How to prepare a resume and a cover letter in Québec

Québec follows North American recruitment practices and requires that potential employees submit a resume when they apply for a job, to secure an interview. The resume is a key component when it comes to looking for employment as it’s the first point of contact with recruiters. So here are some tips to help you prepare a strong resume and cover letter in Québec.
How to adapt your resume to the Québec market While there’s no one right way to create a resume, there are some specific things you should know about writing one for Québec employers.
Here are the top five:
Personal information such as age, marital status and whether or not you have children are often considered discriminatory in Québec and, as such, shouldn’t be included in your resume or cover letter. Other things to avoid? Including a photograph of yourself or your social insurance number (SIN), which is confidential and unnecessary at this stage of the job application process. Instead, stick to the basic information, such as your first name, last name, mailing address (optional), phone number and email, so the employer can contact you easily.
Include a short description of any previous roles you’ve held in non-Québec companies. You should also include all relevant experience in Québec such as internships, volunteering, training or networking activities. Keep in mind that the recruiter probably won’t have time to do further research if he or she doesn’t understand something in your resume or cover letter.
You should write your resume in the same language used in the job posting (usually English or French). If French is required, use Québec terms or professional designations to describe job titles.
The content of your resume matters. Make sure you select the information you share carefully to paint a clear picture of your professional background, skills and experience. And be sure to tailor it to the company you're applying to.
Recruiters are masters of speed-reading through resumes, spending a maximum of two minutes on each one they receive! Make sure yours is as clear and easy to read as possible. That way, it’s more likely to catch their attention and make it through to the next round. Feel free to use a template to create your resume or cover letter. There are plenty available online to help you build a well-structured document. Simplicity is the best approach when it comes to writing a resume. Use a simple font (like Arial) and provide clear, concise information. Try to fit everything on one page, or two maximum. You should also convert your document into PDF format so it can’t be modified.
Structure your resume in a way that stands out

Create a header containing your name and personal information. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile (making sure it’s up to date!) and to your website if you have one. This is the first paragraph the recruiter will read, so you need to make it count. Prioritize your strongest skills, software capabilities, languages spoken and any other relevant information you want to put forward for the position. Refer to the job description to make sure that what you include meets the criteria. The second section is the heart of your resume. This is where you should describe your work experience, starting with the most recent, structuring it in the following order: period of employment, position held and company name. In two to three lines, describe the main tasks involved in your former role, and how your contributions got results, where possible. Again, starting with the most recent, list your education and diplomas. If you studied outside of Québec, you can include the equivalencies under the Québec system. You should also include any training and professional development courses you’ve taken. This is your time to shine! Name any awards or scholarships you’ve received in relation to your field of study or career. You should also include any value-added experience, such as volunteering, internships or publications.
Close with a short sentence letting recruiters know that you can provide references on request. Remember, you’ll need to have these documents on hand without attaching them directly to your resume. Be prepared to submit them as needed.

Small details that can go a long way You’ll want to use the same header on your cover letter that you used for your resume. Again, opt for a simple font and make sure your letter fits on one page. You should divide the content into several paragraphs (three to five, max.) to make it easier and more enjoyable to read. And again, you should convert it to PDF format to send by email.
The recruiter will look at your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it’s up to date and includes the required photo and professional description.
The cover letter: share your story Quebecers like to get to know the person behind the words and the personality behind the facts, and to know who they’re dealing with, whether it’s in person or on paper. That’s why it’s important to include a cover letter with your resume. The cover letter isn’t always required but it is always welcomed, and it’s a great way to complement your resume. It’s your chance to tell a story that will make the recruiter want to meet you!
Choose your content wisely
Start by mentioning how you became aware of the position, then detail what interests you about the job and how it aligns with your experience, skills or career path, etc. Next, give a brief summary of your background and explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job. And be convincing! This is your chance to sell yourself. Finally, talk about the values that are important to you and that are in line with those of the company. Close by letting the recruiter know that you’re available for an interview or to answer any questions.
Think about what the company is looking for and then explain how you could deliver it (with your network of contacts, for example). Feel free to mention any concrete achievements, sharing specific examples.

Pro tips for a pro cover letter
Create a cover letter that lets your unique skills and personality shine through, making sure to adapt the content for each potential employer to show you’ve done your research. Generic letters can be easily misunderstood—and easily overlooked. Refer back to your resume and make sure you present your background and skills, rephrased each time to avoid repetition.
When you’re looking for a job, you need to be prepared for every opportunity. You can find a host of resources online to help you brush up on your interview skills and stay a step ahead.
Try to include keywords included in the job posting. If the employer is looking for someone who’s able to manage several tasks at once, for example, you can mention that in your previous job, you were asked to manage multiple projects at the same time. And last but not least, make sure you check your spelling before you hit “send.”
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