Top 150 PLUS Canadian Resume Tips

By Adrienne Tom.

Professionals can employ a wealth of tips and best practices to raise the value of a resume.

Recognizing that no two job seekers are exactly alike, the following resume tips offer a variety of starting points and next-level improvements for both Canadian career practitioners and job seeking clients.

Apply the tips that best suit your resume creation requirements and create a document that rises above the rest:

  1. Pick out a job target before you start.
  2. Unsure of career direction? Work with a CPC Career Strategist.
  3. Exploring multiple job paths? Create a unique resume for each.
  4. Changing careers? Be ready to highlight transferable skills.
  5. Research target role requirements and job functions.
  6. Identify top job skills.
  7. Tailor resume content for each job target.
  8. Customize content for every job – general resumes don’t work.
  9. Align your skills with the posting requirements.
  10. Identify and address the employer’s buying motivators.
  11. Highlight job requirements from the job posting.
  12. Present immediate value.
  13. Demonstrate why you are the candidate of choice.
  14. Use the targeted job title as your resume header.
  15. Use a resume format that works best for you.
  16. Avoid templates: these don’t account for strategy.
  17. Changing careers? Consider a functional or combination format.
  18. Add contact information so employers can connect with you.
  19. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
  20. Showcase social media addresses, your website, or personal blog.
  21. Create a human-friendly format for in-person or networking purposes.
  22. Keep your resume format industry-appropriate.
  23. Consider how an ATS (applicant tracking system) will read your resume.
  24. Research how ATS works.
  25. Develop a computer-friendly format for ATS.
  26. Eliminate certain design components to support ATS compliance.
  27. Avoid placing content in the document header or footer (won’t be read).
  28. Don’t try to “game the system”; it won’t work.
  29. “Know thyself” before starting to write your resume.
  30. Identify your 10% difference.
  31. Be prepared to answer: “Why should we hire YOU?”
  32. Employ professional assistance if you aren’t sure of your unique value.
  33. Develop a value proposition.
  34. Identify your brand and support it throughout the resume.
  35. Create a strong tagline or headline.
  36. Struggling to put pen to paper? Work with a Certified Resume Strategist.
  37. Write for the job you want, not for the job you have.
  38. Cut back on tasks-based content.
  39. Demonstrate success in every role.
  40. Ensure content is quantified and measurable.
  41. Share accomplishment-driven stories.
  42. Promote yourself with purpose.
  43. Keep content compelling and engaging.
  44. De-emphasize unrelated roles.
  45. Brainstorm Challenges, Actions, and Results (CAR) and turn them into action points.
  46. Consider which resume sections will sell you best.
  47. Create a Skills or Core Competencies section.
  48. Feature top results in a Qualifications or Achievements section.
  49. Do you have related volunteer work? Add this section.
  50. Targeting a technical role? Consider a Technical Skills section.
  51. Try a unique section header like “Career Evolution” or “Leadership Impacts.”
  52. Minimize focus on unrelated work history.
  53. Keep work history or experience to recent 10-15 years.
  54. Add Education. Older workers might remove graduation years.
  55. Don’t forget to mention professional development (courses, certifications, etc.).
  56. Use strategic content to de-emphasize employment gaps.
  57. Demonstrate results.
  58. Sell don’t tell.
  59. Highlight top career achievements.
  60. Laden the resume with metrics.
  61. Focus on how you impacted the bottom line.
  62. Quantify details by answering: how much, how many, how often.
  63. Add oomph with specific $, %, or #.
  64. Provide the proof.
  65. Share strong career “stories.”
  66. Emphasize growth, revenue expansion, and cost-savings.
  67. Employ strong keywords.
  68. Use an active voice.
  69. Pepper industry words and phrases throughout.
  70. Support keywords with concrete examples.
  71. Vary your word selection.
  72. Use the job posting to identify which keywords are best.
  73. Create a word cloud from the job posting to identify top words.
  74. Avoid common resume mistakes.
  75. Ensure content doesn’t miss the mark. Customize!
  76. Avoid the “career obituary.” No need to list every job you’ve ever done.
  77. 10 to 15 years of career history is typically sufficient.
  78. Steer clear of dense text or heavy paragraphs.
  79. Remove the line “References Available Upon Request.”
  80. Keep personal pronouns off the resume.
  81. Proofread!
  82. Use proper Canadian spelling and grammar.
  83. Don’t go on and on and on and on…
  84. Fill every page fully or use less pages.
  85. Use a thoughtful Career Summary versus an objective statement.
  86. Avoid using the same resume for every application. Customize!
  87. Tune out misinformed resume opinions. Get your tips from qualified sources.
  88. Never copy content from someone else’s resume.
  89. Don’t cram content onto one page if you need more space.
  90. Sharpen resume content.
  91. Remove extra words like of, the, a.
  92. Avoid word widows or orphans.
  93. Vary your action verbs.
  94. Order content from most relevant to least relevant.
  95. Leverage the top 1/3 of the resume to sell yourself.
  96. Watch the length!
  97. Maximize metrics and wow with results.
  98. Read your resume aloud, to yourself or someone else, and listen to how it sounds. Does it tell your story?
  99. Aim to be informative and descriptive.
  100. Be consistent: if you spell out numbers above 10, do it always.
  101. Engage well-suited design components.
  102. Use a distinct presentation.
  103. Consider a graphic resume.
  104. Use a chart.
  105. Try some colour.
  106. Bullet key points.
  107. Graph scalable impacts and results.
  108. Make content pop with boxes, shapes, or Smart Art.
  109. Include strong, on-brand testimonials.
  110. Try a mix of fonts, but sparingly.
  111. Don’t let design get garish or cutesy.
  112. Keep font size between 10 to 12.
  113. Content is king, but presentation matters too.
  114. Think quality over quantity.
  115. Remember, less can be more.
  116. Overview job duties in a succinct manner.
  117. Keep the entire resume short and sweet.
  118. Keep bulleted points to just 2 or 3 lines.
  119. Use 3 pages, at most.
  120. Keep resume content Canadian.
  121. Use appropriate Canadian spelling and grammar.
  122. Set your proofing language to Canadian English.
  123. Need more Canadian resume tips? Look in Best Canadian Resumes.
  124. Never lie in your resume.
  125. Share your unique, authentic career story.
  126. Don’t overextend content or embellish.
  127. Stay away from superlatives like excellent or superior.
  128. Be prepared to speak on every resume point.
  129. Don’t dumb down your resume.
  130. Complement your resume with other career tools.
  131. Create a strong cover letter to accompany your resume.
  132. Consider a value proposition letter for cold introductions.
  133. Generate a list of references, but only provide at request.
  134. Polish up your social media and LinkedIn accounts.
  135. Become a thought leader in your industry.
  136. Start a personal blog.
  137. Write a professional bio.
  138. Develop a personal website.
  139. Have a thank you letter ready to share.
  140. Construct a recruiter letter.
  141. Employ savvy job search techniques to get your resume read.
  142. Take your job search beyond the computer.
  143. Don’t rely solely on internet job postings – these have a low success rate.
  144. Round out your job search approach with a variety of actions and methods.
  145. Tap into your network for connections, leads, or opportunities.
  146. Aim to get your resume into the hands of the hiring person.
  147. Consider the help of a recruiter.
  148. Try to get referred.
  149. Ask for help – it’s out there!
  150. Qualify resume and job search advice carefully.
  151. Finally, remember that everyone is unique, therefore every resume should be too!

We are cognizant that Canada would not be the country it is today without the peace and friendship of Nations indigenous to Canada, and the innumerable contributions of peoples from a diverse cultural mosaic. In recognition, as the country marks 150 years since confederation, we invite you to join us in celebrating Canada 150 PLUS.

Comments

  1. Giselle Mazurat

    Excellent article Adrienne! Great reminders for even us professionals. Thank you for sharing.

    Giselle Mazurat

  2. Wow…Thank you for this list.

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