An effective resume (CV) is essentially a marketing document wherein you are the product.
Studies show that employers spend no more than 20 seconds glancing over each resume they receive. Your resume should present a well-organized profile of your qualifications, work experience, education, achievements and overall career objectives. What's more, it's vital that the information you present be visually appealing, consistently formatted, and free of errors.
Your resume may need to be altered for Canadian employers. You can create your own custom Canadian resume with the free CanadaVisa Resume Builder.
Canadian employers typically expect to see the following information in a resume:
1. Contact Information
Be sure to include your name, current home address, telephone numbers including area codes, and your personal email address.
2. Professional/Career Objective
Your professional/career objective is basically your resume's opening statement. It defines the field or position for which you are applying. It is important that your career objective be clear, concise and customized to the job that you are applying for.
This section of your resume should include details of your academic background, beginning with your most recent degree, diploma or certificate. The standard format lists the college or university, followed by the degree/diploma/certificate, major, and graduation date.
Your career/job experience is what most employers pay particular attention to. Recent graduates with no work experience should include any part-time employment, as well as summer jobs, volunteer work and internships. This section should list company names, locations and employers for whom you have worked, presented in a logical and consistent manner.
It is also advisable that you include a bulleted "job responsibilities list" that outlines your particular job functions and achievements for every job you specify. Remember to include the names and locations of organizations for which you have worked, your position/title, and dates.
5. Qualifications or Skills
It is advisable to include a section that briefly states any skills and qualifications that relate to your professional objective in a bullet list format. Examples include:
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office and all associated applications.
6. Honours and Activities
Some resumes also contain a section that summarizes any honours and/or activities that demonstrate strong academic abilities, such as honorary societies, scholarships, and/or extra-curricular activities.
Employers pay attention to how a candidate's personality and personal tastes/lifestyle fits in with the company's corporate culture and vision. Any material you include that casts you as a balanced, well-rounded individual may endear you to a potential employer.
You may choose to include your references or simply state, "References are available upon request" or something to that effect at the bottom of your resume. If you choose to include references, be sure that the people you list can still be contacted at the telephone numbers you give. Moreover, if you feel that a potential employer may call your references, be sure to advise the people you have listed that they may receive a call from a potential employer.
Resume Writing Tips:
- Spell check your document. Make sure that punctuation, grammar, and spelling are free of errors.
- Include a customized cover letter with your resume. A cover letter is your chance to express why you believe you're the best person for the job. You may also use this format to effectively communicate your "professional disposition". Remember to address your cover letter to the employer/manager and include the company name.
- Include "action words". Action words are terms that describe your job functions such as Achieved, acquired, addressed, analyzed, centralized, coordinated, created, demonstrated, designed, eliminated, enforced, implemented, improved, maintained, managed, organized, oversaw, performed, reorganized, reviewed, selected, supervised, surveyed, trained.
- Include relevant skills, such as being able to speak a second language or mastery of particular computer applications.
- Avoid using paragraphs or long sentences. The bullet style — use of an action word followed by an account of the action you performed — enables you to include a lot of information about your work-related duties, responsibilities, and achievements in as condensed a form as possible.
- Convert all terms to the North American equivalent. For example, use terms like "high school", "GPA" (Grade Point Average — the equivalent for university grades), "internship", etc.
- Present results and achievements of previous work projects in quantitative terms. For example: Worked with a small team on an overhaul of the existing website and implementation of a digital marketing strategy, resulting in an increase in web traffic of 92 percent over 12 months.
- If posting your resume online, it is generally advisable to do the following:
- Left-justify (left-align) the entire document.
- Use a standard font, size 10-14 only.
- Avoid boldface, underlined or italicized print.
- Avoid parentheses (brackets), graphics, shading, tabs, and hard returns.