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How to Apply for Jobs in Canada

Applying for a job in Canada involves three steps:

  1. a resume;
  2. a cover letter; and
  3. company and job research.

Step 1) Develop a resume

In Canada, a resume or curriculum vitae (c.v.), is an important tool when you look for a job. A resume tells an employer who you are, what you have done in the past, what your qualifications are, and why you want the job.

Resumes may include information under headings like Contact Information, Job Goal, Related Skills, Education, Work Experience, Duties, Additional Experience, Interests/Activities, References. Below are details about what you should include in each section:

Contact Information Job Research Logo
  • name - your full name, typed in a larger font;
  • address - your address, written out in full;
  • telephone number - your home phone number with area code, and a contact number for messages if you do not have an answering machine; and
  • e-mail address.
Job Goal

In one sentence, describe your job goal. This tells the employer about career objectives. Try to link your job goal to the job for which you are applying.

Related Skills

List the special abilities and skills that relate to the job for which you are applying. You can use skills from paid or unpaid work, volunteer experience, and even hobbies.


List your education, starting with the most recent diploma or training course according to date. Include the name, city and country of each school you attended (secondary and beyond), the type of programs you took, your areas of interest, and the years you completed. List your certificates or diplomas, including those for mini-courses like a computer or software course, first-aid, small engine repair, or any other training that might be useful to the job you want.

Work Experience Job Research Logo

List the companies or organizations where you worked or volunteered. Be sure to include where they are located (cities and countries), the dates (month, year) you worked and the positions you held.


Outline the type of tasks you carried out, starting from the one that took most of your time, or involved the most responsibility. List no more than five duties for each job.

Additional Experience and Skills

Use this section to include information about languages you speak, software programs you know, and other abilities that relate to the job. If there is a lot of information, break it into separate sections with specific headings.


Briefly outline a few of your interests and activities that demonstrate something about you. Be sure to mention achievements or awards you may have received and volunteer experience you may have.


A reference is someone who can vouch for your character (and work experience if relevant). Some Canadian employers may prefer Canadian references. Think carefully about who can act as your reference, and ask them if it is okay to give their names. This person could be a previous employer, colleague or friend. Type the names, addresses, and phone numbers of up to three references on a separate piece of paper that matches your resume. Only give your references to a potential employer when asked.

Keep your reference list up to date. If you can, give your references an idea of the type of job you are applying for and, whenever possible, let them know when an employer will be calling them.

Step 2) Writing a Cover Letter

A cover letter is your introduction to a potential employer. A cover letter should be concise, well-written and tailored to a company and job. This may mean that you prepare a different resume and cover letter for each job.

Cover Letter - Helpful Hints

  • Refer to the title of the job for which you are applying. If there is a reference or file number, you should include it.
  • Address your letter to the appropriate contact person, either the employer or a human resources officer. Use their name and title. Phone or e-mail the company if the advertisement does not identify a contact person. Do not assume a person is male or female based on a first name.
  • Mention how you learned about the job (job posting, newspaper article, or from someone you know). Refer to what the company does and how your skills, abilities and experience can be a valuable addition to the company.
  • Provide your name, phone number, address and e-mail address.
  • Keep your letter to one page. Type or print it on good-quality, standard letter paper (8 ½ x 11 inches).
  • Proofread your letter, and ask someone else to read it as well. Correct the errors, and print a clean copy.

Step 3) Company and Job Research

Learning about the company and the job can help you write your resume, cover letter and prepare you for an interview.

  • What does the employer or company do?
  • What is involved in the position you are applying for?
  • What qualifications do you need for the position?
  • What skills is the employer looking for?
  • Who are the customers or clients?
  • What kind of reputation does the employer have? [Source: Working in Canada]

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