The Canada Resume Format
Written by James Bunes, Author • Last updated on June 18, 2024

Canada Resume Format: Build the Best Resume for Canadian Jobs

If you’re applying to the Canadian job market, it pays to know the right tips for structuring a smooth, natural resume so you look just as attractive as the locals. Canadian CVs are similar to US resumes but contain plenty of unique elements, including terminology, spelling, and length. Our guide lays out the optimal Canada resume format and provides tips and tricks to create a resume that looks local but stands out with your achievements.

Canadian vs. US resumes: What’s the difference?

Canadian resumes are similar to US resumes, detailing work history, education, and skills – but they have a host of distinct qualities, and tailoring your application to match makes you more professional and natural.

The biggest difference is Canadian spelling. Although Canada CVs use English, they use UK spelling like “favourite,” “center,” and “apologise.”

In bilingual regions, like Quebec, many job seekers write resumes in both English and French. If you’re comfortable using the French language, we encourage you to do the same.

Another unique element of Canadian resumes is date formatting, which should use the “YYYY-MM-DD” format, unlike the US “MM-DD-YYYY” layout.

Canadian resumes are usually one page, like US resumes, but can spill over into two if needed. It isn’t recommended to use three pages unless you’re an veteran professional with over 10 years of experience.

Here’s a quick summary of the differences between Canadian and US resumes:

Canadian CV

  • Uses British spelling
  • Can extend to multiple pages if needed
  • Uses the date format: YYYY-MM-DD
  • Uses both “CV” and “resume”

US Resume

  • Uses US spelling
  • Should always be kept to one page
  • Uses the date format: MM-DD-YYYY
  • Uses the term “resume” exclusively

Canadian CV layout and specifics

The Canada resume format is similar to the US layout, but it’s important to double-check the structure to show you understand Canadian work customs. It’s vital to study the layout to ensure you don’t include anything that might seem odd to Canadians, such as marital status, date of birth, or nationality and country of origin.

Here’s the usual CV format for Canada:

  • Header
  • Summary or objective
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills

Like US resumes, you can also add these optional sections:

  • Volunteer work
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Languages
  • Certificates and licenses
  • Projects

The chronological format is standard in Canada, so always list your work experience and education by providing your most recent achievements first, and then working backward.

It’s also expected that Canadian CVs should be one page, so try your best to keep your resume concise and confined. However, it’s slightly more acceptable to use two pages and a good option for job seekers who can’t condense their accomplishments.

Check out our collection of resume articles for more information on diverse resume structures, including Spanish resume tips and advice on a functional resume layout.

Expert Tip:

When naming your document, keep in mind that “resume” and “CV” are used interchangeably. However, some Canadian regions use “CV” for more formal documents, such as applying for an academic role, so it’s best to stick with the term “resume” if you aren’t sure.

Essential components of a Canadian resume

Now let’s walk through, step-by-step, and see how to build a Canadian CV from scratch – or even better – using a quick and easy resume template.

Your resume header should be a succinct list including your full name, job title, and contact details. Provide your phone number, email address, and your location (city and province). If you’re moving to Canada, make sure to list your future destination as your location so the hiring manager doesn’t wonder why they received your application.

Resume objective or summary

This small description is your number one way to hook the recruiter as it’s the first part of the resume they look at. Make this section short but engaging – use action language and quantified achievements to show the impact of your actions.

Work experience

Provide your most relevant, recent work experience. Start with your job title, and then add the company name and location, and your date of employment. Finish with three to four bullet points of your most impressive achievements in this role. Read the job post to learn exactly what the employer is looking for and tailor your work achievements to what they need.


Your education section should be short and sweet. Include the degree name, the name of the institution, its location, and your date of graduation. If your GPA is over 3.5, add that, too.

It’s also important to note that you should list your highest education – if your only education is a high school diploma, then provide it, but if you have a college degree it’s best to omit anything lower. 


This section can be tricky because every job seeker has dozens of skills to choose from, but only has room for five to 10. We recommend you thoroughly read the job ad and see which skills are most important to the employer, and then add a few of your strongest, most relevant hard and soft skills.

“The Canada resume format is similar to the US layout, but it’s important to double-check the structure to show you understand Canadian work customs.”

Build an effective resume summary or objective

The beginning of your resume should have a quick, engaging description of your professional skills, but it’s important to choose the right one for you. Seasoned professionals should always choose a resume summary, but recent graduates and job seekers going through a career switch should use a resume objective.

A resume summary describes your work experience and top career achievements. Here’s a quick example:

“Dedicated Certified Public Accountant with more than 7 years of experience in providing financial reports, analyzing costs, and delivering profit statements. Proven skills in a suite of accounting software, including QuickBooks and data analysis tools. Ready to use a deep understanding of Canadian financial and tax standards to maintain accurate records at Gold River Inc.”

On the other hand, a resume objective details your top skills and career goals. Here’s an example:

Enthusiastic journalist with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and one year of experience interning at a major news outlet. Expertise in crafting original articles, working with a 10-person editorial team, and delivering timely, trending content. Excited to use a passion for Canadian news and politics to provide informative, engaging articles for Public 8 News.”

Check out our library of resume examples for diverse examples of both summaries and objectives for a variety of job roles. 

Additional do’s and don’ts for a Canada CV

Let’s finish up with a rapid-fire list of best practices to make the perfect resume for Canadian companies.

  • Tailor each resume: Customize your resume for each application you send in, reading the job description thoroughly to learn which skills and achievements matter the most to the company.
  • Focus on achievements: Don’t just list your previous responsibilities – emphasize your accomplishments and add numbers and metrics whenever possible.
  • Leverage optional sections: Optional sections add depth to your resume, especially if you have volunteer experience in Canada or know a language common in Canada, such as French or Chinese.
  • Contact the labor department: Many Canadian provinces have a labor market department that provides job seekers with free career counseling. Contact your local employment office to get help with resume formatting and interview preparation.
  • Keep it updated: You make new professional strides every day, so ensure you touch up your resume every few months to stay current with achievements and skills.
  • Check your spelling: Make sure you mind your spelling by using Canadian English terms. It’s also important to double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Master the Canada resume format and impress your new employer

Canadian CVs resemble US resumes, but when you learn the little details you can impress the hiring manager and show them you’re a natural. Use our tips to stand out from other ex-pats:

  • Use Canadian English and Canadian terminology
  • Focus on achievements over responsibilities
  • Date your work experience and education with the format: “YYYY-MM-DD”
  • Create a bilingual French resume if you have the language skills
  • Default to the term “resume” if you aren’t sure if the employer uses “CV” for a different document

You can put these tips to use right away. Head over to CVwizard’s Resume Builder to create a smooth Canadian resume in minutes. 

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James Bunes
James Bunes
James Bunes, copywriter, editor, and strategist, combines job search and HR writing experience to produce actionable content on resumes, career advice, and job search tactics.

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