Figuring out the best resume format to use in the U.S. can be challenging if your work experience has been in Canada. You may need to unlearn many of the things you've picked up about writing a resume. Which particular format you should use will differ depending on your skills and what industry segment you're planning to work in.
Figuring Out the Best Resume Format for a Canadian Resident of the U.S.
There are two main things for you to consider when choosing a resume format. Certain types of creative job openings usually pair well with functional resumes, which emphasize your unique skill sets in place of a solid work experience section. Most employers, however, want to see a chronological list of jobs you previously held.
Another thing to consider is how much time has elapsed since you were last employed. If you're moving straight from your last job to your new one, then a chronological resume is usually the way to go. If there are gaps in your employment history, then a functional resume is a useful way to draw attention to your skills and abilities while drawing attention away from the employment gaps.
If you're applying for any sort of technical or management job, a chronological format is the best resume format because it shows how capable you are of handling organizational tasks. Likewise, if you have held a number of other jobs without a gap in work history, then a chronological resume is probably the best format for you. Keep in mind that any jobs you held in Canada before coming to the United States should be included in your work history segment.
Which Sections to Include in Your Resume Pages
Flow is very important when choosing which sections go into a resume. This is especially true if you're using a chronological format. Your reader will expect to see your information organized like a timeline that appears in reverse chronological order. Education and job history information will take up the bulk of your resume. It's ideal to include your educational experience along with your work experience section in a majority of cases, regardless of what country you went to school in.
Write out the titles of jobs that you held along with the names of the companies for which you worked in either country. Include your employment dates and locations as well. Underneath this information, outline the responsibilities that you held at each of these positions as well as specific achievements. Be completely honest, and aim for brevity.
Tips for U.S. Residents from Canada
Grammar and spelling differ slightly in Canada and the United States. Check over your resume to ensure that everything is written in a way that seems natural to an American reader. This step is important regardless of what you thought was the best resume format for your job. You should set your word processing software's spell-check function to flag words based on American spellings.
American dictionaries and lists of differences between Canadian and American spellings are helpful when it comes time to check over your resume. If your first language is French, then have a native English speaker read over your resume to ensure that certain phrases or keywords are not misused.
You might still be unsure as to the best resume format for your specific situation, but there are plenty of resources for Canadian residents of the United States at LiveCareer. You'll find whatever it is that you need to get started on writing the resume that's suited to getting the job you want.