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  • Nicky Webster-Hart

Entry level experience is just that

What is an entry level job?

When we think of an ‘entry level job’ it is fair to say that we naturally think that term refers to a bottom-level employment position in the company that generally does not require experience, training or higher level of education. It is often filled by recent graduates and gives them the opportunity to learn and gain experience.

So why then are we seeing ‘entry level’ roles advertised with experience required?

What do you need for an entry level job

Typically, entry-level jobs require between 0-2 years of experience which again, may be confusing as ‘entry’ should mean that experience is not needed. However, more things count as experience than you might think at first. For example, if you have been undergoing a degree or apprenticeship then during that time you may have done some work experience or undergone some research which involved projects in a particular field. This counts as experience. You may also have skills and experience in other sectors which you can transfer to this role.

Students have elected to remain in education longer

The global pandemic of COVID-19 saw many degree students choose to stay in academia after their degrees and study for a Masters, that way utilising (the initial) drop in employment opportunities and give themselves an edge in terms of qualification. With many degrees and Masters providing placements or work experience as part of the programme, this also shifted the needle for ‘entry level’ and experience requirements.

Let’s take a moment though and pause and look at this logically - entry level experience, is in reality, just that - the experience needed to enter into a profession whether undertaken as part of academia, training or voluntarily to understand the profession - this all counts as giving you the required experience to enter into that role. Which actually makes a lot of sense.

How does entry level experience work in practise?

Also let’s think this through, if there is a software business and are looking for ‘entry level’ candidates - they may have experience as a prerequisite, but relevant experience - ie: someone may have a degree in the particular software field, may have been working in an tech role so understands the software, may have undertaken an internship in a competitor organisation or had a placement or part-time work experience. Something that means that they understand the opportunity and what is needed and they are prepared for it. So again, some level of experience for an ‘entry level’ role does actually make sense.

Clarifying what entry level experience means

Yet there is still some confusion. So what can be done here to clarify the situation? Actually loads. How about when employers place job adverts for entry level positions, they list what experience they feel it is necessary to have in order to be ready to enter that role/profession. It could be a qualification or an amount of time in the profession and a willingness to progress further. Some work experience (whether paid or voluntary) is sufficient. It could be that professional training is enough as it is recognised that it includes a certain amount of work experience. The key here is clarity, as early as possible, as to the entry requirements otherwise there remains the misnomer of ‘entry level’ and ‘experience’ which initially make little sense.

Or we could stop using ‘entry level’ altogether and recognise that there are usually various different routes and starting points into a profession and start naming the opportunity for what it is and, as stated earlier, clearly define what the experience/skillset/qualifications are required.

Use this definition as a guide

Until then, you should remember my definition… “entry level experience, is the experience needed to enter into a profession whether undertaken as part of academia, training or voluntarily” and look at the role and (from a candidate’s view point) what have you done to give yourself the necessary experience?

Auxeris, the tech-enabled recruiter with the human touch can help both organisations and individuals understand routes into professions, at all levels.

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