Looking for a job in the U.S. from Canada can be a stressful process, especially if you are applying for positions where you have little relevant experience. Whether you are just graduating from school or trying to change careers, you can still come up with a great resume that will impress employers and get you interviews. With a little effort, you can convince hiring managers that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.
Use a Functional Resume
A functional resume emphasizes the skills you bring to the table, putting only secondary focus on items such as work history. The main difference from a traditional resume is the experience section, which should be located right after the summary at the top of the page. When you apply for a job in the U.S. from Canada, your experience section should be organized according to the kinds of skills you possess. Instead of listing your work positions and what you did there, describe the knowledge and abilities you gained that are relevant to the posted job description.
For example, if you are applying for an entry-level software development position, you should list languages and platforms that you are familiar with, projects you have completed and relevant coursework. This is what you want employers to see at the beginning of your resume, not a list of your part-time cashier jobs, which you should summarize briefly in a work history section further down the page.
Highlight Universal Skills
There are some skills that are assets for anyone looking for a job in the U.S. from Canada. In addition to job-specific and technical skills, hiring managers look for “soft skills” such as time management, good communication and the ability to get along with others. Most employers want to see applicants who understand the importance of such skills in any workplace, even the most technical. Read the job posting carefully to understand a specific employer’s priorities and requirements; be sure to emphasize relevant skills and knowledge. List your skills under your experience section, then mention them briefly again under work history. If you are listing a customer service job, potential employers are likely more interested in the conflict resolution skills you gained rather than how good you got at folding shirts.
Transferable Skills Can Help You Get a Job in the U.S. From Canada
Whether you are a new graduate or moving to a different field after years of experience, you have done things that helped you acquire knowledge that will help you do a great job in this new position. Make sure your resume highlights these transferable skills so that hiring managers notice them right away. If you want to get a job in the U.S. from Canada, you need to convince employers that you have the right skills for the position. For example, if you have previously worked as an accountant but are now applying for a corporate management position, explain how your knowledge of accounting principles gives you a good understanding of corporate finance. Showcase your ability to work well with others and motivate those under your supervision.
Remember that employment is not the only way to gain relevant skills or experience. School, volunteer projects and extracurricular activities all offer many opportunities to acquire marketable qualifications. Include any such activities on your resume, connecting applicable skills directly to the posted job requirements.
Be Honest and Concise
Avoid the temptation to compensate for a lack of experience by inflating your resume with verbosity and buzzwords. Doing this makes it harder for employers to discern your actual qualifications. Hiring managers typically dislike being made to work to separate fluff from substance. Likewise, do not exaggerate or fabricate experiences or skills. Employers tend to discover these types of efforts and view them extremely unfavorably.
You don’t need to have extensive experience to land a good entry-level job. A well-written resume that highlights your abilities and knowledge goes a long way toward showing employers that you are the right candidate for the position.