Updated: Sep 13
Job hunting may be daunting. There are a wide number of job postings every day, but also a sea of job applicants vying for the same jobs. As a fresh graduate or someone entering a new field, ‘entry level’ positions may sound more forgiving than joining other full-time jobs with no experience. But what exactly defines an entry level position, and how can you stand out from the competition?
Definition of “entry level job”
The term "entry level" can sometimes be ambiguous, as job postings may include it in the title while also mentioning a preference for candidates with some experience (usually about 1-2 years). The truth is: entry level does not have to mean zero experience. It could very well mean that the company is willing to hire and coach a new hire with completely no experience, or they are hoping to groom someone with 1-2 years of experience to become an asset in their company.
Although entry level positions are often lower positions within the department, they often are stepping stones to a distinguished career path. Companies usually put these employees under on-the-job training (OJT) and assign mentors or buddies to coach them. As such, by taking on an entry level role, you will be able to learn on the job and gain valuable experience.
Finding entry level positions
With all the job listings out there, how do you know which are the entry level positions? A straightforward way will be to set your preferences on the job portal’s filter. You can indicate the experience you have, job type and the industry in which you are interested. Another method will be to key in your preferences in the portal’s search bar. For example, you can search ‘entry level marketing’ or ‘entry level tech,’ if you know what kind of job you would like to do. As a recruitment agency, ScienTec Consulting has also compiled an extensive list of career opportunities. You can simply search ‘entry level’ and apply via our webpage to your dream job.
Lastly, if you are graduating student or fresh graduate, chances are that you will still have access to your school’s job portal and career office. Career offices work closely with employers to help place their fresh graduates, so there’s a high chance that these postings are for entry level candidates like yourself.
Building a resume with no work experience
Resume building is not as complicated as it is made out to be! In fact, there are couple ways you can start creating and designing your first resume. Apart from creating one on Microsoft Word (which provides an extensive list of templates you can use), you can also tap on free online-resume design resources to make an eye catching document. Here are our recommendations:
Resume.com is a resume builder website that Indeed acquired. The site now provides free resume building services and a list of samples from various jobs. This includes resume samples for first jobs that could be useful for entry level role seekers like yourself.
Jobscan.co helps you optimise your resume and cover letters so that you increase your chances of getting hired. It has a resume builder under their free plan. If you join their paid subscription, you will be able to make a power-enabled resume that can be edited and scored using AI.
Novoresume.com is good for creating simple, straightforward resumes. The site allows users to create a simple one-page resume on its basic plan for free. However, this platform will require users to upgrade their plan to create different resumes.
If you are looking to create many versions of your resume, canva.com can be a good way to start. Canva.com has been long known for its visually appealing templates for presentations and social media or poster design. They also provide templates for resumes that can help you for your career.
After you have decided on your design template, you will need to look at what you can put on your resume to help you stand out. Apart from the basics such as your personal information, professional profiles such as LinkedIn and portfolio site (if any), you should also include a personal summary to tell the employer about your career objectives. You will also need to think about what experiences and skills can help to contribute to the role. Read the job descriptions and responsibilities of each job carefully. If you have work or internship experience, think about what transferrable skills you have that will be useful for the job for which you are applying. Think about soft skills, such as communication skills, creativity, and leadership, so on. You can also write down any extracurricular activity, competition, award, and volunteering experience. Lastly, if you have done past course work or research that is relevant it will also be useful in showing your interest in the industry or function.
Make sure that you have a general resume that serves as your base but create multiple versions tailoring to each job you apply to.
Gaining skills that you need
Your education and other experiences such as extra-curricular activities have already given you some exposure to the skills you need for the job you are applying for. Some entry-level job seekers may already have some work experiences. However, you may still feel you lack the skills and practical exposure as compared to other candidates. You can consider taking up the following ways to increase your chances:
Internships are arguably the closest thing you can get to an entry level job. It allows you to dip your toes into the industry and see if this kind of job function or the industry is something you really want to work in. It is an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, and they require much lower commitment than in a permanent entry level position. An internship could also lead to a full-time entry level jobs at the company.
If you are still a student, make good use of your holidays to apply for internships and gain more exposure from various companies. You may also be able to apply for part-time internships during your semester.
Volunteering experience is a great thing to include in your entry level resume because it shows what you are passionate about. It is also a good way to put your technical skills to good use while honing your soft skills. Include the organisation, the cause and beneficiaries, and your contributions in your resume.
If you are new to volunteering, there is a lot more to Be-friending days or Flag-days then what happens on the day itself. Many non-profit organisations or movements require volunteers with skills such as IT or coding, engineering, marketing, content creation, human resource, events management, etc. to keep the organisation running and to recruit volunteers. Skills like coding, photography, music and more can also go to teaching beneficiaries a new skill that will help them. Giving.sg, www.sg, volunteer.sg are all great starting points for your volunteering journey. You can select your skills and see which project or organisation needs talented people like you!
If you did not find something that interests you, you can also think about the causes you care about and the organisations which help these causes. Send them an email stating your skills and volunteer your service!
You will be able to get certifications from courses all over the world through the internet. If you lack the necessary credentials, consider attending relevant courses or taking assessments to get the certifications you need. If you are Singaporean, you can make use of your SkillsFuture credit (age 25 years old and above) to do take courses, or attend subsidised courses. These certifications will give you an edge above the other candidates and endorse your skillset.
Forming a strong network
Knowing people can get you places. Sometimes, you make a strong enough impression that when there is an entry level job opportunity, you will be the person they think of. Even if they are unable to offer you a job opportunity at this point, they may be valuable connections as your career grows, and vice-versa. The key to building a strong network is creating and maintaining relationships.
Apart from attending networking events, you will also be able to get to know employees of various companies at career fairs and seminars, etc. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself and talk to the other people attending. This does not have to be the speaker; this could be other attendees who are in present. Share what you are currently doing and your hopes for your future, but also be sincere in asking about them. Have your LinkedIn application ready to ask them to connect.
The next step will be to maintain these connections. Say hi to them on LinkedIn or drop them an email and maintain a professional conversation. You can also maintain relationships from your past, such as with your colleagues, professors, or classmates by messaging them or sending them an email asking to catch up when they are available. As usual, be sincere and professional!
Congratulations, you have now gotten through all the steps you need to get an edge over other entry level jobseekers. When you get shortlisted for an interview, be sure to dress appropriately, be confident and prepare for the interview by reading up on the job and company and practicing with some common interview questions. Constant improvement and learning are important. Remember to continue to upskill yourself and update your resume, documenting your milestones as you go.
At ScienTec, we aim to create value for you. We are forthcoming with our feedbacks (e.g. – How to improve your CV, highlight achievements, guiding you on how to present your thoughts during the interview process, etc.) as we believe it could help improve the chances of landing you into a career of your choice. So be open to explore to adopt/adapt accordingly. The right recruiter always has your best interest at heart.
Lastly, ScienTec Consulting is also actively hiring entry level recruitment consultants. We are looking for aspiring individuals who wishes to craft out a rewarding career in recruitment and we provide an extensive training and mentorship programme by specialist recruiters to help launch your career. If it is your dream job to be the top recruiter, but don’t know where to start and have no experience, this is the right entry level job for you!