When we see client resumes at ISSofBC, we normally find ourselves asking for more information. Occasionally, however, the opposite is true.
Sometimes we see details that harm a job search because they are so culturally different. Resumes vary country to country. Items on your resume at home may not work for you here. Here are details you need to keep off a resume in Canada.
- Your date of birth:
Sure, this is on your passport and other important documents, but resumes don’t belong in that group. Including this information will automatically make HR personnel cringe because they know your age if they do the math. They are trying hard to look only at your skills and not think about age. Help them out. Help yourself out. Keep your date of birth off your resume
- Your SIN (Social Insurance Number):
This is the nine-digit number that the federal government instituted 50 years ago as a way to manage the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance. Soon after implementation, the Canada Revenue Agency started using it as well for tax reporting. Employers ask for SINs so that T-4 slips can be generated for workers each year. Banks also need SINs for opening accounts. Given that SINs are so closely linked to your money and your entitlement for government benefits, it’s important to keep SINs safe. Thieves could use your SIN, along with other personal documents, to open bank accounts in your name and accumulate charges that you get stuck paying. Keep this number safe.
- Colourful fonts:
Just black, please! No pretty tones.
- Photos of yourself:
In Asia, it’s common to include a tiny black-and-white photo of yourself not smiling. It’s inappropriate on your Canadian resume. A smiling photo on Linked In or other social media is OK.
- Your height and weight:
Remember what I said earlier about age? Same deal with weight. Don’t offer that info up on your resume.
- Your salary expectations:
These should only be offered up, if requested, during an interview or in the form of a range (for instance, $20 to $23 per hour) on a cover letter. Application forms may ask for your salary earned in previous jobs. Don’t offer this information either. The money you earned in a previous job is none of a prospective employer’s concern.
- Your mailing address:
This can be OK on your resume, but you don’t really need it. Phone, email and Linked In profile is enough. Street address, city and postal code aren’t that important anymore.
These are seven items to keep off your resume. Some career coaches will add more. Some will say never use the phrase “responsible for” because it is so vague and over-used. Others say resumes should avoid adverbs including words like “quickly” or “professionally” or “single-handedly.” For more of these specifics, check out Lily Zhang’s posting in The Daily Muse.
Are there other items you’ve discovered that must be removed from your resume? Let us know! Please leave a comment. We love to hear from readers.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.