March 20, 2018
“Multi-skilled journalist. BA/BS in journalism, communications or related field. 2 – 5 years of experience preferred.”
I’m on the job hunt, and my desired industry, journalism, is highly competitive.
As a senior, it’s important for me to look now instead of later so I can get ahead. But the days when your bachelor’s degree is sufficient enough to get hired are long gone.
With three years of experience, I was confident about applying for a job that requires experience. However, for students without workplace experience, this requirement can look daunting, and it is because entry level jobs shouldn’t have the expectation of experience.
Entry level positions that require multiple years of experience defy the purpose of an entry level job: gaining experience. Requiring years of experience for an entry-level job sways students from applying, limiting their opportunities and hurting an employer’s ability to expand.
The unemployment rate for 20 to 24 year olds in Feb. 2018 was 7.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number has decreased — from 7.9 percent — since Feb. 2017, a somewhat positive development for those seeking a job.
Having an entry level job to get your foot in the door without a mountain of experience in the working world can be difficult to find.
Since the 2008 recession, companies have either cut or outsourced entry level jobs to save money.
This meant that those fresh out of college were required to be job-ready with a multitude of industry experience as soon as they applied, according to a 2014 article by the Wall Street Journal.
An entry level job traditionally means that a minimal amount of experience is required. “Entry level” jobs provide new graduates the opportunity to learn as they go and get into their desired industry, according to job search engine Snagajob.
Entry level jobs now look like internships, where experience can be gained to prepare for a “real” job in the industry. Some recruiters argue that internships are the best place to gain experience since entry level jobs require this amount of work, according to One Day One Job.
Through internships, I’ve gained knowledge that’s helped me understand the professional world of journalism, which has shown me why I’m passionate about someday working as a professional reporter.
But I did not have the same opportunities as someone in an entry level job did, because I was an intern, and that’s how it should be.
Internships can help you decide if that industry is right for you, which is something that an entry level job should not do. Experience does matter.
However, when employers limit the applicant pool for entry level jobs, they hurt their company by excluding a prospective applicant who is potentially a great fit.
Requiring a lengthy amount of experience is simply an impossible expectation for some students who have to work while also being a student. For some, it’s not an option to pursue work in their desired industry or an unpaid internship, because they can’t afford it.
Not everyone has the ability to work for little to no pay at an internship to gain experience for a job where the point is to become better acquainted with an industry.
Getting experience in college is important, but without that first entry level job to learn the ropes while getting paid, college students have a hard time advancing in the workplace.
Requiring an unrealistic amount of experience doesn’t help this.
For students who can’t afford to focus on obtaining five year’s worth of experience to work in a lower-wage entry level position: it’s a waste of time applying.