Where are all the jobs? Tips for new grads

Finding a job can be frustrating for recent college and university graduates who are confronted with a competitive job market after years of dedicated hard work. Fortunately, these easy-to-follow tips can help young people get a foot in the door.

Know your industry. Many new grads make the mistake of looking for specific jobs right out of the gate. Take time to really get to know the industry you want to enter. Learn about the companies in that field and what they're about. You can even use census data from Statistics Canada to narrow down the occupations with the strongest job growth and cities with the highest employment rate. Once you know who's looking for people, where they are and what they need, you can start tailoring your resume to fit the bill.

Build your brand. Brands aren't just for the companies looking to hire people like you. Companies have them because they build identity and recognition faster than any other method. Take advantage of the tactic yourself. It can be as simple as unifying the design on your business cards, cover letter and resume. Present a consistent and appealing brand image in your social media, then back up what you conveyed through your brand when you meet your potential bosses.

Do your homework. Got an offer? You aren't home free yet. It can be tough to figure out what salary to ask for and how the job compares to similar positions at other companies. Searching census data can help here as well. Look up salaries for an occupation and the area you'll be working in to see how your offer measures up. Cross-compare with other areas. You can even check out the commute time for residents in a specific city to get an idea of what your commute time might look like. Information is your greatest tool, and it's free. Make sure you take advantage of it.