Around the world, there are variations in resume format, structure, and style. You want potential employers to view your CV as polished and comprehensive while you’re looking for your first job in Saskatchewan, and other places in Canada. Your ability to style a CV effectively gives you a competitive edge when looking for work. Here, we provide you with information on; the two common resume structures; formatting principles; as well as some formatting tips. First, you should note the following:
- Leave out photos
- Leave out your age, date of birth, gender, or identification
- Ideal length is one page, with a maximum of two pages for senior positions. In other words, keep it as short as possible
- Format is paragraph style, without columns of information.
There are two basic structures used in writing a Canadian style resume: chronological or functional.
A chronological resume is one that lets you highlight your work experience. In other words, it lists previous positions in chronological sequence starting with the most recent. A chronological resume can be used by job seekers with experience to highlight their practical knowledge. Generally speaking, simply provide your most recent ten years of experience. You may also include any volunteer experience that directly relates to the position you’re applying for.
A functional resume is one that lets you highlight your skills and abilities that relate to the position you’re applying for. Highlight each important skill or quality in your resume using the job description or posting as a guide. For those who have little work experience, employment gaps, those changing careers, or those new to the job market, a functional resume structure is ideal. Focus on your skills and abilities first, then put your employment history after the skills section.
Regardless of your choice between a chronological or functional resume structure, the following formatting considerations are essential:
The Header is at the top of the resume. The resumé header should include your contact details, including your first and last name, address, phone number, and email address. The resume header enables the recruiter to quickly identify the owner of the resumé and how to contact them. Often, your first name and last name is in a slightly larger or bold font.
The resumé header is followed by your professional or career summary. In about three to five sentences, this should highlight your career accomplishments. Your professional summary should reflect on your main strengths and skills related to the duties and responsibilities of the position you’re applying for. After reading your professional summary, the recruiter should have a clear understanding of who you are and what skills and abilities you may bring to the position. Customize this for every job application to address the company and the position’s requirements.
Under this headline, list out your areas of expertise that relate to the position you’re applying for. Provide details of specific skills and qualities you possess which make you suitable for the position, especially if you have little relevant experience. List out examples of your achievements using the related skills you’ve developed.
If you are using a chronological structure, next will be your work experience, starting with the most current/recent position. Ensure that you note the following when listing out your work history for each job; the job title; when you left the position; the company’s name and address; and the dates of employment. For each job listed, briefly describe your duties and achievements.
The next section on your resumé is education. This includes any training, courses, or seminars relevant to the position. This section should reflect your degree or other qualification obtained, the educational institution, and your graduating year. If you are currently working towards obtaining a degree or other designation, you may include this and note that it is in progress. Similar to your work experience, start with the program of your most recent graduation and list others accordingly.
It is usually advised that you keep your resumé simple, and brief. A resumé is to help you secure an interview with a recruiter. Including your entire work history is unnecessary. Extensive detail about your skills, expertise, and knowledge is best saved for your interview. Simply focus on your main strengths and make the resumé easy to read.
Customize each resumé
Each time you apply for a position, customize your resumé to target the job’s and company’s specific requirements. In other words, do not use a one-size-fits-all approach. When reviewing a job posting, it is common for essential skills and requirements to be listed first, often in bullet points. Review the points and mention your corresponding skills and experience in your resumé. The only time you may use a general resumé is when applying for an unposted job or applying to a company that isn’t advertising that they are hiring.
Follow application instructions
You must follow the application instructions exactly as the employer requests. Employers often disregard applications submitted without following instructions, such as sending the application by fax when they specifically requested applications be submitted by email. Also, the job posting usually specifies the format of the documents required, but if it doesn’t, the two most common options are “.pdf or .doc”. Employers can open these two document file types by most software available.
Many companies use automated software to complete an initial review of resumes. This software looks for specific keywords, usually related to words used in the job posting. Adding these keywords can help your resumé pass through the initial screening. In other words, focus on words that the employer used in the job posting about specific skills, technical abilities, characteristics, or knowledge. Include these keywords in your professional summary, work experience, and relevant skills sections.
It is unnecessary to include age, gender, marital status, religion, cultural background, or any other identifying labels in a Canadian style resumé. Leave out any photos and avoid personal pronouns. Also, avoid including hobbies or interests unless they specifically relate to the job.
Provide specific information
When writing your professional summary, skills section, work experience, and other relevant parts of your resumé, provide specific information and avoid ambiguity. A resumé highlights your best achievements, so state each in clear terms. When providing examples, be honest, as the recruiter may complete a reference check to confirm your information.
Use a cover letter
While your resumé is better kept simple and brief, use a cover letter to expand on your skills and experience. A cover letter is an opportunity to elaborate on your strengths and provide context to your resume. Including a cover letter is a good idea for any application, as it gives the recruiter the chance to know you better. More so, many recruiters use an applicant’s cover letter to evaluate their attention to detail, ability to communicate effectively, and skill level at organizing their thoughts.