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Tandem Powered's blog is dedicated to empowering readers by highlighting best practices in the arena of resume writing, career development, and organizational effectiveness, as well as by providing readers with an insider's view of the corporate hiring process.

What Is "Entry Level?"

Kent Nolen

This morning, I read an e-mail from someone who had just had a look at my 5/23 post. Here's part of the e-mail.

...It's been a long job search process, and I can't believe how many entry level positions I see that require a degree and significant professional work experience.  That, to me, is not entry level...

Very astute and a big topic right now. Not long ago, Entry Level usually meant just that – a professional level position, requiring (most often) a degree. That's it.

Over the years, employment law has gotten more fine-tuned, so companies are (uh, have to be) more careful in the way they define just what qualifications can be required for a position. Does this position really require a degree or would X-number-of-years of work experience suffice?

Add to that the evolving employment landscape. Entry Level today is not what Entry Level was 5... 10 years ago. In HR, I've heard it referred to as "qualifications creep." With so much competition and companies needing to maximize the quality of new-hires, Entry Level positions don't always read as very new-to-the-job-market friendly. This is understandably bothersome to new graduates.

On the other hand, plenty of Entry Level opportunities do exist. Many, many companies offer certain positions that target the qualifications of college graduates.

Toying with the definition of Entry Level isn't an entirely new concept but, yes, there's more of it going on.