Resume Writing in Canada: Formats, Tips, and How To Be Successful

While having a resume, regardless of what type it is, is always going to be beneficial when relocating to a new country, you will be more successful when your resume reflects one of the common resume types that employers see in that country. This being said, it’s important to present potential employers with a Canadian-style resume when entering the Canadian job market. 

Resumes in Canada come in a variety of formats, but the two most popular are the functional and chronological resume. In addition, Canadian employers expect to see certain details on your resume — all of which we’re going to discuss more in-depth so that you can gain a solid understanding of the expectations employers have in this vast country. 

Common Resume Formats in Canada


Functional resumes are skill-based. They’re ideal for anyone who’s skilled in a trade or who has a lot of experience in a particular industry. They’re used to showcase your experience and skills in certain areas. For example, if you’ve gone to school and have earned a degree for plumbing or metalwork, a functional resume would be used to display your relevant schooling, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and any odd jobs that you’ve completed that are relevant to the trade. 

Additionally, functional resumes are also a good option for those with large gaps in employment or who have just graduated from a post-secondary institution. Many people who are changing careers also make use of functional resumes, as they’ve likely gained a lot of experience in their previous industry that can transfer to whatever industry they’re switching into. 


Chronological resumes are time-based. This means that they’re organized based on positions you’ve held and the passage of time. Your most recent position is positioned at the top of your resume so that employers see it first.  

This type of resume is perfect if you’re someone who hasn’t had many jobs, or who has changed industries frequently. In some cases, they can also be a good option for people who have had plenty of jobs and who have spent most of their time working, with very few gaps in which they weren’t employed. 

Chronological resumes go top to bottom, starting with your most recent job and going back in time as far as you wish to go. If you’ve done a lot of switching careers and have worked at a large number of places, you don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever had. 

Resume Writing Tips

Writing resumes can be daunting — that’s why I’ve included this section. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can utilize when building your resume that will not only make the process easier but can also increase the likelihood of you landing a job. 

Adapt Your Resume to Each Position 

Career experts around the country recommend customizing your resume for the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to a customer service role, you’ll want to tailor the information on your resume to best showcase your customer service experience and qualifications. 

Now, this isn’t to say that you want to fabricate information to suit a position. On the contrary, this means that you should take a look at your job history and pick and choose which relevant jobs to include on your resume. Do the same when it comes to listing your skills, qualifications, and training — only include information that is relevant to the job posting. 

General resumes can still be used. However, they’re best for applying to companies that don’t have an open posting. You’d give a general resume to the manager of a store that you frequently visit if there were no active job postings there but you were interested in a position. You’d give the same manager a tailored, targeted resume if there was an active position that the manager was looking to fill. 

Keep Your Resume Concise

Hiring managers receive a lot of resumes. This being said, one great way to ensure that your resume is successful in the Canadian job market is by keeping it concise and short. Resumes should be limited to one page in length as a general rule of thumb. 

This length lets employers quickly find and take in the important information on your resume, as well as entices them to take a deeper look. Why? It’s simple — long resumes look daunting and are less likely to be thoroughly read or even considered at all. 

Include Volunteer Positions

Volunteer work is a great thing to include on your resume. Not only does it fill employment gaps, but it also gives potential employers the impression that you’re hard working and have a good work ethic. In addition, volunteer work is a good way to gain experience in a variety of fields, as there are volunteer opportunities across an array of industries at any given time. 

If your volunteer work is related to a potential job, showcasing the experience on your resume will work in your favor. This is especially true if you don’t have any working, paid experience in the field you’re looking to enter into, as your related volunteer work shows some level of existing experience. 

Format Using Appropriate Headings 

The same way that long resumes are daunting, so are resumes that aren’t formatted correctly. An easy way to ensure good formatting is by making use of subheadings, which serve to break up walls of text and to shed light on important sections of your resume. 

A resume that doesn’t include appropriate and clear subheadings can look cluttered and disorganized, which can lead to key information being glossed over or missed entirely by potential employers.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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