What should you change on your Latin American resume before you apply for a job in Canada or the United States?
Any changes you might need to make to your resume are primarily based on employment laws and regulations which are influenced by that country’s culture. Let’s start by saying that in Canada and the USA, companies and hiring processes are shaped by the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in America in order to promote skill-based hiring practices where the job will be offered to the candidate that matches the best the requirements of the job description (“JD”).
Employment Laws and regulations prohibit companies from declining applicants on subjective and/or non-skilled based; however, as the system is far from perfect and discriminatory practices still exist, regulations are in place to avoid employers falling into this practice.
“Discrimination is an action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively for reasons such as their race, age or disability. These reasons are known in Canada as grounds of discrimination and there are 11. Federal employers and service providers, as well as those of private companies that are regulated by the Federal government, cannot discriminate against individuals for these reasons”
Now, what is meant by “11 grounds of discrimination” and how is it related to what is considered to be a professional and a strong resume in Latin America?
Simple, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibit discrimination on these grounds:
- National or ethnic origin
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Family status
- A conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended
Discriminatory practices are several ways that a person could be discriminated against and the following three practices are prohibited by the Canadian Human Rights Act:
- Refusing to employ or continue to employ someone, or treating them unfairly in the workplace.
- Following policies or practices that deprive people of employment opportunities.
- Paying men and women differently when they are doing work of the same value.
Employers in Canada and he USA are not allowed to discriminate against their employees. In fact, they are obligated to make every effort to accommodate an employee’s individual circumstances that relate to protected grounds of discrimination. This law is called duty to accommodate”.
Duty to accommodate means that sometimes it is necessary to treat someone differently in order to be fair. For example, asking all job applicants to pass a written test may not be fair to a person with a visual disability. In such cases, the duty to accommodate may require that alternative arrangements be made to ensure full participation of a person or group. Employers have a duty to accommodate only when a person’s need or needs are based on any of the grounds of discrimination the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the USA.
That said, and if you are in the process of moving to Canada or USA and will be looking for a job during the next months, here are some tips of what you SHOULDN’T put in your resume and some examples of discrimination based on the various grounds:
Age: If an employer’s physical fitness requirements are based on the capabilities of an average 25 year old instead of being based on the actual requirements of the job (skills and experience), this may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of age.
Sex: a female employee with an excellent performance record announces that she is pregnant. Immediately, her employer begins to identify performance issues that lead to her dismissal. This may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of sex.
Marital Status: a company’s policy provides benefits to some married couples but not to others. This may be a case of discrimination based on marital status.
Children: After having a child, a woman cannot find childcare to continue working overnight shifts, and her employer does not allow flexibility by scheduling her on day shifts. This may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of family status.
For the following three samples, please note that candidates are not obligated to disclose any information related to religion, disability and pardoned conviction before a job offer has been received. There are exceptions to this rule based on the requirements of the job but the main message here is this information SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED on your resume.
Religion: an employer assigns her employees to weekend shifts without recognizing that some employees observe the Sabbath and cannot work on those days. This may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of religion.
Disability: an employer requires all employees to have a valid driver’s license as one of the task is the monthly visit to a site. People who cannot drive due to a disability are not given an opportunity to show how they could still perform the job by, for example, using public transit. This may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of disability.
- A person is denied a job because of a previous conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record has been suspended. This may be a case of discrimination based on the ground of pardoned conviction.
- Finally, there are a few things that I do not advise adding as they are not needed, will not be of any value to the application and, on the contrary, will reduce your chances of being considered for the position as mentioning them will show your lack of Canadian / U.S. working experience and culture exposure.
Also, be aware that nowadays with systematized hiring systems ATS (Applicants Tracking System). These systems are programmed to move to the next step applicants who submit resumes with information that match the hiring criteria. They can also store your information for ever.
Some of the items I recommend you DO NOT INCLUDE on your resume are:
- A list of all the courses you’ve taken to obtain your bachelor’s degree and/or schools attended to complete your elementary and high school. Unless you are just entering JD add to the resume the high school information (name, city and year of graduation).
- ID or personal identification # such as driver license, passport and medical numbers
- Parents and siblings names and/or addresses
Hope this article was useful for all of you and good luck writing your resume!!!!