- 1 Career
- 1.1 Equivalency of qualifications
- 1.2 Networking
- 1.3 Resume (CV)
- 1.3.1 Resources
- 1.3.2 Contact Information
- 1.3.3 Objective
- 1.3.4 Profile
- 1.3.5 Professional Experience
- 1.3.6 Education
- 1.3.7 Professional Development
- 1.3.8 Memberships
- 1.3.9 Publications
- 1.3.10 Awards
- 1.3.11 Computer Skills
- 1.3.12 References
- 1.3.13 Functional resume
- 1.3.14 Volunteer positions
- 1.3.15 Omit
- 1.3.16 Formatting
- 1.3.17 Length
- 1.3.18 Submitting your resume
- 1.4 Cover Letters and Thank You Letters
Equivalency of qualifications
An early step that you should take during your relocation planning process is to establish whether or not your UK qualifications will be recognized in the Canadian province to which you intend to move.
Details are available at Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.
Your qualifications may be accepted as they are, or you may be required to take some exams before you can practice in your field in Canada.
In many cases, four-year British university degrees are recognized in Canada. Three-year degrees from the UK enjoy varying levels of acceptance. A Canadian employer often is satisfied with a three-year degree, but a Canadian university may not accept it as a basis for entering a master's degree program.
Many of the UK's non-degree educational programs, such as NVQ, are not recognized in Canada.
An experienced tradesperson (electrician, plumber, mechanic, etc.) can take a challenge exam in the relevant Canadian province and become certified in that province. The best certification process to go through is Red Seal, because it is recognized across Canada.
There are some differences in British terminology and Canadian terminology. One difference that springs to mind is the interpretation of engineer. In Canada only a degreed engineer is referred to as an engineer. People who received their engineering qualifications at technical colleges are referred to as engineering technologists or engineering technicians. The one exception to this is a train driver. The Canadian term for train driver is engineer.
What is networking?
In the private sector, there is a huge "hidden job market." The size of the hidden job market -- that is, vacancies that are not advertised -- is estimated to be between 70% and 80% of the total job market. You hear about these opportunities through people you know, that is, your network.
Networking is the process whereby you market yourself. You need to mix with people so that you can find out where the opportunities are, and you need introductions to people who have the authority to hire you.
The public sector operates somewhat differently. There the employment process tends to be more transparent. Vacancies are posted on the relevant organization's website, advertised in the newspaper, and so on. This article primarily addresses job-hunting in the private sector.
To start getting some idea of which companies operate in which industry sector, in which region, and so on, you might start by looking at the Canadian government's website on Canadian Company Capabilities. This will familiarize you with the names of some of the main players.
You may find your Canadian job through one of the above mentioned information sources, or you may not. However, the information that you can acquire from those websites will help you to feel more plugged into the Canadian system.
Networking from the UK
When you're still in the UK, it's difficult to network, because networking involves meeting people at functions, chatting with them on the phone, and so on. However, some posters on the British Expats forum have managed to pull off the feat of networking all the way from the UK. It helps if they have a qualification that is in high demand and if they are willing to go to a region that is crying out for people with specific skills. For example, some of the BE members who recently have moved to Alberta, which currently is enjoying an oil boom, fall into this category.
Doing a recce trip to Canada also helps. If you do a recce trip, it's ideal if you devote a substantial chunk of your time and energy focusing on relocation-related issues rather than simply holidaying. Seek out people who work in the field that you want to work in. Pick their brains about what it's like to work in that field.
Finding employment in Canada
It would be ideal to line up a job in Canada before you move. If you have not found a job before you arrive in Canada, you ought to have some savings to tide you over until you find employment.
Be aware that networking and job-hunting, on average, go more slowly in Canada than in the UK. Canada tends to be more laid back than the UK. If a Canadian says, "I'll get back to you," in many instances he/she will take longer to do that than you expect. You may be hoping to receive a response within a day or two, but it could be between a week and ten days (if ever).
In Canada you need to be proactive. You need to use the phone much more than you were used to doing in the UK. Even if your initial contact is in writing, you need to follow up with a phone call. Also, if someone promises to respond to you but doesn’t, you should phone. If you phone too soon, you may be viewed as pestering them. However, if you haven't heard back from them after a week or so, it would be a good idea to phone. Be friendly. Don't be aggressive or impatient. Say something like, "I'm wondering how things are going for you and how you're coming along with the position you want to fill."
An effective strategy is to ask people who work in your field to meet you for a cup of coffee so that you can pick their brains. This kind of informal meeting is known as an informational interview. You are not asking the person to consider you for a job. You are asking him/her to tell you what it's like to work in the field in which he/she works, to give you names of other people who work in that field and the names of companies that hire those kinds of people, and so on.
Whenever you can, find out the names of people who work in the departments of companies in which you would like to work. Say you're an accountant. Endeavour to find out names of people in a company's accounting department, and if possible the name of a senior person in that department. This is more useful than contacting a company's human resources department, although the HR department is alright as a fall-back position.
If you send your resume (Canadian version of CV) to someone and you're able to say in your cover letter, "So-And-So suggested I contact you," it makes a big difference. It gives you a better chance of being noticed than if you send a totally unsolicited resume.
It is extremely important to thank everyone who chats with you on the phone, who meets you, who gives you tips, etc. People who help you like to feel appreciated. They especially like to hear that the information they've given you has been put to good use. They like to hear that you've phoned So-And-So, whose name they gave you, and that that person, in turn, has given you a lead, agreed to meet you, or whatever.
Also invite constructive feedback. Tell people that you would welcome their observations about any gaps you may have -- flaws in your resume, weak spots in your qualifications that could be remedied by taking a course, etc. Listen sincerely. Don't be defensive. Thank people for their feedback.
Recognize that, unless you have very specific qualifications that are in high demand in Canada, you most likely will have to start at a more junior level than the one you had attained in the UK. Be grateful for an opportunity to learn how things are done in Canada. If you do well in that first job, you can move up the ladder.
Finding people in your field
A good way to meet people who work in your field is to attend functions of relevant professional organizations. Whether you're a lawyer or an engineer or an IT person or an administrative assistant, you can be sure there is an organization that provides opportunities for people in that field to meet each other, to keep up to date with developments in that field, etc.
Another constructive way to network is to do a course that's related to your field, even if it's just a single course. The lecturer and your classmates, all of whom work in your field or want to work in your field, become your fledgling network. In addition to that, if you're able to add a local qualification to your resume, it shows you in a positive light. It demonstrates that you are committed to making a go of things in Canada and that you are eager to learn how things are done in Canada.
Networking is forever
Your network is something that you should maintain even after you have found a job. You should devote at least some of your attention to the job that you'll have after this one. You may move jobs for what might be considered "positive" or "negative" reasons. Most people view a change that they themselves initiate as a positive one. They tend to think of a change that is forced on them as a negative one. But both the so called positive and so called negative changes provide you with opportunities to grow, to take your career in a more interesting direction, etc. In any event, you'll be in a much stronger position to manage your next move if you have maintained your network in the interim.
- Name. Type it in big bold font, so that it forms the main heading of the page. Type it as Joanne Smith or JOANNE SMITH. Do not type it as Mrs. Joanne Smith, Mr. Joanne Smith, Ms. Joanne Smith or Dr. Joanne Smith.
- Phone Number. If you still are in the UK, include the code that a Canadian has to dial to get an overseas line (011) and the country code (44 for the UK). Drop the 0 at the beginning of your area code. Use dashes to separate your phone number into groups of 3 or 4 digits, as this is the way in which Canadians are used to seeing phone numbers. If your phone number is (0777) 9393939, type it as 011-44-777-939-3939.
- E-mail address.
This is an optional, one-line statement describing the position you are seeking.
- This is an optional, brief list of the most important attributes you can bring to a job.
- Keep it to between 3 and 6 bulleted points.
- Other acceptable heading titles include Summary of Qualifications, Strengths or Attributes.
You also may call this Career History, Career Experience, or Summary of Experience.
If you have spent your whole career in the same field and if you’ve been steadily employed, your work history lends itself to being described by a chronological resume. List your jobs in reverse order. Start with your current or most recent job, and work backwards.
For each job, provide a heading and sub-headings that state
- Company Name - Type only one company name. It is confusing for the reader if you type two company names. Do not type Ace Petroleum / Stellar Oil. If you worked for a company that was bought out by another company, use the most recent company name. If you must mention both names, type Ace Petroleum and its predecessor, Stellar Oil.
- Province (if job was in Canada), State (if job was in USA), Country (if job was in UK or elsewhere)
- Position Title (provide a job title that is familiar to Canadians)
- Dates (it is preferable to provide months and years rather than just years)
- Devote the most space to your current or most recent job. You will have progressed to the most senior level of your career in that job, and it deserves the most detailed description. Keep the descriptions of your earlier, more junior jobs brief.
- If your current or most recent job is not the most senior or impressive job you can quote, your career may not lend itself to being described in a chronological resume. You may want to consider a functional resume.
- Use verbs instead of nouns whenever possible. Action words make you sound stronger. "Recruited computer programmers," has a more active ring to it than "Recruitment of computer programmers."
- Include as many quantifiable accomplishments in your work history as you can. Anything that demonstrates the size of the budget that you were responsible for, the number of people you supervised, or the number and complexity of the operations you performed, sounds concrete. For example, a person might say, "Managed a group of shelf stockers," but it would be more powerful to say, "Managed a group of twenty shelf stockers."
- If you can do so, it is even more compelling to quote improvements that you made and problems that you resolved on behalf of your employers. An effective formula to use is C-A-R. Describe the Challenge the company or department was facing, state the Action you took, and mention the Result you obtained.
- Be creative. Although you should tell the truth on your resume, you do not have to confess everything about your life. For example, when you arrived in Canada, you may have done a stint in a job that was inconsistent with the rest of your work history. You may be a computer programmer in “real life,” but you may have cleaned hotel rooms or worked at a gas (petrol) station for a couple of months to keep the wolf from the door. You do not have to ‘fess up to a temporary job that you did in an emergency and that was outside your normal pattern of employment. You can omit it from your resume.
- List the degrees and diplomas you have earned.
- Most Canadians don't understand what A levels and GCSEs are. If you have A levels or GCSEs, simply say you have a high school diploma, and give the date at which you finished what Canadians would call high school (A levels or GCSEs). Type it as High School Diploma – 1992.
May also be called Courses or Continuing Education. This list refers to career-related courses that you have undertaken while you’ve been working.
May also be referred to as Professional Affiliations. This list refers to professional or career-related societies, associations and other organizations to which you belong.
If you have authored career-related books or articles, list them here.
If you have received career-related awards, list them here.
Depending on the job you are seeking, it may be relevant to list the computer programs with which you are familiar, e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- It is acceptable to end your resume with the statement, “References available upon request.”
- Do not actually provide the references on your resume.
- Have the references handy on a separate sheet of paper that you can hand over during an interview.
- If you have changed careers or have gaps in your career, the standard, reverse chronological resume may not showcase your experience to the best advantage.
- In that case, you are better off using a functional resume.
- You can find examples of functional resumes on the Job Bank and Susan Ireland’s websites.
- If you have an unbroken career record, mentioning volunteer work for community and recreational organizations is risky. One potential employer may think that your volunteering for the ski patrol demonstrates that you are fit, lead a balanced lifestyle, and participate in activities that re-energize you for work. Another employer may interpret it to mean that you are not committed to your career.
- Volunteer work that is closely related to your job adds to your credibility. If you volunteer for a professional or technical society or association, feel free to mention it on your resume.
- If you are re-entering the workforce after an extended absence, mentioning volunteer work may be helpful. For example, if you are a mother who has been raising children fulltime, it would be constructive to mention that you edited the newsletter for the Parent Council at the local school or you were the treasurer for the local Soccer Team.
- If you are using your history of volunteer work to demonstrate your capabilities, describe your volunteer jobs as you would describe a career position. Cite concrete accomplishments – how many volunteers you managed, the size of the budget you were responsible for, etc.
- Leave out personal information (age, nationality, family details, hobbies, etc.).
- Don’t mention your driver’s licence. Most adult Canadians have drivers’ licences, and it’s taken as a given that people have them. The only time it would be worth mentioning would be an instance in which the job description specifically required it. For example, some jobs in the Alberta oil industry require people to drive long distances to reach oil wells, and employers stipulate that workers have drivers’ licences.
- It is especially damaging to mention that you have a UK driver’s licence. If you already are in Canada, it begs the question as to why you have not yet exchanged your UK driver’s licence for a provincial one.
- Omit skills and qualifications that are irrelevant to the job you want. If you are looking for a job as a geologist and you can type 80 word a minute, do not mention your typing speed on your resume. You are looking for a position as a geologist, not an administrative assistant.
- Format the page to print on North American letter sized paper (8.5" x 11"). Do not format the page to print on A4.
- Bullet points give a resume a clean, crisp appearance.
- Make it easy to read. Favour short statements over long, convoluted sentences.
- Grammar and spelling have to be impeccable.
- In many cases Canadian feel equally comfortable reading British or American spelling. Words about which they feel flexible include grey / gray and labour / labor. A few of words that they always spell the American way are tire (not tyre), aluminum (not aluminium) and oriented (not orientated). Canadians also write organize (rather than organise) and specialize (rather than specialise). It would be best to adhere to Canadian spelling.
- There are different resume styles, and there is not a “right” one or a “wrong” one. The Job Bank website provides examples of three popular styles. Whichever style you choose, be consistent. Once you have settled on a font, indentation style, etc., stick to them throughout the resume.
- Use a standard font. Stay away from an exotic font. Arial and Times Roman are best.
- Maintain a businesslike tone.
- Refer to yourself in professional terms. Call yourself an “administrative assistant” rather than an “admin assistant.”
- Leave humour out of your resume.
- Some people firmly believe that a resume should be no more than two pages.
- This can present you with a dilemma. If you have extensive experience and radically trim your work history so that it can fit on two pages, it may end up looking meaningless. Once the detail has been stripped out of your resume, you may appear to be a junior in your field.
- Yes, by all means, have a critical look at your resume, and delete all “padding” and “fluff.” But, if you’ve pruned your resume and cannot do justice to your experience on two pages, let your resume roll over to three pages.
- If a list of your accomplishments runs to several pages, another approach is to create two different resumes. One is a summary resume that fits onto two pages, and the other is a detailed resume.
Submitting your resume
- Create a boilerplate resume as a starting point. However, avoid handing out your boilerplate resume. Try to customize each resume you send out, so that it highlights the fit between your qualifications and experience and the employer’s needs.
- If you e-mail your resume to a prospective employer, it would be a good idea to send it as a PDF file. It will be “locked,” and no one will be able to fiddle with it and wreck it. If you don't have PDF writer software, here is a FREE version of Cute PDF Writer.
- If you send your resume to a placement agency (head hunter), send it as an MS-Word file. Agencies often present resumes to client companies on the agencies’ own letterhead and/or in their own format. You’ll save them work if you send them an MS-Word file that they can edit.
- If you send your resume by conventional mail, print it on good quality, plain, light-coloured paper (white, off white or pale grey).
Cover Letters and Thank You Letters
More info about cover letters and thank you letters coming soon.
This category has the following 13 subcategories, out of 13 total.