Why Entry Level Jobs Are No Longer "Entry Level" Jobs & Require 2+ Years Of Experience
Like many recent graduates looking for their first corporate job, the first thing you would do is visit job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor to discover the pool of new entry-level job opportunities. As you scroll through the job boards and see all these positions various companies are offering with compelling missions, job responsibilities, and job functions with your experience level set as “Entry Level”, you stop and see this sentence that discourages you from applying. “We would love to hear from you if: You have 2+ years of experience in relevant positions or industry knowledge.”
Or, to give you more of a visual idea, you probably saw something like this with a long list of job requirements:
Or something like this:
As a recent graduate, you are reading through the long and exhaustive list of requirements filled with disappointment and probably think to yourself, “I am for sure not going to qualify because I just graduated, and at most, I have 1-year of the internship experience.” We get it, and we are with you. It can get super frustrating to come across multiple job listings like these. Olivia Tan, the Co-Founder of CocoFax, says that more than 60% of job listings for entry-level jobs aren’t for people just entering the workforce. Well, what to do now as someone who just freshly got out of college and needs a job to pay the bills and more? In this article, we will talk about why entry-level jobs in today's market aren’t entry-level job positions anymore and how recent graduates could pivot their way in getting into these job opportunities.
First and foremost, why are entry-level jobs now looking for 2+ years of relevant experience?
Most of us here reading this article imagine “entry-level” as someone who has zero experience; however, “entry-level” is subjective and differs from company to company. You could already imagine recruiters receive tons and thousands of applications each day, to help recruiters lessen their workload, requirements like years of experience are set as a filter to bring more qualified candidates into the ATS pipeline. Sally Stevens, the HR Consultant & Co-Founder at FastPeopleSearch.io, says sometimes it is hard for companies to train their employees from scratch; therefore, including a specific year of experience is one of the ways to filter out unqualified candidates to speed up the hiring process. In addition, entry-level or junior positions usually consist of people in the workforce for around 2-3 years, too. So, technically, they are not wrong; employers are simply looking for candidates with more relevant experiences.
Now that we have it out of the way let’s not get discouraged because it is a subjective term and differs from companies. Instead, here are some ways that recruiting experts suggested to help you get your resume seen and ultimately land a job that asks for 2+ years of experience.
Include transferable skills from school/previous internships
In today’s job market, skilled employees are in high demand because, simply, businesses are growing and competing with each other. To keep up with the market and boost your chances as a recent graduate, Alina Clark, Co-founder of CocoDoc, suggests that industrial training, like internships or apprenticeships, will play a considerable part and may benefit you in the long run.
In addition, Andrew Fennell, a former recruiter and currently the Director at StandOut CV, suggests recent graduate candidates “market the skills that were gained on a voluntary basis, as these can provide the edge on the competition while bridging any employment or internship-based skills gaps.”
This is your chance and opportunity to get creative to use your experiences, courses, clubs, or organizations to prove why you’re a great candidate!
Apply the 80% rule
Now, there is no golden rule on whether you will or will not get hired. However, many career coaches suggest that candidates apply for the jobs if their experiences and skills fit 80% of the job requirements, because in reality, no one fit 100% of the job description. Before finding the matches of skills within the job description, it is worth mentioning the “nice to haves” and “must-haves” skills recruiters often list in a job listing. “Nice-to-Haves” is usually used to indicate some plus or additional experience or skills that could benefit the role. While “Must-Haves” are the skills or experiences that the applicant must have on their resume to be considered. Recruiters have these two sections separated within a job listing to provide more context on what is regarded as an ideal candidate. At the same time, they would like to offer more room for applicants to apply.
Simply put, entry-level job seekers could use this to leverage their relevant skills gained from volunteering, internship, and project experiences to create some “nice-to-haves” skills while fulfilling the 80% golden rule. Not sure whether you fit 80% of the job description with your resume? Tools like JobSeer provide an instant match score and tell you your true candidacy by parsing your resume and the job description, so you can spend less time manually looking for the perfect match.
Network with employees and ask for referrals
While entry-level jobs sound like it is for people who have zero experience, the reality in today’s market is that workers need something more than just a college degree to enter the workforce. One excellent resource to help recent graduates land a job is networking and getting referrals to help pivot through these complex applications and detailed job listing requirements through this “inside track”.
According to Careerxroads, a referred job seeker is up to 14x more likely to be hired than someone who applies without any referrals. In addition, Shelley Piedmont, a career coach and a former recruiter, suggests that if job seekers are referred, they will generally be on top of the pile. Now, you can say referrals are the ultimate golden ticket to get your feet wet in the corporate world.
So when is the right time to ask for a referral as an entry-level candidate?
It is always great to start a conversation or develop a professional relationship before asking for a referral. As someone who is referring to you, they know you and know that you will be a good fit for the position their company is hiring for. Therefore, it is essential to develop a professional relationship and allow them to know your work before properly asking for that referral. To help you get started, JobSeer provides insider employee contact information to help you boost your chances of getting hired.
Although entry-level jobs are not entry-level as we expected anymore, there are ways for job seekers to leverage their experiences and skills and get their feet wet into the corporate world. With the high demand for skilled employees and talent, let’s not get discouraged by the “years of experience” requirement; instead, try alternative and innovative ways to get hired!
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