Kari Karlsbjerg's "Canadian Employment Culture" column reports every Wednesday (local time) in the Korea IT Times. The four-part coverage of the serial column for 'Month Three' is as follows.
1. What to Expect: Job Hunting in Canada
2. Preparing a Canadian Style Resume
3. Cover Letters Canadian Style
4. Show Don’t Tell:Provide examples of your work
Understanding an Overview of the Process
With this series, we hope to provide the specific information required for Korean IT professionals considering making the move to Canada and helping them feel fully prepared for working in a new land.
In the last few articles, we profiled many places to find high quality IT job postings in Canada. In addition, we stressed the importance of creating a LinkedIn profile before beginning to look for work in North America.
Now, over the next four weeks, we will orient you to the job-hunting process in Canada as it is substantially different from Korea, especially in the style, format, and content of career documents required. Over the next four weeks, we will describe:
Although employers in both Canada and Korea require career documents that detail your past work experience and education, the format, content, and tone of resumes and cover letters are not as strictly standardized in Canada.
In addition, when possible, employers often seek additional documentation that further proves your skills in the form of an online portfolio or code repository. Over the next four weeks, we will describe in some detail the North American style of career documentation required for your successful job search.
When reading our articles about the job-hunting documentation, you will notice that the differences in required format and content reveal a core underlying belief common in the North American IT industry that where you were educated is not nearly as important as what you are able to produce. For many years, and especially in the IT field, where someone went to college now plays a much more minor role in hiring.
Kris Stadelman, director of the NOVA Workforce Investment Board in Silicon Valley explains how hiring criteria have changed. “Employers are interested in what skills you bring and how these skills can be used in their business,” she says.
In another NOVA study, tech employers shared that mastery of current technologies is the most critical factor in their hiring decisions, and few of them even mentioned college degrees as a factor. Stadelman explained that ”in the tech industry, employers want to see skills applications rather than just traditional resumes. Show, don’t tell.”
As a result of this prioritization of demonstrated skills and abilities over education status, the style content of your resume and cover letter is designed to let your hard-earned experience and accomplishments shine.
Kari Karlsbjerg and Elaine Chu are authors of the best-selling bilingual guidebook, Everyday Vancouver, which contains all the practical cultural information and resources Korean newcomers need for life in Vancouver, Canada.