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Why Call Jobs Entry-Level If They Aren't Actually Entry-Level?

If you’re currently a recent graduate or in the market for your first job, so long are the days where entry-level jobs are actually entry-level. 

These days, many entry-level jobs require prior experience, sometimes asking for even up to 3-5 years. But shouldn’t an entry-level job serve its purpose and be exactly what it’s meant to be – for people entering the workforce? Well, you’d think. Unfortunately, today’s reality is a little harsher than we’d like it to be. With large applicant pools and highly qualified candidates, it makes for stiff competition, and without experience, chances of securing employment feel harder than ever. 

Because of this, a handful of college students find themselves completing one or more internships in hopes of padding their resumes and increasing their chances of landing a good job. It’s also not uncommon to start early on. Many start their first internship during their first year at university, while some even start as early as high school. Internships have seemed to replace entry-level jobs in terms of actually being entry-level. But they are oftentimes time-consuming, unpaid, and in major cities, so students who don’t have the time, funds, or access might find themselves straggling behind. This disproportionately harms those who didn’t or aren’t able to complete internships, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to finding their first ‘entry-level’ job.

It’s a Catch-22 situation. In order to get a job, you need experience. But in order to get experience, you need a job. Employers no longer seem to trust recent graduates with no experience for entry-level positions. Instead, the responsibilities that were once assigned to entry-level jobs are now being passed onto the interns, so the entry-level jobs of today are now asking for more. More what? More everything– more skill, more experience, and more responsibility. Essentially, they want more for less.

Internships aren’t the only reason we’ve seen the rapid disappearance of true entry-level positions; technology also plays a large role in this. With the advancement of artificial intelligence, automated systems, and technology in general, the work of an entry-level employee can now be done faster and more efficiently. 

But let’s say you’ve done your fair share of internships, and you’ve built your skill set; unfortunately, the job search still may not be easy. The hiring process tends to favor those with connections. Regardless of which industry you’re in, connections are everything. All throughout college, my professors would make it a point to emphasize how important networking is. “Network, network, network!” It’s all about the people you know and the people those people know. These connections can be the reason you get your next job because employers are more inclined to hire a candidate who has been referred by a trusted source.

So what does this mean for Gen Z as more of us continue to enter the workforce? Well, whether or not employers understand, the job market is rough, and all we can do is use everything at our disposal and try our best. Each and every one of us is trying to make it in our respective fields, and we cannot let intimidating job requirements prevent us from trying.


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