Applying for a Job

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Before applying for an engineering job in Canada, you will need to prepare an employment application, which should include a résumé, sometimes known as a CV or curriculum vitae and cover letter, and may also include academic documents and reference letters. All of these are described below.


What are a curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter?

Your CV—often also called a résumé—is the most important document you will give a potential employer. It describes your education, work experience, skills and contact information.

Résumés do not include personal information such as your age, picture, Social Insurance Number, marital status or religion.

Your cover letter introduces you to a potential employer. It should include your contact information, how you found out about the job you are applying for and how your skills and experience make you a good candidate for that job. It should be no more than one page long. It is very important that your cover letter and résumé are written in grammatically correct English or French.

When preparing to apply for a job, the cover letter and résumé should be tailored for the specific role.  Search online for engineering-specific and/or job-specific language. Knowing the exact phrases and engineering terminology will help you write your résumé and cover letters.

For information on applying for a job, visit the Working in Canada website.


What is a reference letter?

In addition to your résumé and cover letter, a potential employer may want to see reference letters or speak with someone who can provide a reference for you. A reference letter is a document written by a former employer, client or professor that describes your personal qualities—for example, how well you work with others. It should be no more than one page long. 

Depending on the job, a potential employer may ask for one to three reference letters, though there is no standard rule. Most important are that your reference letters be positive and include the full name, current contact information and professional designation of the person referring you. It is best to provide reference letters from people in varying professions and, if possible, from both overseas and Canada.


Will employers want to see my academic documents?

A potential employer may want to see your academic documents, such as degrees, certificates and transcripts. These must be translated into English or French, depending on the employer. Check with your potential employer for specific requirements—you may need to use an approved translation service (if so, you will have to pay for the translation) and provide certified translations, original documents or copies notarized by a lawyer.

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