August 16th, 2018 Revature

Choose an Entry-Level Job Wisely. Your Career Depends On It.

Careers are like road trips. Those who drive without directions get lost and take longer to reach their destinations … if they arrive at all. Those who engage in upfront planning avoid unnecessary detours and enjoy a more pleasant journey.

For recent college graduates, an entry-level job is the beginning of that journey. Because the decisions you make now will affect your entire career, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what road to take. Here are some things to keep in mind as you ponder your future.

Entry-Level Jobs Shape Your Career Path

Maybe you’re not sure what you want to do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But don’t take a bunch of time off to think about it. With a college degree, you’re qualified for many jobs, even in fields that you haven’t thought about. So one of the worst career moves you can make is to accept a first-job for which you’re overqualified.

The Strada Institute for the Future of Work studied the careers of graduates who were ‘underemployed’ (meaning they were overqualified for their jobs) and found that it set them back financially, relative to their peers. According to the report, “Starting in an underemployed position leaves graduates generally on weaker financial footing to start their careers.”

One reason is that underemployed graduates have jobs with lower wages or entry-level salaries. That difference adds over time. “On average, underemployed recent graduates earn ~$10,000 (27%) less per year than fully employed graduates,” the report says. On top of that, underemployed graduates are more likely to stay that way. In other words, if you don’t take an entry-level job that you’re qualified for early on, you may get caught in a cycle of underemployment.

Entry-Level Jobs Determine Your Earning Potential

The good news for you is that college graduates earn significantly more than high school graduates during a lifetime. By getting a degree, you’ve already improved your earning potential. But as you enter the workforce, remember this: Your entry-level job also has an effect.

If you think entry-level salary is the most important criteria, you’re thinking short-term. It matters, but salaries for entry-level jobs differ depending on variety of factors, including the field you enter. For instance, software engineer salaries are some of the highest for new graduates. That said, salary is only one factor in determining your earning potential. The skills you’ll learn and the network of relationships you build are also important.

Think of your entry-level job as an investment. As you gain experience, your value to employers increases, and that value is reflected in higher salaries. That first job matters, because if you don’t gain the right skills and experience, you earning potential diminishes.

Revature: A Source for Entry-Level Jobs

Revature recruits and trains talented graduates who want a long-term careers in technology. If you’re a good fit, we’ll bring you to one of our offices throughout the country, where you’ll go through an intensive and customized 12-week program, learning the skills and working on projects that set you on your career path. By the time you finish, you’ll have a feel for the real-world, enterprise-level environment. When your training is complete, we’ll place you in a promising entry-level job with one of our many clients.

Learn more about how it works.