A Note From Penelope: How to Skip the Entry-Level Track
Entry-level jobs have that lethal combination of bad pay + boring work. So the faster you can get off that bottom rung of the workforce ladder, the better off you are. Here are three ways to do it:
1. Play well on a team. You have an advantage over older workers in that you play well on teams. Even if you are the worst team player in your graduating class, you’re the best team player on a team of Gen Xers and Baby boomers. Gen X likes to work alone, and baby boomers like to lead. So, on a team, they tend to under perform. Projects that more experienced people would normally jump at are up for the taking in a team environment because people are uncomfortable. This is a time when you can shine, and do the majority of the work, so that management sees what you’re capable of. Also, show you have leadership skills. There is a shortage of Gen Yers who want to lead in a top-down, baby boomer way. If you can do that, baby boomers will label you a leader and give you bigger assignments.
2. Blog about what you want to do for a living. Do yo have a vision of what you can do that is not entry-level? Start doing it. You don’t need permission to be a big thinker – blog about your professional ideas and participate in professional conversations about those ideas on Brazen Careerist. Potential employers will look at your ideas instead of your experience and you will not look entry-level if your ideas are good. Also, there are plenty of examples where bloggers have established themselves as thought leaders with very little conventional work experience behind them. Some people on Brazen Careerist who have catapulted up the ladder with their blogs are Lance Haun and Cameron Plommer.
3. Focus on connecting with people instead of jobs. If you find a manager who really loves working with you, then he will want you to report directly to him. Find a mentor in a manager who is a bit above you in pecking order so that reporting directly to her would mean a leap over the entry-level. Having someone vouch for your outstanding work is the fastest way to move ahead in an organization no matter where you are right now.
4. Be a good salesperson. Here’s something to think about: Someone with ten years of experience is a lot more expensive than you are. So if you can convince someone you are qualified to do the same job as someone with lots of experience, then you’re going to save the company a lot of money. It’s a win for everyone – you get more money than you would have in an entry-level job and the company does not have to pay the salary they had budgeted for the position.
5. Focus on learning. You control the pace of your workplace education, no matter what job you’re in now, or if you’re unemployed. So learn as fast as you can, by reading and asking questions and making yourself an important part of a professional community. Brazen Careerist is a place where people come to learn and grow. No one is going to manage your career except you. But that’s good news because the great thing about skipping the entry-level track is that the people most likely to pull this off are those who manage their careers collaboratively, in a curious, growth-oriented, professional community like Brazen Careerist.
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!