Monthly Archives: April 2017

Why Entry Level Jobs are So Important

Posted: April 17, 2017 at 9:00 am

When job seekers talk about entry level jobs they often have different things in mind, depending on who is doing the talking and what their situation is. But whatever your situation, you should consider that there’s more to an entry level job than simply getting hired at the highest salary with the shortest commute.

Whether you are graduating from school and getting your first job or are reentering the work force after several years abscence, it’s normal to worry most about getting hired and at the highest salary, often without giving thought to their long term career. The problem is that what you take as your first job will a big factor in determining what your career options will be in the future.

When you are ready to leave your first job, employers will want to know about your experience. It stands to reason that you are likely to get paid the most to do the kind of work you did in your first job. And so on with subsequent jobs, until one day you wake up and realize you have chosen a career without actually being aware you were doing it!

You may be happy with career you have wandered into. But if you are unhappy with your job, it’s time to think about the kind of work you would like to do for the rest of your life. Once you have researched your options and have decided on a new career, the problem becomes how to get a job in that new career when your experience is based on your first few jobs in an area you have now chosen not to work in.

At this point, you are ready to change gears and seek an “entry level” job in the new career you have chosen. One good thing is that now, because you are no longer new to the workforce, you actually do have experience (your soft skills) that should transfer to any situation. You can cite examples from the jobs you have already had of your initiative, teamwork, reliability and other traits that would be valued in almost any kind of work.

One you have decided what you want that new career to be, there are three important factors to consider in targeting and accepting your first job in that career.

Company reputation: When your are breaking into a new career, which company you work for, is often more important than the specifics of what you do. Ideally you want to work for a company that everyone in the industry knows and admires. If you want to break into transportation, for example, you might choose FedEx or UPS over a local trucking company. Employers feel more comfortable with candidates who have worked with a brand name company in their industry. The mere fact that you held a position at the company for more than a year gives you added credibility and prestige.

Job description: When you are starting out in a new industry the opportunity to learn can be more important than how much you make. Look for a position that is in an area critical to your company’s success so that you will have a better chance to do meaningful work. Since FedEx is in the transportation business, for example, you will be closer to the center of the action working in logistics or dispatching rather than working as an accountant.

Company size: After two or three years in your new job, unless you get a good promotion and raise, you will probably be looking to move to another company to get a better job. The best way to find out about these jobs is by networking. And the best way to build your network is by working in a larger company where you can meet more people who will also move on to new employers and be able to tell you about job openings before they are advertised. That’s the real advantage of working for a larger company. On the other hand, the disadvantage of working for a larger company is that the job you do will tend to be more specialized and may not offer the broad experience in working with all the specialties that make a company successful.

At some point in your career, it may pay off to work at a smaller company where you can be less specialized and get broader experience that will gain you entry into a wider variety on jobs in the industry you have chosen when it comes time to move on.

Job title: Do not be overly concerned whether the position you are looking at is for assistant, associate, coordinator and so on. Your job title matters somewhat, but the kind of work you do is more important than the job title.

Salary: This is the tough part. As we mentioned, employers tend to pay more based on experience in past jobs. So when you are moving into a new career, you won’t have prior experience in that career yet. Don’t be surprised if the price of taking a position that’s good for your career in years to come requires you to accept less pay than if you had stuck with your original career.

If you are willing to make a few tradeoffs to take a job that builds a good foundation for your new career, you can typically expect to more than make up the money you gave up to work at a lower salary early on.

Is a Robot Coming to Take My Job?

Posted: April 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Researchers at Oxford University estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. And a leading consulting firm estimates that while only 5 percent of occupations can be fully automated, 60 percent of jobs could soon be doing 30 percent more of the work, resulting in a net loss of 45 percent of the work in the United States.

With forecasts like these, it’s no wonder that job loss has become a major political issue and an intense concern for job seekers.

Don’t get caught by surprise. Here are ten occupations already being affected by job loss to robots:

Factory workers. Machines have been making inroads for decades. Eventually 90 percent of what welders, cutters, solderers and brazers do could be automated.

Cashiers. Self-checkout stations have already appeared in many of the major retail chains. Additionally, sales lost to online stores are cutting even further cut into the need for cashiers.

Pharmacists: Machines have been used by pharmacists to count pills for quite a few years. Now hospitals are starting to use automatons to dispense prescriptions and do it more accurately. How long will it be before you get your prescriptions from a vending machine at your local pharmacy?

Stockroom workers. Amazon is setting the pace for warehouse automation with their fleet of little bright orange robots on wheels. Using robots workers can scan three times as many items and walk twenty fewer miles a day.

Paralegals. Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is perfectly suited to doing much of the “boilerplate” that constitutes the drudgery of legal work. Robots can research concepts and cases as well as draft standard contracts and write simple briefs.

Journalists. Top reporters and writers will always be in demand, but for more mundane assignments like writing business news or sports recaps, software has been developed that can transform raw data into intelligible reports and narratives.

Receptionists and phone operators. Do humans even answer the phone any more? Interactive voice technology has decimated jobs for phone operators and receptionists. Sophisticate programs can now take orders for merchandise and resolve customer service issues as well.

Bank tellers. ATM machines, which have been used for decades, are being automated to take over even more tasks ordinarily performed by tellers. What’s more, customers can now use their to deposit checks and and get sophisticated financial services without ever going to the bank.

Doctors. Not even doctors are safe from the robotic invasion. Automated systems can now deliver anesthesia for simple procedures like colonoscopies at a fraction of the cost for hiring a trained anesthesiologist. Machines have been developed to read X-rays and CT scans. And robotic surgery has been in use for almost ten years.

Financial analysts. When it comes to crunching numbers, let’s face it, computers can run circles around mere mortals any day of the week. Now, with more sophisticated software, robots can analyze financial data and spot trends more accurately than the average analyst.

Is anyone safe from having losing their job to a robot? The fact is that the coming robot revolution will affect everyone directly or indirectly. The only way to cushion the blow is to stay up on the latest trends and expand your networks of contacts so that you will be ready to to make a move if your job is threatened.