Eight Canadian Resume Writing Tips for Immigrants

Immigrants need to learn a gazillion things such as creating a resume tailored to the Canadian job market. Fret not. I did some research and recalled my experiences to write these eight Canadian resume-writing tips for immigrants.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Font Size

Multiple articles state that employers and recruiters usually scan resumes for only six to seven seconds. You need to impress them in this very short amount of time. You can only do that if they can actually read your document comfortably.

To call attention to your name, experts recommend 20-24 point fonts. Section titles and headers are best with 14-16 point fonts while the resume body is best with 10-12 point fonts.


Using a good font results in a resume that looks professional, is readable, and stands out to employers. In addition, the use of a standard font increases your chances of getting past the resume scanning software and the hiring manager reviewing your resume.

The following fonts are typically recommended for resume writing: Arial, Baskerville, Book Antiqua, Calibri, Courier New, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Lato, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Verdana.

Avoid using specialty fonts. These can make your resume appear less professional and are more difficult for an applicant tracking system (ATS) to read. Courier makes your document look outdated. Comic Sans, Lucida Console, and Papyrus look unprofessional. Non-standard or downloaded fonts are not readable by ATS programs.

Surprisingly, Arial and Times New Roman land in the lists of best and worst fonts to use. These are professional looking and are readable by an ATS. However, some say these are overused fonts and appear like lazy choices.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Bold or Italicized Texts

You can use bold or italics to emphasize specific texts in your resume. These are preferred to underlined texts since ATS can better read bold and italics.

However, you must use bold and italics sparingly. Emphasizing too many texts results in emphasizing nothing. It also makes the resume look unprofessional and difficult to read.


Typically, a Canadian resume has a maximum length of two pages. One page would suffice for fresh graduates or applicants who do not have a lot of experience. Three pages are acceptable for applicants with over 10 years of experience.

Whitehorse, Yukon


The two main resume formats used in Canada are reverse-chronological and functional resumes.

Reverse-chronological is the most commonly used format in Canada. This is best used by applicants with work history in the same field as the position they are applying for.

A typical reverse-chronological resume includes the following sections:

  • Header with your name and contact information
  • Professional summary or objective
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills

Functional resumes are suitable for applications that are looking to switch to a new field or with little work experience. This type of resume includes:

  • Header with your name and contact information
  • Professional summary or objective
  • Essential skills
  • Education
  • Work experience

Highlighting Accomplishments

Highlight your accomplishments by creating an achievement-based bulleted list. Quantify your achievements and use powerful verbs to create a solid impression.

West Vancouver, British Columbia

Personal Information and Photo

Do not include personal information such as Social Insurance Number, age, gender, marital status, and religion in your resume. Also, do not attach a photo to your resume unless you are applying as a model or actor.

Bonus: Resume-writing Assistance

Immigrant-serving organizations and non-profit groups offer Canadian resume-writing tips and assistance. Their pool of highly skilled Human Resources practitioners or volunteers gives training or one-on-one discussion on your resumes. Some organizations even allow their clients to use their high-quality printers and office supplies. Public libraries may also offer resume clinics.

Canadian Resume-Writing Tips for Immigrants
Canadian Resume-Writing Tips for Immigrants

I hope these eight Canadian resume-writing tips for immigrants help you get started in your search for your dream job.

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