The job search process in Canada may seem standard to many. A job posting is created and distributed by word of mouth, internet or through a job fair etc. Resumes are collected, candidates are screened and interviews take place. A candidate is then selected, references are checked and an offer of employment is made.
However, the criteria used to evaluate candidate qualifications may be different in Canada than it is in other parts of the world. In many countries from which immigrants come to Canada, candidates are considered qualified when they meet the minimal educational requirement. In Canada, people are qualified for the job because they have already had a job and/or they have Canadian experience.
To be competitive, you must prepare yourself for the job search. You must write an effective resume and cover letter, and provide a strong list of references to help you get the job.How do you prepare for the job search?
Resumes are a standard part of the formal job search process. A resume is a brief outline of your experience, education, accomplishments and skills of your career. Employers spend as little as 30 seconds scanning your resume and you will not be selected for an interview if you have not prepared a great resume. Your most relevant and impressive experiences must catch their attention. Effective resumes focus on the specific position. Education is listed near the end of a resume because you will not get the job solely based on your education. Your resume should be a brief, no more than one to two pages. It must be well-organized, well-written and mistake free.
A cover letter is a one page document that accompanies your resume. Its objective is to motivate the employer to invite you, the candidate, for an interview. The look of the letter should be conservative and match the font and format of your resume.
Write clearly, concisely and use a positive tone. The letter gives the employer an opportunity to observe your attention to detail, spelling, grammar, and the overall quality of your written communication. Ask for feedback from friends or if possible, someone in the profession.
Prepare an electronic version. This version should be a shorter but detailed cover letter. Very briefly mention how you learned about the job, what position you are looking for, and what you have to offer. Compose your cover letter off-line. Just because it is a short letter, does not mean you should not take your time to ensure it is very well written.
Once you have your resume and cover letters ready, you will need to work on your references. This is a list of people who have agreed to speak with prospective employers about your professional strengths.