Rédiger CV au Québec,

How to write a CV in Quebec?

Many people, especially newcomers to Quebec are wondering how to write their Curriculum Vitae.

Considering that an employer scans your CV for only six seconds to see if your profile matches, here are a few tips to prevent your precious work from quickly collecting in the trash.

First, the notion of Curriculum Vitae is not the same in Canada as it is in Europe or elsewhere.

Curriculum Vitae OR « RESUME » ?

In Europe, there is no difference between "resume" and CV, while in North America, the concept is completely different. A "resume" is a page with an overview of your work experience, diplomas, qualifications. Ultimately, a "resume" could be used to apply for jobs that require few qualifications or for companies that are getting on fast.

A CV, on the other hand, is a more academic work, which includes your work experience, your achievements and other things. It is strongly recommended not to exceed three pages.

In practice, there are two models of CV: chronological and functional. It can also have a combination of both.  


This type is the most widely used at present. It is about writing in chronological order your work experiences and the diplomas obtained. Always start with the most recent experiences.

This model is simple, easy to read and appreciated by employers. However, it is recommended in an ideal world. People with long periods of absence from the labor market or with frequent job changes will be at a disadvantage. Likewise, newcomers with no experience in Canada.


This type of CV highlights your work experience and knowledge. This model is best suited for jobs that require specific skills. It also hides periods without work or frequent job changes. In writing, start with your personal data and then your diplomas obtained. Emphasize your expertise in highly qualified areas (knowledge of one or more programming software, language skills, specializations, etc.).

When it comes to your language skills, be frank and don't overdo it. It is taken for granted that in Quebec, you must master French enough to meet the work requirements. Be sure to fill this gap, especially if your job involves filling out long reports, hosting meetings and talking on the phone with clients. Otherwise, you will exasperate your boss and your co-workers, and you risk being fired quickly.

Contrary to what most people think, being bilingual does not necessarily mean speaking French and English perfectly. There may be bilingual people Spanish-French or any other language. "Functional" is a better qualifier than "good" to describe linguistic proficiency and, "knowledge" better than "a little". If your knowledge of Spanish comes down to « quiero una cerveza », so it's best to mark nothing. Don't try to impress your employer with your language skills, especially if the job you are applying for is unrelated. Often this can be taken for snobbery, lack of modesty or even, you may be considered too qualified for the job in question. If the work is rather manual, it is more important to write the three « skills » sought by most employers: « good physical condition », « working », « punctual ».

Personally, I have successfully used a combined (mixed) resume template that includes the following sections, in order: Personal information, " SKILLS », « FORMATION », « RELEVANT EXPERIENCE », « OTHER WORK EXPERIENCES », « WRITTEN AND SPOKEN LANGUAGES », « COMPUTER SKILLS », « OTHER ACTIVITES », « HOBBIES "To finish with the famous sentence:" REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST ».

For personal information, try to be as discreet as possible. Summarize the name and contact information (address, one or two phone numbers, email). Do not put your marital status, Canadian status, social insurance number or other confidential information.

In Canada it is frowned upon to put your photo on the Curriculum Vitae, except if it is a job where physical appearance is important (waiter / waitress, mannequin, etc.). However, a link to one of the social networks (LinkedIn for example) is used more and more. On the other hand, be careful what you post on your Facebook; better make the contents of your account visible only to friends.

In category, RELEVANT EXPERIENCE, don't forget to make a list with 3-4 very short paragraphs to mention your main tasks that you had to accomplish (for example: "3D modeling in AutoCAD"). Be modest and honest, as with language skills.

The layout is also extremely important. Don't load your CV unnecessarily, it should look clean, easy to read and understand. Do not use abbreviations unless you have no other alternative or if you really lack the space. Do not try to do your Curriculum Vitae in color, it is useless (unless you are applying for a job related to graphic design). On the contrary, it can harm you, because they circulate a lot, are often photocopied and sent by fax (yes, many companions still use them today) and the pale colors may become unreadable.

For font, use « Comic Sans MS » it’s not really the best idea. Prefer the classic style better : Garamond, Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana. If you really want to impress your employer, Helvetica is a good alternative.

It is strongly recommended not to abuse your imagination and to limit yourself to a maximum of three fonts. Try to alternate the height of your font for titles, without using too many capital letters, because this type of font gives a connotation of aggressiveness. A height of 12 is fair for most content.

Before sending your CV, do not forget the cover letter which is also extremely important to talk about your personal motivation. Read them two or three times and, if you need to, have someone correct them. You can of course ask an expert to write them for you for peace of mind. Express CV can help you write and revise your CV at low cost.

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