The Erosion of Entry-Level Jobs: What Can This Year's New Students Do?

If you just completed (or recently completed) an MBA, chances are you will too Find a job.

You've probably gained some work experience during your time as a student: whether it's serving as a wait staff or doing a few summer internships, most graduates these days will have some experience of the working world.

Likewise, recent college graduates looking for their first real job are looking for entry-level jobs. You have the education you need, but you do not yet have solid work experience.

There are now 3 entry-level and graduate positions available

A position where you can enter at a level where you can gain great experience from senior team members, receive on-the-job training and learn a lot in the process sounds like an ideal solution.

The number of entry-level jobs is declining

Entry-level positions are important because they provide an important introduction to the workplace. That steep learning curve challenges you, but also gives you the opportunity to build important fundamental skills and knowledge for your chosen field.

However, data shows that entry-level jobs are being eroded. An analysis of approximately four million vacancies since the end of 2017 shows that 35% of them vacancies for “entry level” positions ask now for years of relevant work experience.

This is compounded by the fact that certain industries make this even more common. More than 60% of vacancies for entry-level positions in software and IT services required three or more years of experience.

Alan Seals, associate professor of economics at Auburn University points out that “The most important time in your career is the first three years. The quality of your first employer really matters. So, how do you get that first job?

Internships have become an increasingly important part of the work experience package for graduates. “Internships are now the entry level,” Seals confirms.

“Most students at university do or attempt to do internships, and now it is becoming more common to do more than one.”

Besides internships and summer work experience, what else can recent graduates do to help them take on their first real role in an increasingly competitive job market?

Do you want to apply immediately? The GradCafe Job Board is a great place to start your search

Your CV is one of the most important parts you have at this stage and optimizing it as much as possible will make a significant contribution to your success.

Show your skills

If you've only ever worked at a university waiting tables, retail, or bartending, it can be challenging to convey this information in a professional manner. So instead of saying, “I worked as a sales associate in the summer of 2024,” explain your experience.

Instead, try this: “During my time as a sales associate, I prioritized finding solutions to customer problems, demonstrated my time management skills, and worked with my team to solve problems and deliver excellent customer service.”

This clearly shows that you understand what work requires and that as an employee, regardless of industry, you can demonstrate that you have valuable skills.

Highlight your education and accolades

Your college degree is one of your best assets as an entry-level job candidate. At this stage it is appropriate to give more space on your CV to your education, so use this as an opportunity to extend your time at university.

Also mention your achievements. Athletic achievements, academic awards, societies and clubs you have participated in, or fundraising activities can all be used to portray you in a positive light.

Show your transferable skills

You may think your skills are lacking at this early career stage, but employers are looking for more than just technical or hard skills.

Companies increasingly value and look for employees who have transferable or portable skills. These are often categorized as soft skills but are no less important, so for example if you can demonstrate excellent communication, organization and attention to detail, leadership or relationship building, this will give you an advantage.

Think of times when you led group assignments, or how you led a social event at university, for example. By showing that you have developed these skills during your college career, you can make the case that you will be a truly effective team member for years to come.

Find a position that's perfect for you on The GradCafe Job Board

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