FAQ: Why Do Entry-level Jobs Require Experience? (With Tips)

Updated November 28, 2022

Entry-level jobs often re quire minimal education and work experience. Despite this, many entry-level employers expect or encourage candidates to obtain relevant experience to ensure they can perform the required duties effectively. Learning why entry-level jobs require experience can assist you in understanding the qualifications required to get your ideal entry-level job.

In this article, we answer "Why do entry-level jobs require experience?", explain what you can expect from one, review how much experience you require, describe how you can gain experience, see what you can list instead of experience on your resume, and highlight how to get an entry-level job.

Why do entry-level jobs require experience?

If you are applying for entry-level jobs, you might wonder "Why do entry-level jobs require experience?". Many entry-level employers prefer candidates with previous experience despite the roles rarely requiring it. When candidates have some experience, be it from a previous role, internship, extra-curricular activities, or volunteering, it indicates to employers the types of skills a candidate may have and provides insight into the capabilities and interests of the candidate. While the role may not require any experience, and even when there's on-the-job training, you might have a better chance of gaining the attention of the employer if you list some experience on your resume.

Related: 15 Entry-Level Jobs That Pay Well

What can you expect from an entry-level job?

Organizations have unique hiring, onboarding, and training procedures, so your entry-level job experience may vary depending on the role you work. For example, an organization may have a more formal hiring and training process than others. Here's a list of other aspects you can expect from an entry-level job:

  • receive feedback

  • complete tasks that can teach you about the organization or business

  • gain various new skills

  • receive instructions and mentorship

Related: Understanding Entry-Level Jobs

How much experience do you require for an entry-level job?

Many entry-level positions require at least three years of professional experience. While employers may include this requirement in the job descriptions, you may qualify for the position based on your expertise and transferable skills. Hiring managers typically examine various factors when selecting a candidate for a position. If you don't have enough experience, you can highlight other qualifications that make you suitable for the position.

How can you gain experience?

Here are steps you can take to help you gain experience related to your ideal job:

Decide on your career path

Consider choosing a certain industry that interests you to start your career. While this may change in the future, it's beneficial to understand the roles that interest you before gaining experience. Choosing a specific industry enables you to seek possibilities that align with your possible career path and prepares you for opportunities in that field. Consider consulting with professionals in the industry for guidance.

Perform freelance work

Consider freelancing in the industry of your choice. This option is advantageous for you if you wish to work in a creative area or in roles where remote work is an option. Freelancing opportunities may differ based on the industry and intended position. You might contact particular businesses to determine if they offer freelance employment.

You can also explore freelance opportunities in your field on employment boards or acquire clients independently through your network or local community. Working as a freelancer enables you to earn relevant experience from various employers concurrently and construct a portfolio you may use to apply for other positions.

Related: Top 9 High-Demand Freelance Jobs (With Responsibilities)

Join a professional organization

There are different professional organizations for candidates in various industries. Benefits of joining these organizations include networking with other professionals, gaining new skills to enhance job performance, and exchanging advice on performing duties. It can also assist in finding internships and other chances for professional development. Before applying, confirm the requirements of your desired organization and confirm that you meet them.

Related: What Is a Professional Organization? (With Tips)

Get a part-time job

If your schedule permits, you may apply for part-time positions that offer your desired experience. These positions provide practical experience and the chance to learn on the job. They also allow you to network with professionals who can assist you in acquiring the skills essential to excel in your position.

Attend professional workshops

Professional workshops can help you gain new skills, enhance your knowledge, and keep you updated on current practices. It allows you to increase your employability and earning potential by expanding your knowledge and upgrading your skill set. These workshops may also offer you opportunities to practise your skills through simulated sessions of routine office procedures that involve practical tools.

Start a personal project

Personal projects are activities that you perform in your leisure time or independently. These tasks may assist you in learning and practising new skills. Consider developing a social media profile, a website, or a blog to share your projects. You may also publish your projects on various online sites to receive feedback from other professionals and grow your skills. Completing these tasks can aid in developing a professional portfolio to apply for new opportunities.

What can you use instead of experience on your resume?

On your resume, you may want to emphasize your relevant education over your work experience if you're a recent graduate. Consider the projects you worked on and the research you completed as you construct your resume. You can also consider the knowledge and skills you gained through these activities and record them. If the skills are transferable to the position you seek, you may wish to include them on your resume. Also, evaluating the extracurricular activities you engaged in during your academic career can be beneficial.

Evaluate your involvement in any student leadership or service-related positions and academic accomplishments. Consider your role in the organizations you participated in and identify similar tasks or skills to include on your resume. Employers can obtain a deeper knowledge of your interests and experience this way.

How do you get an entry-level job?

You can follow these steps to help you in getting an entry-level job:

Search for entry-level jobs

Different industries have various definitions for entry-level positions. For example, an entry-level doctor might require several years of school and experience. In contrast, an entry-level customer service assistant can often receive training on the job without previous experience. Utilizing keywords such as recent graduate or entry-level in your job search may be more effective.

You can use job boards or publications specific to your field if you're looking for a specific position. You can also contact your local job centre. Many organizations post job openings in colleges or universities to attract recent graduates. You can also submit your professional resume at a career fair. Suppose you have an interest in working for a certain company. In that case, you can search their website or social media for open opportunities and then apply.

Related: Top 9 Job Search Strategies (With Examples and Tips)

Review the job description

Review job descriptions to determine whether your qualifications align with the entry-level requirements. You may find this in the job posting's requirements section. Examine the section that includes a list of technical and soft skills to see if you possess the necessary education and experience. It may be beneficial to tailor your resume to the specifics of the job description. Consider including keywords and phrases from the job description and connect them to your responsibilities and skills. You can use specific keywords from the job description on your resume.

Highlight your strengths

Experience isn't the only factor a hiring manager considers when determining if a candidate can succeed in a job. You can show the employer that you have passion and are willing to learn by emphasizing the duties you performed in previous employment. Use your resume or cover letter to highlight your strengths to the hiring manager.

Related: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

Use your networks

You can use your current network to increase your chances of getting an entry-level job interview. People in your professional network may provide you with helpful advice or connect you to someone in your desired industry. Consider networking with people familiar with your work ethic and professional qualities, such as previous teachers, professors, colleagues, or supervisors. These people may also be ready to support your applications with recommendation letters.

Related: How to Build Your Networking Connections (With Tips)

Include any relevant experience on your resume

You can include any relevant experience on your resume even if you didn't get paid. For example, suppose you're applying for an entry-level public relations position and volunteered to lead and plan a campaign for an environmental non-profit organization for three consecutive summers. In that case, you can include this experience on your resume to strengthen your chances of getting the position. Your dedication to volunteer work displays your work ethic, initiative, and leadership skills.

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