EXPERTS WANTED: Evolving Expectations at the Entry Level

81bw6nzlhcl-_sl1500_Millennials will tell you that entry level jobs want you to have 30 years of past work experience, 4 degrees and your own famous non-profit charity. Starting out means more contribution than it does learning experience and growth nowadays, so how can we compete?

I wanted to explore this idea, and the reason why Entry-Level jobs want you to enter with a near-genius expertise, in comparison to the generations before.

Fast Company published an article last year, Why Do Employers Expect More Of Entry-Level Employees Than Ever Before? and the facts really got me thinking.

It says that, “According to a recent study by Harris Poll, commissioned by education-technology company Fullbridge, 27% of the 319 executives surveyed said they form an opinion of entry-level employees in less than two weeks, and 78% decide in less than three months whether or not that employee will be successful”

What does this mean for us now? Is this sink-or-swim pressure really all the job market has to offer? How do we maneuver this fresh out of college?

It’s all about striving to meet the expanding expectations of the workforce. Wall Street Journal explains in their 2014 article, Where Did All the Entry-Level Jobs Go?,  that positions are being bumped up the food chain.

“The job titles are the same, but the responsibilities have shifted significantly from a few years ago. Instead of memorizing 15 or 20 steps in a calculation process, fund accountants at the bank now must be able to identify anomalies, help resolve software glitches and figure out which other teams they should work with. In some cases, they must also call clients directly, Ms. Horgan said, putting a new premium on people skills.”

Furthermore, the article goes on to explain, “Entry-level workers are now being assigned thinking roles, as opposed to “just following a checklist,” said David Vogel, who manages the undergraduate career-development office at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. “It raises the bar on the types of work that can be done by the entry-level hire, as opposed to eliminating the need.”

The parallel dynamic at work here is that the training budget is decreasing. The Wall Street Journal goes into detail on the pressure this puts on entry level positions. This means you need to be sharp, highly-skilled and ready to play ball from day one.

According to Nicole Cox, the chief recruitment officer of recruitment solutions provider Decision Toolbox (from the FC article), the sure-fire way to success is strong interview with mutual communication. Clarity is key. Interviews should benefit both ways and provide mutual information, so utilize this time to truly ask the interviewer what they expect from you exactly.

Carpenter Olsen (from the FC article) said it best. “”[Young professionals] should walk into the game knowing all the rules and how to play it,” she said. “From day one you want to demonstrate that you’re actually going to make a difference, and they would really miss you if you left.”

It doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy, and it’s hardly fair, but it’s an idea that’s moving the workforce forward and encouraging students to go above and beyond. It’s an almost impossible demand, asking for a seasoned professional for an entry level position, but it is definitely not impossible to succeed. Find you niche, make your impact and prepare for all the exciting opportunities to come. If you need to be challenged to succeed, in this workforce you’ll soar.

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