Application advice for Canada

Key differences from UK CV's and covering letters

  • Résumé/CV/curriculum vitae as terms are often used interchangeably in Canada though sometimes the term CV is reserved for academic CVs.
  • You do not need to include a passport photograph or personal details such as marital status.
  • You may be required to accompany your résumé with a French version if submitting applications in the French quarter.
  • More status is placed on awards and certificates received during a candidate’s Education history. 
  • Spelling should be in Canadian English/French.
  • Covering letters follow a similar style and format to UK covering letters and are considered a traditional means of introduction.

These are generic guidelines - companies may have their own requirements for CVs (such as email with no attachment, etc) so it is important to always pay attention to company requests. Remember that you should always tailor your CV for specific requirements from companies.

Cover letters

In the covering letter, the candidate should refer to his or her relevant qualities for the open position and communicate interest and motivation. Typically, the covering letter is broken down into four main sections. If possible, try to address the letter to an individual rather than “Sir/Madam”. The letter should open with a small introduction and a few sentences to establish the purpose and intent of the letter.  The second and third paragraphs  should generate interest with indications that the candidate has researched the company and how this matches their background skills set. Finally, the closing paragraph should indicate the details for follow-up (such as details for future contact) and a thank you to the employer for their consideration.

Résumés/ CVs (these terms are often used interchangeably in Canada)

There are no rigid rules for the structure and format of a résumé but here are some guidelines; remember it should be one or two (maximum) pages long.

Personal information should be included at the topName, address, telephone and email information. Personal details such as gender and date of birth, or a passport photography are not required unless specified. 

Professional ObjectiveA statement of career objectives should follow.

Summary of StrengthsThis section is optional but outlining two or three main key skills and strengths at the beginning of the résumé/CV ,and a summary of how you have developed these, can help tailor it for different applications.

Education - Canadian résumés look for a summary of qualifications from recent graduates rather than a detailed outline of what skills have been achieved.  In reverse chronological order, list the institution, dates of attendance, location and qualification achieved with the final grade.

Accomplishments and Awards - Underneath the Education section should be listed any scholarships, awards or academic achievements with the date and awarding body supplied in reverse chronological order.  A summary of the reason and content of the award should also be included.

Professional Experience - Positions held should be listed in reverse-chronological order. These listings should include the name and location of the company, its field and focus, dates of employment, title(s), and major responsibilities and accomplishments. Information that is relevant to the position being sought and shows career development should be emphasized.  This information should be presented, clearly, concisely and in bullet point format. Any gaps in work history should be explained.

Voluntary Experience - In a similar format to the Professional Experience section, any relevant voluntary experience or those that contain key transferable skills should be outlined here.

Language Skills - Language proficiency in English, French and any other languages should be stated here and be supported by qualifications or other forms of certified recognition. 

Other Skills/Qualifications - The candidate’s knowledge of any special computer languages and programs sho

References - The last item on the résumé. If responding to a job advertisement that asks for references, they should be included. Otherwise, the résumé may state “References available on request.” Alternatively, all mention of references may be left off the résumé and clarified later.uld be included. Membership in and activities with relevant professional groups may be of interest to the employer, as well as some personal interests.