How to Write a CV for the Canadian Job Market

You may have already seen our article Job Opportunities in Canada 2018 released a couple of weeks ago.

If you haven’t read it – you should consider reading it.  it contains very recent information about the current situation regarding work in Canada in 2018.

The gist of it was quite optimistic indeed, showing high salaries, low unemployment rate, and a steady climb in immigrant hiring rates over the last 5 years.

It also lists professions which are in high demand in Canada.

That’s all great news for our friend – the immigration candidate.

But how do you get that coveted job in Canada?  How do you get a chance at that dream job opportunity?

This article will discuss the Canada CV standard and give  you some important tips for an impressively professional CV.


What is the CV for?

This may seem like a silly question.  Everyone knows what a CV is for – you use it to apply for jobs in Canada (and the world).  But have you ever really given it much thought?

Yes, the interview holds much more weight than your CV when an employer is hiring.

Additionally, it is very common for an employer – being busy with the task of running a business – to forget what your CV said after you’ve been hired.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can “phone it in” on the CV stage.

The purpose of your CV is a very simple one – to get you in the room for a job interview.  The CV (or resume) – is your very first meeting with the business you’re applying for.

It is your first conversation with your potential employer.

What do you need to tell them?

Your CV is supposed to make you stand out among all other candidates and make the potential employer believe that you could be a valuable addition to the company.

HR managers will often have hundreds (or more) CV files to sift through while they select the ones that stand out, and they have very little time to complete this task.

With so little time for each CV, it’s no wonder they usually spend no more than 20-30 seconds on their initial browsing of each CV.

So let’s see what it takes to make your CV jump out of the “no” pile.


Finding work in Canada can be so much easier!

If you want the job hunting process to be much easier, you don’t have to read this whole article.

You just need to read this section.  Everything after that is only for people who insist on doing it the hard way.

So: you’re trying to turn your life around.  You’re trying to get a new country to embrace you as one of its own, which isn’t easy at all.

Until Canada takes you in, your life at home continues as usual.  So you have to keep your everyday life going while you work on your immigration process.

Besides English tests, collecting documents, barrister appointments, searching for a new home and many other arrangements, you also have to find a job in another country on your own, and keep your current job at home (or get a job at home, if you don’t currently have one).

If you can manage to do all that – you’re a superhero and an inspiration.  We don’t know anyone who managed to do it all alone.

Why should you have to go through all that by yourself?  The most important advice I could give you is get help.

We know how hard it can get. We have so many clients who went through the same thing, before they realized they don’t have to do it all alone.

This is what we do – we make it so much easier for you.  Aside from help with the entire process, when it comes to finding work we help our clients find work near their new home in Canada.

We rewrite  our clients’ CVs to match Canadian standards.  We give you peace of mind and help you carry on as usual while you make your future better.

Ready to start now?  Click here.

Still feel you want to try this on your own? You can use the rest of this article for information.


The 10 Commandments of Your Professional Canada CV

These rules apply to the CV you should use when looking for work in Canada.  Maintain these rules every time you write and send CVs to Canadian employers.

  1. Don’t lie.  This is a very important rule.  Have pride in your achievements and abilities, but don’t embellish.  Unless you believe you can stand up to the test when they ask you about it.
  2. Don’t poke out the reader’s eyes. Use a clear, professional font no smaller than 11 points.
  3. Don’t use first person terms such as “I”, “me” or “my”.
  4. Keep it to 2 pages maximum. If you have over 10 years’ experience and need a third page – edit and cut some parts.
  5. Create a CV suited to the position you’re applying for.
  6. Make it a quick and interesting read.
  7. Don’t attach a photo.  It’s customary in some countries, but in the case of jobs in Canada, this can detrimental.  They won’t hire you even though you’re very pretty.
  8. Don’t list references in your CV, but be prepared to offer names and numbers for references during the job interview.
  9. Use a professional email address with your name in it, and no slang terms.  Don’t use foreign domains such as or
  10. Write reverse-chronologically – your latest position first, going back to your earlier ones.


11. Don’t call me Moses…


A Recipe for An Impressive Canadian CV

A good CV contains 4 major ingredients:

  1. Contact Information

This is pretty straightforward.  Your physical address, your phone number, your email address.

Don’t include anything else;  Not your date of birth, age, country of origin, gender, or anything else you might consider adding.

Providing a Canadian address and a Canadian cell phone number would be a great contribution to your chances of getting an interview.

2. Education Information

This is the section where you describe your education history.

Start your education history in high school.  And add details of any certificates, degrees and diplomas you have.

If you’re young and have never had a job, your page might feel a little blank.

Highlight academic achievements or awards you may have won to increase the impression of value and substance.

Don’t forget to leave your employment history plenty of room to be the star of this document.

No employment history yet?  feel like your page is too blank?  Don’t worry!  Plenty of positions are classified as “entry level”.


No one was born employed, you know!


3. Work history

This might appear self explanatory, but many people don’t know the basic tenets of this significant part of your CV.

Let’s begin with the youngsters.  Those of you who have not had your first job yet.

As you read in the previous section – you can relax and apply for entry level positions.  Don’t hesitate to apply for higher level positions, if you believe you have what it takes.  The worst that could happen is you won’t be called in for an interview.

You can also use other skills and abilities to add substance to your page.

Your page still feels too blank?  Don’t worry about it.  No one was born employed, and this is the reason many positions are called “entry positions”.

Now for our experienced friends.  Aside from adding extra points to your immigration profile, work experience is worth points when looking for a job as well.

When describing your experience, remember our 10 commandments. Keep it short. Use 3-4 bullet points for each job you had.

Use specific terms describing what you actually did, rather than what your general purpose was at the company.

Highlight key achievements and accomplishments over actual actions.  think about it in terms of a specific problem or need you identified, the actions you took to solve the issue, and the final result.  When writing it, don’t forget this may lead to an interview and follow-up questions. Think about how this affected the previous employer and would have happened had you not taken action in preparation to discuss it further.

Focus on elements of your previous jobs that are relevant to the position you’re currently hunting for – match the bate to the fish, don’t just toss in a generic worm hoping you get a bite.

Tip: if you’re not sure if you should add a certain piece of information, ask yourself “so what?”.  If your answer to the question makes you seem more professional or more suitable for the position you’re after, keep it.  if you can’t find a good answer – cut it.

 4. Extra skills and abilities

This is a short part where you can inform your potential employer of anything you think might make you a better candidate for the position.  A driver’s license, extra languages, computer applications you may have mastered – whatever you feel could contribute – goes here.

When you apply for a job in Canada, the general rule states that you shouldn’t add your hobbies and interests to your CV.  You should adhere to this rule in most cases.

However, you can even use your hobbies in this section if it seems appropriate for the position.

For example, a position that is administrative in nature, but it’s for a frozen foods company.  It can’t hurt if you add that cooking class you attend every week.

Let’s try our tip.  So what?

You could respond with: “So I have an inherent passion for working with food.  I also have experience in working with food in general and with frozen food in particular.

I enjoy discussing it and coming up with new ideas and ways to use it, as well as finding creative ways to solve food-related issues.”

Of course, if you take a tennis class instead, you might need to get a little more creative to get that in.


It’s food for some people I suppose…

It’s important to remember our first “commandment”.

If you can’t ride a horse, don’t put it under “hobbies”, even when there’s no chance the position you’re applying for would test you on the hobby or skill you don’t have.

It’s not unusual for an employer to choose a candidate based on an interesting hobby.

Suddenly you find yourself sitting at the interview as the interviewer says “Oh, you ride horses every Wednesday?  Great! My daughter rides on Wednesdays too, I’ll tell her to look for you next week!” or “You take baking lessons every Monday?  I want to join, where do I sign up?”


Professional summary

This is not one of our 4 CV ingredients, but it goes hand-in-hand with your CV.  It’s your appetizer, if you will.

a shortened resume that helps your reader understand your goals and what you can contribute to their company.

You can keep it very short – no more than 1 paragraph of about 4 sentences.  Start by defining your goal and the title of the position you’re interested in.

Tell them what your role is – don’t expect your reader to glean that from your text.  If you’re interested in more than 1 role, create a separate CV for each.

Tell them how you differ from other candidates and what special talents you have.  Tell them how many years of relevant experience you have and where you aspire to end up.

Don’t use generic descriptions (such as honest, hard working, etc).

I’m writing my CV for my new job in Canada! 🙂
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