Kitchen Table Economics

The Importance of Entry-Level Work

How do you become successful? For most Americans, that first job sows the seeds for success. Here’s why:

  1. Teaching opportunity. Career opportunities are also teaching opportunities, especially on the first rung of the career ladder. Entry-level employees learn how to communicate with superiors and peers, receive constructive feedback (and implement it), complete tasks efficiently, dress for the occasion, and provide some sort of service—whether it’s for a client or coworker. There’s no substitute for practical work experience, which motivates employees to apply their knowledge, skills, and resources toward a common goal.
  2. Personal development. Entry-level work provides all sorts of professional experience, but it also promotes personal growth. Responsibility. Teamwork. Dedication. Curiosity. These attributes all come with the job. Whether you’re flipping a hamburger, writing a speech, or crunching numbers, life skills are there for the learning. They don’t have to be complex either. Even waking up early every day to get to work teaches you how to stick to a routine and deliver when people are counting on you to show up.
  3. Money matters. Landing that first job will help you find the second and the third and so forth. Professional and personal development aside, employers look for actual work experience on a resume. Searching for jobs after working for one or two years—if not more—is a lot easier than looking for them as a college student. And it’s more lucrative. Even entry-level experience translates to expertise, which employers will reward with higher pay and better benefits. The more work experience you have, the more money you’ll make.

For more information about entry-level work, check out our First Jobs Friday section here.