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Do You Have Enough Experience For The Job?

February 10th, 2012

Companies often use a familiar shorthand to describe the experience required for a specific position. Sometimes these requirements are clear, for example: “2 to 5 years of agency experience a plus”. But often the terms of a posting are far more vague.  What does “entry-level” really mean? And can an entry level job at one company equate to an executive-level job at another? Most important, which of these jobs are for you?

Experience Requirements: Know When to Pounce and When to Move On

Experience-specific language is unregulated, so companies are legally free to name positions and express position requirements as they choose. But if you know how to interpret these terms, you’ll have a better understanding of which jobs to apply for and which ones to let go. Keep the following considerations in mind.

Entry Level

Entry level jobs usually don’t involve managing others, but they still tend to go to candidates who have at least a little bit of exposure to the field and a minimum level of education. Bear in mind that a mid-level or management position for a small company may equate to an entry level job at a larger firm.

Mid-Level or Mid-Career

Mid-level or mid-career positions can suggest almost anything. So if you feel like you know what you’re doing and have a portfolio or references that can help you make your case, don’t skip an opportunity to apply for a mid-level job that appeals to you. It’s at this ambiguous stage that many workers make the transition from managing only themselves to managing others. If you’ve never had a single direct report, you may still be considered mid-level by some hiring managers. And if you’ve led an entire office or run a small company, some employers may still consider you a mid-career candidate, depending on your age and the challenges you’ve faced.

Executive or Executive-Management

“Executive level” almost always suggests at least a few years of management experience. Before applying for an executive management job, be sure you know you how to speak the language of your industry fluently. Assemble a list of serious accomplishments that you can use to showcase your ability to lead others, handle substantial budgets, and make high stakes decisions.

Choosing Which Jobs to Pursue

Applying for a job outside of your standard experience bracket is completely acceptable. There’s no legal or social rule that forbids this. If you’ve only had a year in the field but feel ready to take on a higher level position, feel free to reach out. But remember: Hiring managers can only glean so much about your experience from a resume and interview. If you voluntarily take on more than you can handle, or accept a position that may under-challenge and bore you, you’ll have to navigate the consequences on your own. Think ahead, and be realistic about your skills, ambitions, and limitations. For more help with the job search process, contact your local Connecticut recruiting company at Merritt Staffing and talk to an expert today.

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