Entry-level jobs can sometimes get a bad rep, even though they can actually be great opportunities for you to get your foot in the door at a great company. We’ve all heard some horror stories or heard some conflicting information, we’re here to beat some of the most common misconceptions about entry-level jobs.
I don’t have enough experience to get an entry-level job.
We’ve all been there – you’re reading a job description that sounds perfect for you, and then at the bottom the requirements list “1-2 years experience preferred.” Suddenly, it doesn’t seem very “entry-level” after all. However, one mentor gave me a great piece of advice that often, companies will put this strictly to weed out candidates that don’t feel like they can argue their case on why they should be hired. If you’re fresh out of college, you probably only have an internship or two, and maybe a summer job, under your belt. Looking at the description, that might not seem to be enough, but if you can display your amazing personality, passion, and talk about the skills you can bring to the table, you have just as much of a shot at the position as the person who does have those 1-2 years of preferred experience.
I have too much experience to get an entry-level job.
Conversely, maybe you feel like you have too much experience to be applying to entry-level. But I’m here to tell you that that isn’t always the case. Especially if you’re switching gears – maybe you majored in History but want to pursue a career in Sales, or you worked in Hospitality for years and are now looking to work in Public Relations – entry-level is the best way for you to gain some hands-on experience that will carry you forward. Plus, having this extra experience can often be beneficial to the company because you’re able to offer a different perspective that maybe they didn’t consider without your background.
Entry-level jobs are only for recent graduates.
Going off the last point, this is also not true. Just about anyone can benefit from an entry-level job. A lot of people will tell you that it’s important to not have too big of a “gap” on your resume, but really, that depends on who’s doing the hiring. If you took a couple of years after graduation to travel and volunteer, put that on your resume! Yes, you’ll likely be applying to entry-level positions when you return but most hiring teams will love to hear about your time abroad and the experiences you had. In fact, more and more people are choosing to not immediately go to work after graduation, and participating in other experiences first. These sorts of things can be a great resource for a company, so don’t feel ashamed if you have to start “entry-level” when you’ve been out of college for a while already.
I’m at the bottom of the totem pole, so, nobody will care what I do.
Speaking from experience, even when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak, your supervisor will be watching you, and they will care what you do (and don’t) do on the job. They hired you for a reason, and they want you to succeed because that makes them look good, too. Making sure that you have a good attitude and are consistent in your work, responsible, and constantly pushing yourself will also increase your chances of a quicker promotion, or at least a great reference should you decide to pursue a different opportunity!
This job won’t take me anywhere, it’s a dead end.
Did you know that Howard Putnam, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines and then Braniff International Airways, started out as a baggage handler for an airline when he was only 17? Or that the current CEO of Planet Fitness started out with the company as a part-time front desk member while he was in college? The point is that any job can lead to amazing opportunities. One of the best quotes I’ve ever been told is to, “Bloom where you’ve been planted.” Take advantage of every experience you have and see where it takes you. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the CEO!
I need a job – ANY JOB – so I’ll take any entry-level job I can to have something to put on my resume.
While experience is great to have, if it doesn’t correlate to what you want to do long-term, it might not be in your best interest to take a position just for the sake of having something to put on your resume. My advice would be to make a list and see if there are at least 3-5 transferable skills between the position you’re looking at and what you envision to be your “dream job,” and if there are at least a few things that can be used to help you down the road, then go for it. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to keep searching for something that’s a little bit more in line with what you’re hoping to do later in life.
It’s just an entry-level job, I don’t need any help getting one.
Entry-level jobs can have just as much competition as any other job, so it’s important to prepare for it just like you would a higher level position. Look into utilizing your school’s Career Services department for help with your search, and see if they have someone available to take a look at your resume and cover letter before you submit your application.
Entry-level jobs are mundane and give you no responsibility.
This definitely depends on the company, but often, you’ll be given just as much responsibility as anyone else there. Every position matters and even if you don’t see the impact your job is making, there’s a good chance that the work you’re doing is supporting someone else and their work, which is making a difference in the company as a whole. They can also be a lot of fun! New positions are popping up all the time, and you might just find the most interesting entry-level job out there that makes work much more exciting.
Remember that entry-level jobs are there for a reason – they give you experience, help you get your foot in the door, and teach you what you do and don’t like, which helps you figure out your long-term goals a little bit better. Nobody wakes up Vice President, it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and determination, but if you enjoy your entry-level role for what it is, you can get to where you want to be in no time!