Don't be scared off by an entry-level job

From | By Lida Citroën

As you get ready to take off the uniform you may find yourself un-qualified for the types of jobs you desire. As you consider additional education and training, why not think about an entry-level job?

I get it: You gained a ton of experience in the military. You managed people under high-stress, high-stakes conditions and you were personally in charge of huge projects with multi-million-dollar valuations. But sometimes changing careers and pivoting from what you know and are trained for, requires starting at the beginning.

What is an entry-level job?

“An entry-level job is a job that is normally designed or designated for recent graduates of a given discipline and typically does not require prior experience in the field or profession. These roles may require some on-site training.” Many entry-level jobs do not come with medical benefits or paid time off.

Before you reject an entry-level job

If it seems you’re only attracting interest for entry-level positions, remember:

  • It’s not personal. Being rejected for a high-level job doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable and important. It also doesn’t mean the employer doesn’t like you.

  • The employers aren’t judging you or singling you out because they don’t like or appreciate you and your service. In many cases, it’s the opposite! An employer might see your potential and know their company well enough to know that you can build a career there if you’re willing to start at entry level.

  • Most professionals in the business world start at entry level. While you have years of experience, training and skill building, the employer might see you as someone who would benefit from learning the business from the ground level up.

  • All military jobs are entry level. The military doesn’t hire people in as Chiefs or Generals, so you’ve done entry level before. Granted, you may feel that you’ve earned the right to not have to repeat this process, but to the employer, you haven’t.

  • In an entry-level role, you could quickly accelerate past your peers and have an edge for promotions and visibility in the company because of the skills and experience you gained in the military.

Can you afford to work an entry-level job?

After you’ve decided that you are willing to earn your way back to a management or leadership position, ask yourself if you’re able to afford to work in an entry-level job – financially and career-wise.

Financially, entry-level jobs typically pay less. The company is hiring someone with (the perception of) lower skills and abilities and is investing in that employee to (hopefully) see them grow in the company. Many entry-level employees leave the company after learning the job isn’t what they wanted so employers typically don’t pay as much for these workers as they might, for instance, for a senior manager position.

Consider, too, any impact to your resume or career goals. Before you accept an entry-level job, ask yourself:

  • Will taking an entry-level job look bad on my resume? If so, how will I explain it to future employers?

  • If I take an entry-level job, can I accelerate in my desired career field faster?

  • Will taking an entry-level job give me the skills, work experience and contacts I need to move into the career I desire?

Not all jobs are created equal. An entry-level job at a progressive company that promotes from within, provides on-the-job training and rewards excellence could be a terrific foot in the door to a new career.