If you just landed an entry-level position that is not quite the dream job you had sought, it is important to be aware of the ways that you can still advance in your ideal career. Each position that you hold may still be able to provide you with valuable experience, new skills sets and improvement on the skills that you already had. Therefore, it is important to look at each job in a positive way, even if you really do not like the entry-level job that you see.
Your attitude will say a lot about you. It is something that your peers will notice and it will likely effect your job performance. Treat the entry-level position the same way that you would treat your dream career. By building relationships with coworkers, you can build upon references for your resume as well as build up your network. You never know who may lead you to the career that you have always dreamed of.
Pursue side projects that can provide invaluable experience or broaden your network. Take risks and do not be afraid of change. To learn how to advance in your career while stuck in an entry-level position, review the sections that have been provided below.
Treat Your Job as if it was Your Dream Job
In an ideal world, you would be offered a job that pertains to the career of your dreams soon after high school or college. From that ideal entry-level position, you are provided with guidance and the means to advance within your career. Even if you attended college and sought a degree in the field that you would like to proceed in, there is absolutely no guarantee that you will land employment in your desired field right away. While the odds do rely heavily upon aptitude and the type of degree that you chose — it just might not happen. There may not be jobs in your field available or it may be difficult to get into an industry. Sometimes, you just have to take a job that does not entail the sort of work that you would like to do in the future. However, all is not lost! You can still advance in your career and gain invaluable skills in a less ideal job, even if you absolutely hate it.
Yet still it is important to treat your new job as if it was the career of your dreams. Perhaps retail, customer service, data entry or cold calling prospective customers was not what you had in mind, but you should still bring the same level of energy and commitment that you would if you had just snagged your dream job. This is one of the most important mind-sets that you can have when starting any job. Have a positive attitude. Your supervisor and coworkers will be able to tell if you want to be there and there are a variety of skills that you may still be able to learn.
Take on New, Exciting and Challenging Projects
No matter the entry level, there are likely opportunities that you can take charge of that can provide a lot of value, including experience and new skill sets. You have the unique opportunity to take projects that may be riskier since the job is not in your desired field. For example, if you have taken a job in journalism, you may be able to take on riskier cases. Having a few successful projects under your belt can help you through your next interview as well as provide you with experience for your dream career.
Make an Effort to Build Relationships with Coworkers
No matter the type of entry-level position you are offered, it is important that you build relationships with your coworkers and supervisors if you would prefer to search for career opportunities within your desired field. There are two reasons why this is recommended: networking and references.
You never know who your coworkers or supervisors may know. Making friends with your coworkers could lead to meeting someone who works for a company that you would love to work with. If nothing else, coworkers make excellent references that you can include on your application. They can tell potential employers that you are a hard worker or give insight into the type of person that you are. Professional references are also generally preferable on a resume compared to personal references.
Start a Side Project Related to Your Desired Career
Having another job should not hold you back from working towards your goals in your future career. Consider starting a side project that can help further your future career. Side projects can be a lot of things, depending on your career goals. Organize a community of interest, create a small conference, create a podcast or create a blog.
For example, a writer who is working at an entry-level job may seek work on a manuscript in free-time, seeking publication on the side. While the possibilities are endless, these projects should be something that will provide value to others, can help you grow your network or can help you to gain additional credentials or experience that will look great on your resume when you pursue your dream career.
Tips for Leaving a Job
Experts say that you can turn irrelevant experience into relevant experience when the time comes to apply to that new job, so long as you create a good story. You can frame your experience from a learning angle, such as you learned new experiences from the entry-level job that you were committed to and how you can use those lessons from your previous job to make yourself the ideal candidate for the job that you desire. That way, each position that you fill will present new experiences and possibilities for you.
It is also important to try to leave each job in a positive way. This should be easier to do if you have build relationships with coworkers and supervisors, but you can take additional care such as providing that entry-level job with a two weeks’ notice when it is time to move on. This can be especially helpful as most prospective employers not only contact references, but your previous employers when they are considering you for hire. You want your previous employers to speak of you in a positive light.
Do not be afraid to take chances. Change can be frightening, which is one reason why there are many people who may be satisfied sticking with a job that they hate. Take chances. Go after what you want. Seize your dreams.