How to Tailor your Resume for Canadian Companies
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Being a newcomer can be intimidating, knowing that English is not your native language, or that a potential employer won’t recognize your university or work experience right away.
Remember that your resume is a story and the goal is to tell that story in a way that is engaging, crisp, coloured with context and data - an elevator pitch if you will.
What starts off as a blank page can soon be filled with personality, stories and numbers. Sounds hard? Here’s some inspiration to get you started -
1. Research the company
Before you think about crafting your resume, it’s a good idea to research prospective employers. You’ll want to figure out precisely what they’re looking for in an employee. Start with their website to check their mission and values section, then dive into the job descriptions.
You may also want to look into the experiences of current or previous employees. What were the perks of working at this particular company? What were the downsides? How much did they pay?
The more thorough your research, the easier it will be to tailor your resume to the specific job requirements.
To get started, you might want to check out:
Glassdoor (where you can find information about salary and reviews written by employees - remember that these can sometimes skew negative, as disgruntled former employees often use this platform)
Yelp (where you can also find reviews) and
LinkedIn (where you can track down further information about each prospective employer, and the key people on their team)
2. Update your LinkedIn profile
The first thing companies do is check out your profile on LinkedIn So before you start applying to jobs, get cracking on that LinkedIn profile!
Don’t forget to add an “about me” section -- people respond to authenticity and companies are becoming more and more interested in the person they will be bringing on board and how they will add to the culture vs just your achievements.
The picture on your profile is more important than you may realize. Employers tend to be looking for warm friendly people for their team, so invest a little time in snapping a current picture of your natural, smiling face.
3. Contact details up front
Information such as name, city, phone number, email address should be the top of your resume so companies know how to reach you.
Don’t hide who you are, your name might be difficult for someone who isn’t familiar with it but it connects you to your roots and you should be proud of where you come from -- if people can say Timothy Chalamet and Cara Delevigne they can absolutely learn to say your name :).
Make sure your email address is work appropriate, ideally first name.last firstname.lastname@example.org
While in other places it may be customary, in Canada we do not list birthdate, marital status, or any other more personal details on a resume.
4. Employment history - Context is key!
Add your employment history in reverse chronological order -- use Canadian job titles so the translation is easier. A potential employer might not recognize your company but referring to Zomato as the Ubereats of India that has gone through Y ARR growth while you were there and built out a global presence or Go1 - an eLearning startup for the workforce that has changed the face of digital learning in South Africa; helps paint a clearer picture.
Hiring managers often see hundreds of resumes for the same role and don’t always have time to look up companies they’re unfamiliar with so the more context the better.
5. Don’t be afraid to use data!
Data speaks louder than words -- use stats as much as possible, talk about growth (ARR, headcount), talk about team sizes you’ve managed, talk about transformation you’ve been part of and if there are awards or lists (like Deloitte Fast 50) the company has been part of add that in. If you’re torn between using a data point or a long sentence that tells a story, choose the data point.
6. Educational background
Again, data serves you well here - include your GPA, any honors and awards, Dean’s list etc. And if your University has received any accolades add that on as well.
Additional skills you possess, such as knowledge of coding languages, programs, etc.
My coders and engineers, get those beautiful languages on there!
Add in any certifications or globally recognized courses you may have done.
7. Keep it real!
If you’re in the mood you can also add a one liner about things that you enjoy doing - biking, puzzles, keeping plants alive. You’re a whole person and not just a list of your experiences, and sometimes an interesting hobby is enough to set you apart.
8. Keep it clean, keep it consistent
Keep it clean and simple, have headers and maintain consistency across font sizes as you dive into detail around each work experience - use a resume builder if that’s helpful, there’s many good ones out there. We recommend Standard Resume
9. Customize your experience for the role in mind Research the job requirements and include some of the specifics they’re looking for in your resume so that your experience is easy to match. It’s also helpful for you to get a sense of the scope of the role to see if it aligns with your career goals.
10. Try and keep it to one or two pages
And lastly, this may sound impossible but try and keep it concise. Think of it this way, the less content that’s on there, the more people will remember. If you feel like this is too big a task you can always tailor your resume for a specific role and company.