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Home  > Article

Use Keywords to Find the Best Entry-Level Jobs

By John R. Platt

Sometimes the challenge in searching for a job is, first and foremost, figuring out whether you're looking for the right job. Online job searches are tied into descriptive keywords, and if you don't know the "code", you'll have a much more difficult time.

Finding a job is, at times, a full-time job. At any given moment, there are probably hundreds of thousands of open job listings across the United States. Since very few are blatantly advertised as "entry-level" jobs, this creates a particular challenge for recent grads. How do you sort through them all to know which ones are for you?

Good Key Words & Phrases for Entry-Level Jobs

Assistant or Associate -- These are important beginning-level jobs. As long as you're not an "assistant to" anyone, these positions will often be your best starting place.

Junior -- Another job title specifically suited for beginners.

Intern -- Don't be afraid of taking a six-month or year-long internship after you've graduated. The pay will probably suck, but this could be a great chance to immerse yourself in your field and build vital experience and contacts while you're looking for your first full-time job.

"Knowledge of" -- If a job asks for people with working knowledge of certain practices, computer programs, or other skills, without specifically requiring several years of experience, they can be perfect for the right entry-level employees.

Jobs with (Low) Numbers in the Titles -- Many job titles feature several different levels, all based upon seniority and experience. You don't have enough experience to be a "II" or "III" yet, but if a job has a "I" in the title, you're probably a perfect candidate.

"Bright" and "Passionate" -- A company that wants "bright" or "passionate" employees is hoping to tap into the energy of youth. You're perfect. Apply now.

Jobs that ask for GPAs and SAT scores -- If they're asking for your college transcript, they're looking for a recent college grad. Even if a job listing says "experience required," your internship(s) may qualify you.

"Recent Graduates" -- Hey, you can't get much more specific than that.

Words & Phrases to Send You Running

"Campus Rep" -- These low-level sales jobs prey upon recent grads. You'll just end up back on your old campus trying to sell things to students, and as you know, students don't have much money, so you won't make much either.

"Salary + Commission" -- Again, a tough place to be for a first-timer. Sales jobs do typically pay commissions, but it could take years to build up a good enough sales network so you can earn enough to live. If a sales job wants entry-level folks, they know they're not going to pay you much, so best to just go for a plain old salary.

Job ads that ask for too many skills -- Some job ads strangely ask for candidates that can do everything and everything. For example, a real copywriter doesn't need to know graphic design programs, nor should they be able to fix kitchen sink. Employers with job descriptions like this are being lazy and cheap and you'll end up paying the price when they expect you do the job of three people.

"Duties to be defined later" -- You'll end up doing everything under the sun. That way lies chaos and burnout. Great for multitaskers and workaholics, terrible for people who want to have a life.

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