Have you spent hours applying to entry-level jobs only to hear, “you don’t have enough experience for the position"? Why do they call it entry-level and then expect you to have years of experience? We will break down the two struggles of the interview process, and exactly how to apply for entry-level jobs.
Struggle 1: I am applying for jobs online but I am not getting any interviews.
Struggle 2: I have had a couple of interviews but I am not getting any job offers.
Struggle 1: Landing an Entry-Level Job Interview
Find Your Niche
The very first thing that any entry-level professional needs to do is to find their niche. Everybody is unique and has had life experiences that are different from one another. So, what is your niche? Are you an athlete? An A+ student? Are you great at fixing things?
Are you the type of person that everybody wants to be around? Maybe you are just a grumpy old man looking for your very first job at the age of 93. Whatever it is, you are 100% unique and I promise that there is something about you that someone else wishes they possessed.
Once you have found your niche (the thing that makes you unique), it is time to write about it.
Craft A Resume
What is the main place that you can write about your skills and expertise and send it to someone looking to hire? You got it, your resume! Now, I know that resumes are a pain so if you are not the best resume writer then just go online and do a quick search on How to Write a Professional Resume. If you still don’t want to learn how to do one on your own, then you can always hire a resume writing service to do the work for you.
The bottom line is if you are an entry-level professional looking to apply for entry-level jobs you are going to have a little bit harder time trying to fill up that resume. Assuming you have little to no work experience, you are going to need to write about your niche! Instead of a “Job Experience” section, maybe you can have a “Project” or “Personal Experience” section. Depending on the job you are going for, this experience will vary.
Here is an example of some skills you could use if you were a recent college graduate seeking a career in finance with no paid work experience throughout college.
- Finance Major who excelled in all Finance courses.
- Responsible for managing personal finances throughout college without accumulating unnecessary debt.
- Assisted other students with financial aid paperwork.
- Member of the Financial Management Association (FMA) Club
- Applied and qualified for student loans, grants, and financial aid.
- Proficient in Excel, JMP, and PowerPoint
- Volunteer w/ Cancer Society, collecting and managing donations.
All of this can be considered experience although it is not necessarily from a paid job. If you have had an internship or part-time work, that is even better! If you are changing careers and acknowledge that you need to start in an entry-level role; you will have a little bit easier time with this since you already have some work experience (relevant or not).
One of the worst things someone could do when attempting to apply for entry-level jobs is being unrealistic with the job you are going to get. Sorry, you probably aren’t going to land a 6-figure income right out of college. I know, I know, I just crushed your dreams and goals, but someone had to. Remember, I am here to help. The average salary for someone with a Bachelor’s Degree fresh out of college is just over $50,000. If the job you are applying to says that they are looking for someone with 5 years of paid experience in X industry, then it is most likely a waste of time to apply to that job if you have 0 years of experience. Pretty simple, right?
Now that you have realistic expectations, you have discovered your niche, and you have crafted a professional resume, it is time to start applying for jobs. If you are unsure how to apply for entry-level jobs online, take a look at How to Apply for Jobs Online.
Furthermore, if you do not know where to apply for jobs, take a minute to glance over Where to Apply for Jobs Online. Assuming you know how and where to apply for jobs online and have begun to do so, I will move on to the second struggle of the interview process.
Struggle 2: Landing an Entry-Level Job Offer
If you have mastered the steps listed above and began to apply for entry-level jobs you are most likely getting calls about different job offers. Congrats! You are already 80% of the way there. Did you know that on average only 20% of the people that apply to jobs actually ever get a callback for the job?
Landing an entry-level job offer can be tough. One thing that you should be doing once you get a call from a recruiter or hiring manager is embellishing a bit. If you think that the guy who got the job instead of you didn’t embellish, you are gravely mistaking my friend. What do I mean by embellishing, well I do not mean lie; this would be immoral. What I mean is, have some confidence!
If there are two people with 100% equal skill sets but the hiring manager asks, “How would you rank your ability to speak with customers?”
- Job seeker A says: I am an absolute pro. I speak with customers in my sleep and when I wake up in the morning, I eat, breathe, and think about speaking to customers, (please do not eat your customers).
- Job seeker B says: I like to think that I am pretty good at speaking with customers.
Who do you think is going to give this hiring manager more peace of mind? The guy who is all about the customer, or the guy who thinks he is pretty good.
All jokes aside, if you are not confident in your abilities to do the job, then how can you expect the recruiter or hiring manager to be confident in you?
Woohoo! Yippee-ki-yay! Heck yes, brother!
Yep, I went there. This is the kind of excitement that you should bring to your interview. I do not mean literally scream these things at the guy/gal giving you a call but inside, you should be fired up! Why? Not just because you are a 20%er getting a phone call for an interview. But also because if you are not excited about the job you are getting a call for, you can guarantee that the person calling you will feel insulted and unappreciated.
It is crucial to do everything in your power to show this hiring manager that you are pumped up about their company. The person calling you chose to make a career with this company. Show them that you think they are the coolest thing since crushed ice for being a part of that company.
With just a tiny bit of embellishment and the right amount of excitement, you are going to meet these hiring manager’s minds! Good luck!