Resume Writing Tips for New Canadians

One of the biggest mistakes new immigrants to Canada make when attempting to enter into the Canadian job market is continuing to use the résumé from their home countries.  It is important that newly arrived jobseekers tailor their résumés towards meeting the needs of Canadian employers.

As the President of Résumé Solutions, I have worked with thousands of new immigrants who came to our organization for help when they have been unable to find work for months after arriving in Canada.  One of the most common errors that we see in their résumés is spelling and grammatical mistakes. Another mistake is including obsolete information or detail, which has no relevance to a Canadian employer. Others include too much personal information, which is a major faux pas in the Canadian environment.

Even though Canadian labour laws prohibit employers from discriminating against job seeker based on issues such  as age, marital status, ethnicity, gender or religion, it would be naïve to assume that all employers adhere to the law at all times. With this in mind, it is best not to mention your age or include a picture in your résumé or cover letter. There is always the possibility that you could be discriminated against should the employer feel you are too young or too old for the position or due to personal bias.

To be effective, a well-written résumé should be concise and to the point. You should not write a résumé that consists of a laundry list of responsibilities for each role you have held throughout your career. Though many immigrants come from countries where longer, detailed résumés are the expected norm, a résumé written for the Canadian employer should be no longer than three pages (two is preferable). While writing your résumé you need to remember that your main goal is to convey the contributions you made in each of your past roles and how you can replicate these successes for a new organization. Do not use long-winded sentences or dated terminology. An example of what not to do: “Dear sirs, with your permission, herein is included my résumé and cover letter, in accordance with your request for someone of my esteemed talents which are in line with your organization’s long-term goals” employers do not want to read long, cumbersome or jargon-laden sentences.

Immigrant job seekers should also ensure that their qualifications will be accepted by Canadian employers by having their international designations, such as their degrees, evaluated by an approved body such as the University of Toronto.   Information about having your qualifications recognised can be found at www.adm.utoronto.ca/ces.

It is also a great idea to you have your résumé appraised by someone in Canada to ensure that it is easily understood and appeals to Canadian employers. Résumé Solutions offers a new immigrant employment assistance service including résumé tailoring and assistance with job search skills. Visit www.résumésolutions.ca for further information.

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  1. Anybody else feeling worried about all the chaos in the Middle East?

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