28 Resume Tips for New Immigrants to Canada from Canadian Recruiters
New immigrants to Canada face numerous challenges. Offers of advice on how to deal with these challenges as well as how to navigate the Canadian job search landscape have been chronicled in the book, No Canadian Experience, Eh? a career success guide for new immigrants. One of the appendices from the book lists several resume tips from Canadian recruiters and hiring managers. They were asked the following question in a survey: “If you had one piece of résumé advice for someone who is an internationally-educated professional or new immigrant, what would it be?” The 28 answers mentioned below were gleaned from a longer list, but these will put you on the path to understanding what recruiters look for in a Canadian resume. (Any edits to original responses are enclosed in parentheses [ ] ):
- Focus on your skills as they relate to the job for which you are applying
- Proper spelling and grammar are imperative. Employers want to know that those representing them can maintain their professional image [especially when it relates to written and verbal communication skills].
- Provide more detailed information on former employers and the positions held. Provide relevant website addresses for background information.
- Highlight Canadian equivalency in your education and use a functional résumé format
- Align work experience with the job requirements
- Be specific and detailed about job experience and capabilities
- Have the résumé professionally done, if necessary
- Ensure your education/qualifications have been accredited by a Canadian institution – and not just for ‘immigration’ purposes
- Make sure your résumé clearly addresses all the qualifications of the position. Adding a cover letter with a table (Column 1: You asked for; Column 2: I have) is very helpful to a recruiter who has hundreds of résumés to go through
- Don’t put personal details, e.g. date of birth, place of birth, marital status, etc.
- Try to gain volunteer Canadian experience to boost your chances
- Familiarize yourself with best practices of North American résumé writing, i.e., no personal information, picture, etc.
- Have the education assessed against Canadian standards. For example, a CA in India is equivalent to Canadian CGA Level 4
- Target contract roles to gain Canadian experience
- Summarize job related skills in the first paragraph of your résumé
- Make it simple and easy to read…not too wordy
- Be honest
- Link your experience to Canadian needs
- Have recommendation letters
- Match your past job responsibilities with the appropriate Canadian title. Give details of your work experience and of the education (possible equivalence)
- Tailor résumé to position, and research, research, research
- Detail as much Canadian experience as possible, even if it’s part-time, volunteer, or short-term work. Also, point out Canadian similarities in any relevant prior experience
- Create and grow a network – and don’t ever stop!
- Know who you are applying to. Customize the résumé and research the employer
- Highlight how you were the top producer, how you solved problems, etc. This would show that you were an above average employee and that’s impressive no matter where you came from
- Seek professional assistance developing a résumé suitable for North American roles
- List skills and abilities, and what you can bring to the table
- Use the combination résumé style and obtain a Canadian certification in the field that you are seeking to pursue before seeking work in Canada
As you will have noticed, some of these tips overlap, but the premise is consistent, and shows each recruiter’s perspective on the subject. Add your comments below.
Additional information on the book can be found at No Canadian Experience, Eh? a career success guide for new immigrants , and a copy of the Resume and Interview Trends Survey can be downloaded at Canadian Resume and Interview Trends Survey.
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