application may be refused if your letter of reference seems disingenuous or lacks certain information.

A letter of reference should include the following:

  • Your official job title
  • Dates of your employment
  • Salary per week
  • Average hours per week
  • A detailed list of employment duties(include daily tasks and responsibilities)

Tips For Your Letter of Reference

Below are some handy tips for your letter of reference:

  • If you’ve had multiple positions within a company, separate reference letters for each position is most ideal, or make sure that each position is separated by a period of employment.
  • Avoid industry-specific jargon that the immigration officer may not be familiar with.
  • The list of employment duties is the most important part of your letter, as it allows the officer to discern if your NOC code matches the job that you’re applying for.

Should you not be able to obtain a letter of reference, the following documentation will suffice as long as you have a signed letter stating why you do not have a letter of reference:

  • Employment contracts
  • Promotion letters
  • Paystubs
  • Pictures of you at work
  • Sworn declarations from previous colleagues


What Types of Resumes Are Used in Canada?

Three types of resumes are generally used in the Great White North:

  • Reverse chronological resumes provide an overview of your work experience in reverse chronological order. This is the most popular format for Canadian-style resumes.
  • Functional resumes highlight your skills and qualifications. Your work experience in this document comes after your skills and academic history.
  • The format of a hybrid resume combines the two resumes mentioned above. This format is ideal if you would like to highlight your skills and professional experience. Here, your work experience is displayed in a reverse chronological format, and the skills section will include a summary of your credentials and technical skills.

What is the Difference Between an Employment Letter of Reference and a Recommendation Letter?

People often confuse the two. An employment letter of reference confirms your employment at a particular company and will list your duties and employment details. This letter will not cover your performance or character as an employee. A recommendation letter would note these things. You can get one from a former employer, line manager, client, colleague, or your network.