Are you new to the workforce, or re-entering it after an extended time away? Are you looking to switch careers, but don’t know where start? If you are, you’ll most likely be seeking an ‘entry-level’ position.
What, exactly, is an “entry-level” position? The term is HR/recruiter speak for a job that requires little or no experience in a given field or profession. As you begin your job search, it’s important to remember that your approach to landing an entry-level position will be different (naturally) than seeking positions requiring more experience. For an entry-level job, the conversation with a hiring manager will focus more on what you can do, not on what you’ve already done. Keeping this in mind, here are 7 tips to improve your chances of landing a successful entry-level job.
- Read each job description carefully. Employers want applicants who pay attention to detail and need minimum ‘handholding’. For example, many job descriptions include pay rates and job locations, so don’t email a potential employer to ask about them or anything else that has already been disclosed in the job description.
- During every interview, be respectful and alert. Remember: hiring managers are assessing what you can bring to their organization. They want to see high engagement and alignment with their cultural norms.
- Watch your body language. If youlean, sigh, act tired, fidget, give tentative answers, and don’t make and keep eye contact, it will be the rarest of employers who will proceed with you as a candidate. Project confidence throughout the interview.
- Send thank you notes. Yes, send thank you notes even if it’s a phone interview or email exchange. Thanking potential employers for their time goes a long way toward showing your character and the type of employee you’ll be.
- Dress appropriately. Be presentable and professional. Make sure you’re clean and well-groomed, too. (This last part should go without saying, but you’d be surprised!)
- Ask lots of questions. In entry-level positions, you’ll be expected to learn starting on day one, and that can include asking lots of questions, so during the interview start asking questions to let the recruiter know you’ve truly imagined yourself employed there and you’re eager to proceed. Your employer needs to know you’re confident enough to ask for the information you’ll need to succeed in the position. And remember: the initial interview is your chance to assess if the job is one that fits your needs and career goals. So, do your homework ahead of time. Look up the company online and see if you can find the answers to three basic questions before the interview: What do they do? How do they do it? Why do they do it? If you can convey to the recruiter or interviewer the essence of the answers to these three questions, they’ll know you’re serious about joining and contributing to their company.
- Professionalism is key. Again, the employer is trying to imagine you working inside their organization in the future. Don’t bring small children to the interview. Don’t go out and party down the night before an interview. Don’t chew gum. Leave your cell phone in your car or silence it and put it away. You should appear alert, refreshed, even-tempered, appropriately inquisitive, undistracted and ready, willing and able to assume the entry-level role you’re being considered for.