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This article was originally published by Canada Career Consortium. Canada Career Week content has been reproduced (adapted) from Canada Prospects, 2007-2008.

The Canada Prospects Youth Research Team crossed the country to discover what job seekers like you need to know about employment in Canada. Read on to learn the answers to your most common questions.

Salary

How do I negotiate a fair salary?
First, research the going rate for your line of work in your area of the country. Ask people you know who have similar jobs. Also, check for advertised salary ranges on competing companies' job postings. Second, consider carefully your skills and experience. Think of how you can apply these to meet the needs of your potential employer. Base your asking wage on how clearly you can demonstrate your value to the company.

What is a reasonable entry-level salary in my field?
Log on to Service Canada's labour-market website and click on 'wages and salaries' in the left-hand menu. A page will open that enables you to specify the province and local area for which you would like information. Click on the 'search' button when you have made your selection and confirm your choice. The average, high and low wages are listed for every category of job. The salaries for entry-level positions are typically close to the 'low wages'.

Education

How important are marks to getting a job?
Your school grades are one of several criteria your potential employers will use to evaluate your job qualifications. Don't fret if not all your marks are as high as you'd like. Your experience, work ethic, interpersonal skills and overall education are usually more important. Keep in mind that you should not indicate your school grades on your résumé unless requested to do so by a potential employer. Be sure, however, to highlight any awards or recognition you earned for your academic work.

How does my coursework compare to the demands of the industry?
While the answer varies depending on your field of work and training program, it is normal to feel nervous about your transition into the world of work. Not only will you need to change your daily routine, but you will also be working with new people in an unfamiliar work environment. Ask if your employer offers orientation sessions or if there is someone to answer basic questions and help you settle into your new post.

Cover Letter & Résumé

How do I write a good cover letter and résumé?
Check out www.canadaprospects.com for résumé and cover letter dos and don'ts, and visit www.theresumebuilder.com to create a résumé using online templates.

Types of Work

What is a contractor? And how does one get involved in contract work?
A contractor is a self-employed individual who provides a service or product in exchange for payment. Contractors often bid for work, submitting proposals, project budgets and schedules for the consideration of a potential client. The federal government posts its requests for contracting services online at www.merx.com.

How can you find out about an organization's work environment before becoming an employee?
Consider the size of the organization as well as its primary services and products. The colours, fonts and formality of the language used on the organization's website can also provide clues about the work environment. Your best opportunity will likely arise during the job interview. Take a look around you. How are people dressed? How are workstations organized? Are people friendly?

Location

What cities are good centres for my field?
For Canadian labour-market information, visit www.labourmarketinformation.ca. Maintained by Service Canada, the site offers detailed information about the relative number of employment opportunities in a given geographical area. Also, check out JobFutures for a compilation of up-to-date provincial and territorial labour-market resources.

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