Kari Karlsbjerg's "Canadian Employment Culture" column reports every Wednesday (local time) in the Korea IT Times.
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
Canadian resume content must abide by strict Employment Standards Codes that prevent employers from discriminating who they hire based on age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, religion, appearance, marital status and so on.
A standard Canadian resume contains no personal information, not even a photograph. The resume only lists information related to work skills, education and career background. Furthermore, the resume must not contain any information about family members, marital status or health. This lack of any personal information is certainly one of the biggest differences in resume styles.
Another difference is the format of the resume. While most Canadian resumes follow a standard order of information, they are not formatted like Korean resumes in a table style. The work experience section is always the largest section of the resume with the most details. However, any information about the reasons for leaving past positions are never included on resumes.
Here are the 3 major sections of a standard Canadian resume:
This is the first section of the resume and it lists your key hard and soft skills in a bulleted list to give the employer an overview of the abilities that you would bring to the job. Hard skills are the specific technical abilities related to your profession such as programming languages that you are expert in or management experience supervising staff and so on. Soft skills are the very important communicative skills and character traits that you have. Usually, a profile will have approximately four bullets describing hard skills and 3 describing the soft skills.
This section simply lists your completed certificates, diplomas and degrees, the date completed and the name of the institution. No other detail is given or required in terms of GPA or specific course names. Also, for adult job-hunters, it is only necessary to include post-secondary education and never information about earlier education such as high school.
Prospective employers expect detailed information here about projects you have worked on and the accomplishments you have achieved on the job. Underneath your position, name of the company and the dates you worked there, you need to include several accomplishment statements — also called action statements- that clearly describe what you achieved while working there. When writing these, use action verbs and quantitative measurements when possible. Here are two examples:
• Designed dozens of software solutions driving continuous improvement to processes, systems, workflow and customer responsiveness.
• Mentored development teams in Agile SDLC and RAD best practices. Ensured the release of premium-quality applications that provided intuitive and secure experiences for users.
A search on Google for “sample IT professional resumes” will give you hundreds of examples that you can use to model your resume in the appropriate style for job-hunting in Canada. Finally, make sure that your resume includes a reference to your LinkedIn profile URL for the recruiting team’s review.
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.