Tips | Resume and Cover Letter Tips for International Students

Gaining experience in Canada can be very important for international students, especially if you are considering staying in Canada after graduation. Your resume and cover letter can help open some doors, but the format and style may be different from your home country. We have compiled some common tips about resumes and cover letters, which can help international students who are not familiar with the North American standards. Also, check out the sample for international students under our Resume and Cover Letter Toolkit.


1. Tip 1

Make sure you represent all your strengths, skills and experiences – include your paid and unpaid work, extracurricular activities, and volunteering experience. Use action words to articulate all relevant skills with concrete examples of how you developed each skill.


2. Tip 2

Experience in a family business can demonstrate a variety of skills; make sure you convey these to the employer.


3. Tip 3

Include your contact information, such as email address and phone number. Don’t include personal information such as age, marital status, visa status, social insurance number, or photo.


4. Tip 4

For your references, prepare a separate sheet with your reference information. Consult our References tip sheet for more information on this. Don’t include references on your resume - you only need the company/organization name, a city location and country if it is not located in Canada.


5. Tip 5

You may include fluency in languages, but you don’t need to list English, as fluency is assumed since you are studying at an English language university.


6. Tip 6

Include academic information from the last 2-3 years. If you are in your first or second year, you can include high school and related experiences. As you progress in your degree it is expected that you are gathering more recent experiences; therefore, high school experiences should be removed from your resume at this point.


7. Tip 7

Only include the submission date on the cover letter, not on the resume or references page.


8. Tip 8

Use standard business salutations (e.g. Ms, Mr, Dr) and then the person’s last name in the cover letter. When ending the letter, use “Sincerely” before your signature.


9. Tip 9

For all documents, check your grammar and syntax. Avoid flowery language or words that are not usually used in this context; ask us for advice if you are unsure.


10. Tip 10

Consult the Resume and Cover Letter Toolkit for tips on writing a good resume and cover letter. Also, we advise you to consult our resume and cover letter samples and checklists. We also hold resume and cover letter workshops. Check the events calendar to see when the next workshop is available.

For more information on job searching for international students, including work permits, on-campus opportunities, and obtaining a social insurance number, check out our Resources for International Students section. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Updated August 2021