7 easy steps to a Canadian-style resume

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You will need a resume to be considered for a job. You have two main goals when making one:

  1. Highlight your experience, qualifications and skills to show that they fit the recruiter’s requirements.
  2. Make it so compelling that they invite you for an interview.

A Canadian-style resume might have a different format compared to what you are used to in your country. Canadian resumes:

  • are targeted. They are tailored to fit the requirements listed on the job ad.
  • use keywords relevant to the job/industry. Most employers use applicant tracking systems or recruiting software to filter candidate resumes.
  • avoid information that can be grounds for discrimination. It should not include information like gender, age, religion, nationality, marital status or race.

7 steps to a Canadian-style resume:

  1. Create a Master Resume

    This is a catch-all file that has all your job experiences, qualifications, education, and trainings in chronological order. Having a master file will make it easier for you to sift through your relevant skills and qualifications every time you apply. Just “Save As” each time you make a new version. In Canada, you have to customize your resume for each job ad. Never send one general resume to every application.

  2. Start with your Contact Details

    The required information are the following: Your name, Address, Telephone Number/s, and Email Address/es. You may also add your website address or links to social media accounts if you have them. This is placed at the top of the page. Don’t include a picture of yourself unless the recruiter requested for one.

  3. Make a Professional Summary

    This is composed of three to five sentences that summarize your strengths and core competencies. It answers the question “Who am I?” The first statement should pertain to your job title and years of experience. For example: “Sales Specialist with eight years of experience in direct sales”. You can add a statement that highlights your top skills such as: “with proven skills in lead generation and communicating with people from varied cultural backgrounds”. This is also where you can mention your technical skills if they are related to the requirements of the job ad, like “Knowledge in Python and C++ programming languages”.

  4. Your Job Experience

    This is the most important part of your resume. You will need to go back to the job ad. Read and analyze the job description, qualifications and responsibilities. Underline or highlight essential responsibilities and skills required. Take note of the relevant keywords used in the ad. Use these when describing your job experience in your resume.

    • Use a reverse chronological format. Start with your most recent position going back to your earliest job. Limit your list to jobs you’ve had in the last 10 years. This line should include: Your job title, name of company, location and dates of service (month and year).
      Example: Intern Architect, Atelier School of Architecture (Barcelona, Spain) January 2014 – April 2017
    • Use achievement-oriented statements. Describe your job experience or responsibilities in bullet-points. Recruiters skim, not read so short descriptions would be easier to understand. Follow the format: Action – benefit or result. For example: “Organized sales campaigns helping the company hit $300 million in sales”. As much as possible, indicate figures when talking about sales, goals or targets.
    • Use the keywords used in the job ad. Remember to mirror the most important job responsibilities mentioned in the ad in this section.
    • Volunteer experience. You can include your volunteer experience (label it as such) especially if the responsibilities and skills you learned from the position connects with those in the job ad.
  5. Education

    List down your degrees in a separate section. You can also include relevant seminars and trainings. It should indicate your degree, school/educational institution, and year graduated in reverse chronological order (the latest relevant degree you finished is listed first). Also mention if you received special awards and honours (optional).

  6. Some do’s and don’ts


    • Make it short and simple. Your resume should be one to two pages only. It should be clear and easy to understand. Use a simple format and professional-looking font (for example: Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman at 11-12 points).
    • Be consistent. Use the same format and design elements all throughout the document. This will make it look clean and orderly. It will also be easier to understand.
    • Use white space. Observe proper spacing. Use bigger spaces between sections to differentiate each one.
    • Use common software. Recruiters usually mention the document format they prefer. The most common are .doc or .docx or pdf. Follow this to ensure that the recruiter (or their system) will be able to open and read your resume.


    • Don’t write “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. The interviewer will ask for the list when needed.
    • No graphics. Don’t put tables, graphs or photos. These can be rejected by applicant tracking systems.
    • English is required. But don’t include your IELTS or CLB scores. Recruiters will have no use for them.
    • Outdated skills. Don’t list down “Knowledge of Microsoft Word” or “Typing skills”. It is assumed that everyone knows how to use basic word processing software and can type on a computer.
  7. Proofread

    Proofreading is essential before submitting your resume. You should do this several times or with the help of a friend or mentor. Imagine if a single misspelled word ruins your chance at your dream job? That would be heartbreaking! So make sure that you check out every detail and be as meticulous as you can.

    For additional tips on proofreading, read 5 last minute resume checks.

Article updated November 28, 2023.

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Community Resources

Also read: 5 tips to tailor and update your resume.

Resume writing is part of Manitoba Start’s skills workshops.

If you need more help on crafting a resume, attend employment seminars or ask the help of a career counsellor from the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centre nearest you.

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