Submitting a CV
Submitting a well-polished resumé or curriculum vitae (CV) is an important asset for all applicants seeking to work in Canada. It specifies to an employer your relevant work experience and qualifications that make you a desirable candidate for the occupation.
CVs usually organize your information under headings that call attention to the most attractive features of your credentials.
Contact Information: Provide this at the top of your CV. This should include your full name, address, telephone numbers, and email address. Include this in the header if you want to save space.
Related Skills: Only highlight the skills that are important for the job that you are applying for. These can range from communication skills to technical skills that you have acquired through both paid and unpaid work experience.
Education: List your most recent diploma first and arrange the others according to date. Disclose the name, city, and country of each academic institution you attended. Also list your areas of study, authorships, and include information on other training you received at this school that your employer may find useful.
Work Experience: Mention your most recently-held occupation first and structure others in chronological order. Include the names and locations of the organization, your period of employment, the position you held, your responsibilities and accomplishments.
References: Do not include these on your CV. However—in the event that your potential employer requests them—be sure to have the contact information of at least three references who can confidently deliver a good testimonial of your capabilities. Previous supervisors or professors can serve as excellent references.
There is no standard or uniform format that Canadian employers expect from an applicant’s CV. Following a few rules of thumb, however, will help to make your credentials shine above the rest.
- Choose a clear, legible font and format your resumé accordingly to guarantee the readability of your text
- You may also want to target your CV to the job you are applying for with a section titled “Career-Related Experience”. Emphasize your most relevant credentials pertaining to the job.
- Describe your achievements and responsibilities with numbers, keywords, and action verbs to demonstrate that you are able to achieve tangible results
- If you are applying from abroad, you may want to consider using social media tools (see below) on the Internet—such as LinkedIn—to boost your professional profile, as potential employers are likely to cross reference this with your submitted credentials.
Writing a Cover Letter
Rather than re-iterate the information in your CV, cover letters are your opportunity to demonstrate to an employer why they should consider your qualifications and how they will benefit from hiring you. It tailors your application for a specific position and industry and should always be submitted along with your resumé.
Additionally, cover letters are an excellent medium to demonstrate to an employer your communication and writing skills. Most are structured according to the following format:
Contact Information: Disclose your full name, address, telephone number, and email address as well as your recipient’s full name and title. Underneath, specify the organization’s name and address.
Salutation: Your letter should address itself to either the employer or the human resources agent. If you do not know this information, contact the organization to provide you with the name of the appropriate individual. Never make assumptions about an individual’s gender based on their first name.
Introduction and Body: Mention how you learned about the position. Refer to your knowledge of the organization’s affairs and how your abilities can serve as an asset to your employer. Only emphasize relevant information to the position and expand on keywords highlighted in the job description to get the most out of your cover letter.
Conclusion: If the job description does not specify that only selected applicants will be contacted for an interview, bring your letter to a close by describing how you will follow up on your application. You should mention whether you will phone or email to schedule an interview. State how your employer can contact you and thank the reader for his or her consideration.
There are other helpful hints to bear in mind before you finalize your cover letter:
- It should be typed, legible, and should not exceed more than one 8½” x 11” page.
- Proofread extensively before sending.
- If mailing a hardcopy, do not staple it to your CV.
- If emailing, attach CV and cover letter separately and insert a brief message to mention that both are enclosed in the email.
Employers will often hire the candidate who performs the best in the interviewing process, thus it is important to prepare well for each interview. If you have to cancel or reschedule, provide a reason and inform your employer as quickly as possible. If you have to decline an interview because you have been offered a position elsewhere, be sure to tell the employer and thank them for taking the time to review your qualifications.
The more knowledgeable you are about the organization, the better able you will be to articulate what makes you the best match for the company. Research the organization’s major services and products, values, history, community interests, and major competitors. Before the interview, it will be helpful to investigate the position’s general responsibilities so that you can better prepare yourself for the type of questions that will be asked in the interview.
- Reassess your motives for applying to the position and be thorough about your career interests and goals
- Be familiar with your accomplishments and how you’ve responded to specific tasks or challenges in the past
- Arm yourself with questions about the job to demonstrate that you are really interested in the position by making inquiries such as whether the company will provide opportunities for advancement
- Practise interviewing with another person by rehearsing answers to potential questions
- Have a copy of your reference list on hand during the interview. Approach your references beforehand so that they know that they may be contacted by the interviewer and provide them with a brief description of the job you are applying for.
Dress neatly and conservatively and bring letters of recommendation or extra copies of you CV. Arrive to the interview early and plan how long it will take to arrive at the interview location. Sitting up straight, making eye contact, and speaking articulately will express your confidence during the meeting and will convey your optimism about the job. Pause and think about your responses before delivering them. Answers should be concise and truthful.
If you will not be meeting with the interviewer in person because you are applying from overseas, consider submitting a personal video along with your application, expressing your interest in the position and emphasizing your skills. During phone interviews, be sure to answer promptly and speak clearly.
Always follow up by writing a brief letter to the interviewers on the same day as your meeting, if possible. Remind them of your interest in the position and thank them for taking the time to engage you in the interview process.
Even if your interview was unsuccessful, the interviewers may be able to inform you about future openings.
Social media can be manipulated to your advantage during your Canadian job search. An increasing proportion of job recruiters are using applications such as LinkedIn and Twitter as a cost-effective method of recruiting candidates who may not otherwise apply, to target potential applicants with specific skills, and to promote their organization’s brand recognition.
There are several ways to enhance your professional social media profile
- Professional networking can be optimized through social media. Add keywords to your biography and engage in twitter and facebook discussions with industry authorities or companies you would like to work for.
- Publish your own blog about your industry of interest. It will demonstrate your expertise and enthusiasm for the industry and is an effective way of establishing a global audience for content that you publish
- Follow recruiters on Twitter. Job ads circulate around twitter all the time.
- Visually optimize your profile. Recruiters are only likely to glance over your page briefly. Showcase your job title and consider publishing a professional profile picture. About.me is an excellent domain to boost your social media profile.