- Jul 26, 2016
- By Ruairi Spillane
#2: How to write a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada
Our previous post, How to add $10K to your salary!, highlighted the financial benefit of writing a unique, results-focused resume that sells your potential. This blog will focus on how to write a resume in the best format, to help you win construction and engineering jobs in Canada. Our next blog will focus more on results-focused content.
Other career-changing benefits to perfecting your resume include understanding your true value to any employer, winning interviews for dream roles, and leap-frogging your way up the career ladder. All these good things can happen with a minor time investment in this presentation.
Your resume is a sales document. Your future employer looks at your resume and decides from this document whether to take further interest and meet with you. Does your resume accurately reflect who you are as a professional? You only get one shot at presenting your resume so make it your best one!
What goes into a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada?
The sole objective for a resume is winning an interview. Allocating some time to chat with a potential employer, hiring for construction and engineering jobs in Canada, is the goal.
By demonstrating how you have added value to previous employers, your aim is that a future employer will give you the opportunity to engage further. “Doing your job” and “being involved in projects” does not attract interviews. Ensure you stand out from the crowd.
You typically have less than 30 seconds to impress initially. This makes presentation, brevity and formatting critical.
You will be expected to follow the Canadian resume format. Your resume format must contain (in this order):
- Personal Information.
- Professional Summary.
- Work Experience.
- Education / professional development.
Where appropriate, you may also add:
- Technical skills.
- Volunteer experience / community involvement.
General pointers for your resume.
- Always list your ideal/target job title up top to set the tone. If you’re applying for construction and engineering jobs in Canada, then this title should reflect a specific role in this sector. Research the best role to list here, as it will depend on the circumstances.
- Use a professional resume template. Download our recommended template here.
- Make it enjoyable to read. If you are bored writing it, then the reader will be bored reading it. Sell yourself to potential employers for construction and engineering jobs in Canada by confidently communicating the good things you have achieved.
- Avoid long paragraphs. Use bullet points with 2-3 sentences maximum per bullet. Brevity!
- Avoid small fonts (use size 11 at a minimum).
- Do not use the first person. Avoid the use of “I”! (e.g. “I am technically competent”, “I worked at XYZ”). Use short sentences (e.g. “Worked at XYZ”, “Technically competent…”).
- Your resume should be a maximum of 2-3 pages. Two pages is usually sufficient, however if you have a long and impressive career history, then three pages can be justified. Use a separate Project List document if you have a long list of projects that you would like to present.
- Don’t waste valuable space. Only list relevant experience. It’s recommended to fill gaps, but focus on transferable skills only when highlighting irrelevant work experience.
- Convert all terms to the North American equivalent. For example, use terms like “high school”, “GPA” (Grade Point Average — the equivalent for university grades), “internship”, etc.
Now let’s give a brief overview of the first two sections.
- Do not list your date of birth, gender, full postal address, marital status, etc.
- List your location (e.g. Vancouver, B.C.), telephone number and email address all on the same line of your header. This will save space.
- Adding your LinkedIn profile URL is completely optional. It’s almost a given that an employer will search for you on LinkedIn. If you do decide to add it, customize your URL so that it has a clear appearance.
This is the most important part of your resume. If you can describe yourself well in three or four sentences (10 seconds) then you set the tone for the remainder of your resume. The reader should be able to understand who you are from this paragraph alone so keep it high-level and focus on the below.
- Your personality and strengths (“technically astute”, “personable”, “strong leader”, “team player”, etc).
- Years of relevant experience / areas of the industry (contractor / consultant / owner).
- Roles held to date, i.e. how your career has progressed.
- Type of projects worked on (list the $ range) e.g. commercial buildings, infrastructure.
- Career objectives – what are your goals for the next 2-3 years?
Ensure you cover all these topics. Your future employer should have a high-level snapshot of your skills and experience before they read any further detail. Think of the Professional Summary as the micro resume where you summarize the document with one concise paragraph.
Avoid generic comments (e.g. “honest and hardworking professional”). Give the reader a true insight into your strengths and objectives. These should be unique to you, and not things that anyone can write on their resume.
Our next blog, “Building a results-focused resume” deals specifically with how to communicate your value to potential employers for construction and engineering jobs in Canada.
Blogs in this series
- #1: How to add $10K to your salary! – The power of a killer construction / engineering resume (CV) in Canada
- #2: How to write a resume for construction and engineering jobs in Canada
- #3: How to build a results-focused resume for engineering and construction jobs in Canada
- #4: How to sell your project experience in an engineering or construction resume in Canada
About Outpost Recruitment.
Register with Outpost Recruitment and we’ll send you a free resume template you can use for your job search. If you have registered previously and require the resume template, drop us an email at [email protected]
Outpost Recruitment is a boutique agency that works with Canada’s leading construction and engineering companies. To learn more or register as a candidate, explore our website.
At our sister company, Moving2Canada, we developed a resume-writing service to help those who need additional guidance beyond the free advice and templates provided. Visit the Moving2Canada Resume Service to receive an evaluation.