When we move to a country that is completely different from our own, we must adapt to the new culture. One of the things I learned when I moved to Canada was how to properly write my resume. When I started my job hunting, I realized my resume was not following the Canadian market standards. Here are six tips that helped me to adapt my job applications to the Canadian style:
1. Keep it short
Keep your resume short and clear. In North America, most people have a resume that is two pages long. Keep it to 1 page if you finished school recently or do not have a lot of experience. Back home, the longer your resume is, the more qualified you come across for the position. It is also important to use keywords in your resume, as employers are going to quickly scan it to decide if you have an interesting profile or not. These keywords can describe your skills and qualifications. Clue in on what to highlight by reviewing the job posting that you are applying to. Also, avoid using a format that is difficult to understand. Font type and size should be as neutral as possible and it is a good practice to avoid colours.
2. Learn about the industry you are applying to
One of the things to keep in mind when writing your application is the industry to which you are applying to. Depending on the industry (ex. creative vs. professional), you can adjust the content of your resume and include details that make you stand out from other candidates. Remember, even though you may have lots of experience in one area, it may not be relevant for the industry you are targeting this time.
3. Include a cover letter with your resume
A major difference between Latin America and North America when applying for a job is the cover letter. Why should I include a cover letter you may ask? The cover letter is a key part of your job hunting. When applying for a position, use the cover letter to show how well you understand the employer’s organization and how you fit in. Make sure you include some details of what interests you and how you would benefit the company if hired. If you would like to learn some additional information on why cover letters are important, you can check this link out.
4. Include Volunteer Work
You should include your volunteer activities in the work experience section. Working as a volunteer is also a great option for students who have no work experience and are looking for entry level positions. In Canada it is quite popular to have volunteer experience, so it is important to highlight how this opportunity makes you more qualified for the job you are applying to. The first volunteer work experience that I had was at Greystone, where I was part of the team that organized an Open House event and I got a reference letter that helped me in a job interview in the following week.
5. Use Social Media
Many employers cross-reference your resume with your online presence. LinkedIn is a popular business-related social networking website. When you update your resume, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile as well. Employers may also look you up on other social media channels, such as Facebook and blogs. First impressions are important, so be extra careful with posts that are accessible to anyone.
6. Adapt your resume for each job
It is recommended that you customize your resume for each job. Depending on the job, you could change a few sentences to focus on certain skills and accomplishments. For others, you may need a completely revamped resume. My teachers suggest highlighting transferable skills. An important thing to keep in mind is that even if your previous job was completely different from the position to which you are applying now, there may be some learned skills that will be useful in different industries. Some examples of transferable skills are problem solving, teamwork, leadership and more.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Follow me on instagram @michelleegt for my latest adventures.