Why Can’t I Find a Job in Canada?

5 Resume Mistakes That Come Between You and Your Dream Job

Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC

If you are a new immigrant, you might have asked the question “Why Can’t I Find a Job in Canada?”.

A resume is usually our first contact with employers. If we fail to make a great first impression with our resume, we will not move on to the next steps of the hiring process.

This article then talks about five mistakes that prevent you from landing your dream job in Canada.

Aqua Bus Dock, North Vancouver, BC

1. Wrong contact information

Imagine this situation. You created a compelling resume. However, you mistyped your contact information so the employer can not reach you. You missed a golden opportunity.

My previous manager got frustrated while searching for a new laboratory technician because one of the better candidates could not be reached through his mobile number. The applicant eventually made it to the interview after he received an email invitation. During the interview, he apologized for the error in the phone number listed on his resume.

Some employers may not go above and beyond to get in touch with you if other applicants are on par with you or even better than you. A quick search for laboratory positions on LinkedIn shows that some job postings have over 100 applicants. There are surely others who can perform the demands of the jobs.

Errors, especially on critical information such as a phone number, may be taken as an indication of your quality of work.

Fix: Double-check your contact information on your resume.

Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada

2. Personal information

Resumes for the Canadian job market are usually 1 – 2 pages long. The limited space should then be utilized to effectively communicate why you are the best candidate for the job. Personal information such as age, gender, marital status, religion, race, physical attributes, social insurance number (SIN), or immigration status must not be indicated in a Canadian resume.

Adding these may also encourage unintentional discrimination or unconscious bias against you.

Fix: Use the precious space on your resume to highlight your skills, capabilities, and achievements.

Yaletown, Vancouver, BC

3. A photo

Job applicants in Canada are not expected to attach a photo to their resume. As with the case of including unnecessary information, the presence of a photo may encourage unwanted discrimination and bias.

Fix: Do not attach a photo unless you are applying as an actor or a model.

4. Spelling and grammatical errors

A resume is a tool to create excellent first impressions. However, spelling and grammatical errors create the opposite effect. Major spelling mistakes can even change the meaning of words. This reminds me of an episode in the now-defunct show Schitt’s Creek where the actors were reading a certificate that says “Marketing and Pubic Relations”. These types of errors can be disastrous.

Fix: Use a spelling and grammar checker. Ask a trusted and knowledgeable friend to review your resume. Get in touch with organizations that help create and review resumes.

Waterfront, Vancouver, BC

5. Job descriptions instead of accomplishments

It only takes a few seconds for a hiring personnel to determine the fate of a resume. So, a resume should catch and maintain the reader’s attention.

HR professionals and immigrant-serving organizations mention that noting your past responsibilities is one of the biggest mistakes in crafting a resume. Instead, they advise showcasing your professional accomplishments to highlight your unique value.

Fix: Create a bigger impact by quantifying your accomplishments. In my previous role, I managed our certifications portfolio. One of the bullets in my resume then includes “Obtained 4 new quality and health and safety certificates in the first 10 months of employment“.

I learned this technique from several HR practitioners who mentored me throughout my journey as a new immigrant. So, I am passing this on to you.

David Lam Park, Vancouver, Canada

I hope this list helps you craft a compelling resume so you never have to ask the question “Why Can’t I Find a Job in Canada?” again.

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