What is an entry-level job? (Plus tips on how to get one)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 September 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Searching for an entry-level job is routine if you're new to the workforce or are starting employment in an unfamiliar industry or sector. Entry-level positions vary in the amount of education and experience required by an employer. Understanding what's expected in an entry-level role can help you search and apply for jobs that match your abilities. In this article, we explain what is an entry-level job, the features of this type of position and how to apply for one.

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What is an entry-level job?

Many people wonder 'what is an entry-level job?' when first entering the workforce. An entry-level job is a role for people with little training and experience. They may be full-or part-time roles and are often targeted towards school-leavers or recent graduates. Entry-level positions are prevalent in every industry and can vary significantly in their specific requirements.

Though some of these roles require an academic qualification, most entry-level employees develop skills that are relevant to the role through on the job training. You can then use the skills acquired in an entry-level job to gain a position at a higher level with the same employer or elsewhere.

Related: High Paying Entry Level Jobs

How to find an entry-level job

If your qualifications and work experience are limited, an entry-level job may provide the opportunity to build valuable skills and experience. Finding an entry-level job requires a focused job search to find the roles that are suitable for you. Here are the key steps for conducting an entry-level job search:

1. Evaluate your qualifications, skills and experience

Before undertaking your entry-level job search, take the time to list your current qualifications, skills and experience. If you've never been employed, you may still have transferable skills like listening, leadership and teamwork from extracurricular activities or volunteering roles. Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses enables you to more easily select roles that align with your abilities.

Related: How To Find the Best Jobs for You

2. Focus on specific sectors and positions

Entry-level varies between jobs and careers. This means that very different levels of qualification and experience are required to become suitable for a role. For example, an entry-level sales representative may only need to finish secondary education or college, whereas an entry-level lawyer may have completed an undergraduate degree.

If you're searching for entry-level positions online, you can filter roles to suit you and then use keywords to identify roles requiring little to no experience. Some of these keywords are:

  • entry-level

  • junior

  • starter

  • beginner

  • recent graduate

Jobcentres, local colleges and professional networking websites may assist you in finding suitable job openings. The Human Resources department of a large employer may be able to direct you to entry-level positions within their organisation if you contact them.

Read more: Guide: Using Indeed job search

3. Review job descriptions carefully

Ensure that you match the requirement of an entry-level job by reading the essential and desirable criteria for the job. You need to be able to match the minimum entry-level requirements stated to be eligible to apply.

When you find a position that is suitable, list your abilities clearly in your job application. You can do this by matching qualifications, skills, experience and keywords from the job description to the areas of your CV that match them.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

4. Think about your transferable skills

If you're seeking to start a career in a field unrelated to your existing skills and training, you may be able to demonstrate soft skills or transferable skills that would make you an advantageous candidate in an entry-level job in your desired new field. There may be junior positions that provide you with valuable experience that can be leveraged, in time, for a more senior role.

Look for entry-level roles that provide opportunities for training or career progression. Even if you're not a precise match, reach out to recruiters to explain your position and see if it would be appropriate for you to apply.

Related: Common Interview Questions For Graduates

The benefits of working in an entry-level position

Most careers begin with an entry-level position. When entering the workforce, you may find that salaries tend to be low, but entry-level employment usually delivers key benefits which can help you advance your career. These include:

  • Access to a new career. Entry-level roles are advantageous because candidates usually require the least amount of experience and few qualifications to fulfil them. This makes them ideal for new entrants to the workforce, such as school leavers or recent graduates, because they're capable of completing the tasks of the job without prior experience.

  • Less responsibility than an intermediate or senior role. Entry-level jobs lack the complexities or responsibilities of more senior positions within a company. A junior employee may find themselves completing monotonous or mundane tasks, but with motivation, there might be plenty of opportunities to explore and acquire experience.

  • Valuable training. Like an apprenticeship, a junior position may provide training so that new entrants can acquire the skills involved in their job. Employers vary in the level of structure that they provide, but most entry-level roles may be suitable for gaining the basic skills in a particular field.

  • A chance to gain experience. The employment experience gained is one of the most important aspects of working in an entry-level job, as it can be used to progress within the company or to move to a different, more senior position elsewhere. On-the-job experience gained in an entry-level position might make working in a similar but more senior role easier.

  • An opportunity to improve your CV. You can use a junior position to demonstrate core competencies and skills associated with a specific career. In addition, you may be able to obtain professional references that may be relevant to a subsequent employer.

  • The potential for promotion within the company. Entry-level and junior employees are constantly observed for their potential to move to other positions within a company. Supervisors and recruiters may seek to fill vacancies internally, and a well-motivated and competent junior member of staff may gain the opportunity to be promoted.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: How To Stand Out When Changing Careers

How to perform well in an entry-level job

Entry-level jobs provide excellent opportunities for acquiring valuable experience and may even create opportunities for more senior positions within an organisation. Here are some key tips to help you excel in an entry-level role:

1. Use all training and learning opportunities provided

An entry-level job is a great opportunity to acquire new skills if you're willing to accept all training opportunities. Training may bring you into contact with more senior members of your team who you can learn from. More senior colleagues may enable you to grasp how the organisation or industry you work in operates.

Related: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

2. Take the opportunity to network

Networking is the process of developing and maintaining professional contacts and can be advantageous to progression in your chosen career. Make sure to create professional relationships with your colleagues and senior members of the team. You can use these relationships to widen your understanding of how your organisation works, get insights into your industry and potentially receive new job opportunities.

3. Explore all potential career paths in your field.

Entry-level employees often have time available to investigate the various roles and career opportunities within a specific industry. If the role you're currently performing doesn't seem especially appealing to you in the future, you may get the chance to explore other roles in the same company. Many employers may provide opportunities to shadow other departments or observe key team members at work.

4. Seek out mentoring relationships or programmes

Many companies may provide a mentor to junior members of staff. A mentor is usually a more senior employee or executive who is able to help guide you as you progress in your chosen career. Mentoring relationships are designed to support your growth in training and experience to move up to more senior roles.

5. Use initiative

Maintain a motivated and responsive outlook while working in an entry-level job. A willingness to follow instructions and learn may leave a favourable impression on managers and colleagues. Demonstrating a positive attitude and consistency in your work may mean that you may be considered when a more senior job becomes available.

Show your supervisors and managers that you're enthusiastic about the company by asking questions and journaling your learning experiences. You can then share your thoughts at your work appraisal. Ask your supervisor for feedback and look for areas in which you can improve as you perform your duties and also as you move forward in your career.

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