Writing a Canadian Resume: Formatting Tips & Examples

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: May 23, 2024

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The Canadian government wants to welcome half a million new immigrants by 2025 to address a labor shortage, particularly skilled workers. With a highly educated workforce, an increasing number of enticing job opportunities and over 100 pathways for foreign job seekers, you need a professional Canadian resume to find the right opportunity.

The start of your career in the great white north begins with your perfect Canadian resume format. But, is a Canadian style resume any different from its American counterpart?

This guide has the answers for the essential elements of a Canadian style resume, plus tips and examples to build a Canadian resume and land the life-changing opportunity you’re seeking.

Canadian Resume Examples for Top Jobs

Start by checking out these Canadian resume examples:

Accountant Resume Template 1 Administrative Assistant Resume Template 1 Nurse Practitioner Resume Template

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What to include in a Canadian resume

A Canadian resume is almost identical to an American resume. And, when it comes to how to make a resume, you must start with the basics: choosing a Canadian resume format. This will help you determine how to list your information. 

Pick a format according to your years of experience:

Then, find a resume template. The template can show your personality and creativity with a bold resume font and a hint of color. Yet, its most important job is to clearly present your credentials. When in doubt, pick a simple resume template to present your professional history. 

Your Canadian style resume will then be divided into these five sections:

1. Resume header

Show your professionalism from the start with a bold header. The header will have your name and contact information, including phone number and email. You can also include your professional website, digital portfolio, GitHub, or networking profile. 

2. Professional statement

This is your elevator pitch. If the employer only read this section, what would you like them to know about you? Study the Canadian resume samples above to get an idea of how to present yourself. 

Use a career summary if you already have experience in the industry. Include your years of experience, strongest skill and an important accomplishment. 

For example:

Results-oriented software developer with four years of experience in developing and maintaining high-quality applications. Proven ability to handle all aspects of the software development life cycle, from requirements gathering to deployment. Seeking a challenging role at a progressive company in Canada where I can leverage my expertise and agile development practices to make a significant impact.

If you’re starting a career, use a resume objective. It focuses on what you bring to the table, even without experience, and your short-term career goal for this role. 

For example:

Highly motivated and adaptable programmer with a strong foundation in [programming languages] eager to leverage my skills and passion for learning to contribute to a dynamic team in the vibrant Canadian tech scene.

3. Your professional history

Beyond showing where you have worked, your work experience sections bring to light what you bring to the role. 

To write your work experience, include your title, the employer, location and dates you worked. Under each role, add three bullet points with your quantifiable achievements. Combine your work accomplishments with action verbs to make a stronger impact. 

Tailor the bullet points to the position using the job description and keep each bullet point consistent between two and three lines. For example:

 

Physiotherapist
June 2021- Current
Central Hospital New Cityland, CA

  • Increased patient satisfaction scores by 25% by implementing new treatment techniques and individualized care plans.
  • Successfully treated over 100 patients with chronic back pain, resulting in a 75% reduction in pain and improved mobility.
  • Developed and delivered a series of patient education workshops on injury prevention and management, resulting in a 30% reduction in re-injury rates.

Concerned about writing a resume with no experience? According to Arrive, a Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) platform, volunteering can be included as a work experience in Canada. The experience should be relevant to the position you are applying for; for example, volunteering as a web developer for a non-profit organization when you’re applying for a programmer position. If it is not relevant to the role, include those experiences in an optional volunteer section. 

4. Skills

Employers seek candidates with the top resume skills for their industry. Their ideal candidate will perform their job and be a great team player for their department. The skills section will show the manager what you bring to the table. Create a balanced Canadian style resume skills section by including hard and soft skills.

Hard skills show the employer what you can do in the role: your software expertise, your impressive organizational management and your mathematical skills, among others.

Soft skills, like interpersonal skills, conflict management and time management, among others, show the employer how you work as a candidate and how you work within the team. Soft skills shine in your work history achievements — for example, finishing projects in a timely manner or supervising a group — so don’t forget to also include them in your skills section. 

Hard skills

  • Data analytics
  • AI intelligence proficiency
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital communications
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Programming languages
  • Project management
  • Organizational development
  • Sales
  • Customer centricity

Soft skills

  • Cross-cultural competence 
  •  Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) Awareness
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Adaptability
  • Continuous learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Creativity

5. Education

This is the last section of a Canadian resume. Start with your highest level of education and include relevant coursework and awards. If you’re still completing your education, include it and add “In progress” or the expected completion date. You should also include any courses and training relevant to the position and company. 

Education
Criminology, Law and Society
Honours Bachelor of Arts, University of Toronto, June 2023

 

6. Bonus: Additional sections

These sections are the cherry on top. If more than one candidate meets the requirements, including more information about yourself can help you stand out. 

  • Volunteering — Demonstrates skills, commitment, community involvement, fills employment gaps, and reflects personal values. Choose relevant and meaningful experiences.
  • Hobbies — Provide insight into your personality, interests, and skills that may be applicable to the job, showcasing a well-rounded candidate.
  • Awards — Highlighting your distinctions show your potential value to the company.
  • Memberships — Your commitment to the industry, its value, ethics and community are a must for employers. 
  • Foreign languages with your level of proficiency — With more than 8 million immigrants from all over the world living in Canada, including foreign languages can show your ability to communicate with the diverse community. 

Remember to always tailor these sections to the employer’s culture and needs. 

Does your resume pass the ATS resume check? Our ATS resume scanner can provide feedback on 30 common resume issues. Upload your resume or build a new one and try it out. 

Modify your US resume for a Canadian job

If you already have a U.S. resume, there is no need to start from scratch. With these few steps, you can transform your document into a bonafide Canadian resume. 

  • Use the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials to find the Canadian equivalency for your educational, work and professional credentials. This step does not guarantee employment, it just moves the process along. 
  • Opt for a chronological format and keep the same sections as your U.S. resume. Also, use Canadian terminology and spelling to highlight your familiarity with the country and how it communicates. 
  • Consider localizing your resume: If you have the opportunity, consider tailoring your resume to the specific region or province in Canada where you are applying. Different regions may have different preferences or requirements, so it can be beneficial to customize your resume accordingly.

Modify your Canadian resume to the U.S. job market

Adapting your Canadian resume to the U.S. job market can increase your chances of securing employment.  Once you’re ready, follow our guide on how to write a resume to improve your resume and find the right position for your move. 

  • Use US terminology and spelling in your resume. For example, use "zip code" instead of "postal code" and "neighborhood" instead of "neighbourhood," as well as using the MM/DD/YY date format. 
  • Include your work authorization status. If you require work authorization to work in the US, make sure to include your work authorization status in your resume. This will help employers understand your eligibility to work in the US.
  • Opt for a resume font and template that are both ATS-friendly, enabling the application tracking system to effectively process and analyze your resume. 

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Tips to write a Canadian resume

  • Choose a resume format according to your career stage.
  • Use standard formatting for a professional resume: 1.5-inch margins, 10-12 font size for your content and 12-14 font size for your heading. 
  • Use the job description as a guide to customize the information on your resume. 
  • Include resume keywords throughout your document to catch the hiring manager’s attention. 
  • Proofread and check grammar with the help of spell-checkers and other eyes. 
  • Tailor your resume for every job application. You can keep the same formatting, but change the keywords and adapt your achievements to each role. 
  • Keep your resume to one or two pages. 
  • Avoid: 
    • Photos
    • Unprofessional email addresses
    • Using pronouns (i.e. “I developed” or “I built”)
  • Include a cover letter to complete an application and connect with employers on a human level. 

Resources for your Canadian resume

FAQ

Key takeaways

  • A Canadian resume is the same as an American resume. In the Quebec province, resumes and CVs can be used interchangeably.
  • The first step to creating your perfect Canadian resume is choosing the right format for your career stage. 
  • Tailoring your Canadian resume to its intended use will showcase your experiences in the best light.
  • Your Canadian resume must include a professional summary as an introduction, your work history and a skills section tailored to the role.
  • A Canadian resume format includes the certifications under the education section, unlike its American counterpart. 
  • Use a clear and easy-to-read font, and make sure your formatting is consistent throughout your resume.
  • Avoid using personal pronouns (such as "I" or "me") and focus on presenting your accomplishments in a professional and objective way.
  • Use Canadian spelling and terminology to showcase your familiarity with the country and complete your Canadian resume. 
  • Proofread your Canadian resume. Use spell-checkers, online tools and another pair of trusted eyes.

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