Entry level job secured, now what?
John Morton is a Florida native, holds a BSW and an MSW from The University of Central Florida and has been working in higher education for the last four years.
"Starting From The Bottom"
Moving from the education system to the work place is a transition we are all eager to make. We likely have an idea of the direction we would like to go, as well as where we would like to end up. Having a dream job in mind and being aspirational is great, but the reality might not be what you think it is. Unfortunately, (bubble bursts) entry level positions are just that.
There are several ways of looking at this that make the experience palatable. Some people call it paying your dues, some say it’s a foot in the door, but I what my experience has taught me is that an entry level position is an excellent vantage point to survey the landscape of an organization, and plot your career course. Entry level positions are often general, task oriented jobs, and don’t always give you the opportunity to flex your muscles. While they aren’t a dream job they give you a chance to examine the structure of the organization you work for.
Take the opportunity to look at the teams who are in your ideal position and learn from them. It’s not unreasonable to reach out to someone on a team you’d like to join and ask them how they got the position and learn a little more about what that job entails. Ask them how they like the team they work on, and what they would be looking for out of a new team member. You may find out that you are a perfect fit for the team and have made a valuable contact, or you might find out that your idea of a certain position is not what you thought it was and decide to look elsewhere.
An entry level of positions is great because you take the position with the expectation that you will be moving on. Your management knows that and will likely be looking to see where you will fit in well within the organization. Additionally teams in need often go directly to management over entry level teams when looking to fill positions.
Once you choose a path your scope may tend to narrow. You will likely work closely with your team and may not have the same opportunities to network around other departments. In an entry level position you have many options because your path has not yet been chosen, but as you go to the next level you must choose a direction. Having time to assess your options will allow you to make the choice that fits you best. If you take a slightly more senior position you do not have the same options about your direction. You might love the direction and it might be a dream career, but if you are unsure about the direction you want to go and are looking for options, an entry level position may not be the worst place to start.
If you are looking to showcase your skill set you’re going to have to start networking at every opportunity. Look for chances to speak with managers and members of teams you want to work on. Think about where you want to go and how you can meet professional aspirations. Take the time t learn about you organization you work in and look for the trailblazers who have forged the paths you want to take.