How to Find an Entry Level Job After You Graduate

The Prepped Team

December 2, 2022

5 minutes

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How to Find an Entry Level Job After You Graduate

As a recent graduate, you’re undoubtedly excited about finding your first job and starting your career. Even if you’ve worked part-time before, looking for an entry level full-time job feels different. An entry level job does more than get your foot in the door of the job market, it can also lay the foundation for your future career. In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of beginning your career with an entry level job and share tips on how to find entry level jobs after you graduate. 

In this article:

What is an entry level job?

Entry level jobs are positions that require little or no prior work experience. These roles are usually the entry point into a particular industry or field and open the door to jobs that require more experience.

Although part-time work experience gives you an edge while applying for these roles, it isn’t a substitute for entry level jobs. When you start looking for a full-time role after graduation, you’ll likely need to start at the entry level and work your way up.

Who should apply for entry level positions?

When employers recruit for entry level jobs, they usually look for recent graduates or young professionals with little or no full-time work experience. You should apply for entry level positions if you:

  • Have recently graduated or are about to graduate from a university or college.
  • Have less than three years of full-time work experience. (Some entry level job postings may require no prior experience, while others may ask for up to five years of experience.)
  • Are switching to a different industry after gaining a few years of experience.

The requirements for entry level positions vary by industry. For instance, some entry level jobs, such as those in retail or hospitality, may not require post-secondary education. Other entry level positions, such as those in education or engineering, may require a graduate degree, specialized certifications, and even a provincial license to practice.

What are the benefits of an entry level position? 

As you get ready to enter the workforce, you have your sights set high, and entry level jobs seem like an unavoidable necessity—a step you must take to reach your goal. While that’s essentially true, you can’t deny that there are several advantages to starting your career with an entry level job. Here are some benefits of entry level roles:

  • Experience is not necessary: Entry level jobs are ideal for fresh grads as they typically don’t require work experience. That said, it’s usually good to have part-time experience and transferable skills on your resume when you apply for entry level jobs.
  • Opportunity to explore the job market: Entry level roles allow young professionals to get their foot in the door and enter the job market. In some organizations, you may also be able to move within a department (or even across departments) and find work that fits your interests. For instance, if you’re interested in marketing, trying your hand at different roles within the marketing domain, such as content, social media, and digital marketing, can help you find your true calling.
  • Based around a learning environment: When companies hire you for an entry level job, they are prepared to train you, or at least give you the time and resources to learn. You can also proactively ask for responsibilities that allow you to grow your skill set and learn new things so you can move to the next level sooner.
  • Build new transferable skills: When you’re fresh out of university or college, the only skills you have on your resume are the ones you learnt during your studies or part-time work stints. While some of these skills may be relevant for your future career, many aren’t. Your entry level job often sets the direction for your career, and the skills you build during this time will help bolster your resume for future roles.
  • Networking opportunities: Networking is essential in the Canadian and American job market, and the sooner you start building your network, the better. Entry level jobs allow you to connect with your new colleagues, managers, and cross-department professionals in the work setting. But it’s a good idea to nurture those relationships outside your day-to-day work through coffee chats and informal conversations. As a recent graduate, you may even be able to find a long-term mentor in your new workplace.
  • Gain references and recommendations: Most employers will check your references, including your past employers, as part of the hiring process. While your second job may seem far away, maintaining a good working relationship with your current employer and delivering on the responsibilities assigned to you ensures a positive reference, or even a glowing recommendation, in the future.
  • Possibility of benefits programs: Many Canadian companies offer benefits programs to their employees, such as vision and dental insurance, life and accident insurance, corporate discounts, stock options, and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) matching. As a new grad, enrollment in benefits programs can give you company-paid insurance against illness and accidents or even help you meet your savings goals. 
  • Switching industries later in your career: If you decide to change industries down the line, you may qualify for an entry level job in a different field if your skills are at least partially transferable.

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12 best entry level jobs for new graduates (with salaries) 

With studies finally behind you, the beginning of your career can be an exciting time. Your entry level job can open up a world of possibilities or help you work towards a specific career goal. Here are some in-demand entry level jobs that offer great growth opportunities and compensation (Note: Salary ranges vary based on location, and salaries may be lower in smaller cities with a lower cost of living): 

Public relations assistant

Entry level roles in public relations (PR) typically require a degree in marketing, communications, journalism, or PR. As a PR assistant, you’ll be responsible for building media lists, monitoring and tracking coverage, creating coverage reports, and writing media material. Salaries for PR assistant jobs in Canada typically start at around $40,000.


Copywriter or junior copywriter roles require a bachelor’s degree in English, marketing, communications, or journalism. At the entry level, copywriting jobs involve creating content for blogs, ads, emails, scripts, presentations, and more. Salaries for entry level copywriter jobs in Canada range from $39,000 to $57,000.

Marketing associate

Entry level roles in marketing, such as marketing associate or marketing coordinator, usually require a degree in marketing, communications, or business. The job responsibilities include supporting the creation and delivery of marketing campaigns, managing social media and digital promotion, keeping track of marketing trends, and measuring the impact of marketing initiatives. The average salary for marketing associate jobs in Canada is $55,000.

Administrative assistant

Most administrative assistant roles require a post-secondary degree or diploma in any subject. As an administrative assistant, your role may involve scheduling meetings, creating meeting agendas and presentation materials, maintaining files, making travel arrangements, and reception coverage. Salaries for administrative assistant jobs range between $36,000 and $64,000.

Customer service representative

Jobs in customer service usually require a post-secondary degree or diploma in any field. Depending on the organization, customer service representatives may be tasked with answering customer inquiries over the phone or email, updating client information, providing customer service, maintaining positive relationships with clients, keeping records of customer interactions, and coordinating with internal departments to resolve customer concerns. The average salary for entry level customer service jobs is $39,000.

Human resources coordinator/specialist

Entry level HR jobs usually require a degree or diploma in human resources. As an HR coordinator or specialist, you may be responsible for issuing letters of employment, publishing job postings, coordinating interviews and onboarding, maintaining and ensuring compliance with company policies, addressing payroll and vacation entitlement inquiries, and more. Salaries for HR coordinator jobs in Canada typically start at around $42,000.

Sales representative

Most entry-level sales representative roles require some post-secondary education. As a sales representative, you’ll be responsible for acquiring new customers, maintaining client relationships, delivering on sales targets, and coordinating with different departments for timely delivery of orders. Entry level sales representative jobs typically have a base salary between $28,000 and $48,000, but most sales roles also include a performance-based incentive.

UX designer

A degree or diploma in design or art is nice-to-have to land an entry level job as a UX designer, but having a strong design portfolio is essential. You’ll also need expertise in tools like Figma, Sketch, and Adobe Creative Suite, and some knowledge of programming languages. UX designing roles typically involve conducting user research, creating storyboards and user flows, executing visual design for apps and products, and conducting usability testing. Salaries for UX designer jobs in Canada typically start at around $55,000.

Registered nurse

To become a registered nurse (RN), you need a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a provincial license to practice. As an RN, you’ll be responsible for patient care, communicating with patients and their families, helping doctors, case assessments and developing care plans, and more. Nursing is a high-paying occupation in Canada, and starting salaries for registered nurses are approximately $65,000.

Web developer

Entry level web development roles usually require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. These jobs involve designing and testing programming code, building and maintaining websites, determining end-user technical requirements, and providing user support. Salaries for web developer jobs in Canada typically start at around $44,000.

Financial analyst

Most financial analyst jobs require at least an undergraduate degree in finance or accounting, while some may also require applicants working towards a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) certification. In entry level financial analyst roles, you’ll usually be expected to help with budget creation and cash flow projections, monitor and report on financial statements and results, and prepare budget variance analysis. Salaries for financial analyst jobs in Canada typically start at around $51,000.

IT technician

Entry level IT jobs usually require post-secondary education in computer science, network administration, engineering, electronics, or another related subject. As an IT technician, your work may involve providing technical support to internal or external users, documenting technical knowledge and best practices, updating software, scheduling development, network programming, hardware upgrades, routine technical maintenance, and coordinating with vendors for repairs. The average salary for entry level IT technician jobs is $52,000.

How to apply for entry level jobs

As a recent graduate looking for your first full-time job, the job search process can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to apply for entry level jobs and improve your chances of being hired.

Review job descriptions for relevant entry level roles

Before you begin your job search, take a close look at job postings for entry level jobs in your industry. This will help you understand what employers are looking for, how well your skills match the requirements, and provide insight into what keywords to include in your resume.

Gather part-time work experience

Although full-time experience isn’t a requirement for most entry level jobs, having some prior work experience gives you an advantage over other candidates. You may already have some part-time experience through summer jobs, internships, co-op placements, or volunteer work. If you’ve never worked before, it’s a good idea to get a part-time job, paid or unpaid, that allows you to build transferable skills that are in demand in your industry.

Use career office services in your university or college

Many educational institutions have a dedicated career office that offers job placements through its employer or alumni network, as well as job search support, including guidance on resume building, interview preparation, and more. Make the most of these career services as you prepare for your job search. You can also use the Prepped Resume Scanner to craft an ATS-friendly resume and the Prepped AI Interviewer to practice before your interviews.

Look for entry level jobs on job portals

Many employers advertise open roles on job portals like LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed, and GrabJobs. These platforms have search features that allow you to find suitable job opportunities by industry, job title, location, and years of experience. You can even set up job alerts to get relevant listings regularly delivered to your inbox. Some job portals also allow you to upload your resume, so employers can contact you directly if they are looking for someone with your skill set.

Sign up with recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies like Randstad Canada and Hays Canada work with employers to shortlist suitable candidates on their behalf. When you register with an employment agency and upload your resume, they’ll send you any relevant open positions their clients may have.

Attend job fairs

Job fairs are a great place to find entry level jobs. Attending these events gives you an opportunity to meet multiple employers who are actively hiring, hand out copies of your resume, appear for on-the-spot interviews, and make connections with recruiters in your industry. The key to getting hired through a job fair is to go prepared, make a positive impression on recruiters, and follow up after the event.

Build and leverage your network 

It’s no secret. Canada has a large hidden job market and your professional network can be instrumental in helping you land your first job. Grow your network strategically by connecting with professionals in your industry and companies you’re interested in working with on LinkedIn, and ask them for a coffee chat. Coffee chats, or informational interviews, are a great way to learn about organizations, in-demand skills, or even hiring processes. Nurture these professional relationships through ongoing engagement and by offering help where you can. When it’s time to look for jobs, you can leverage your network to get job referrals.

Customize your resume and cover letter

Most employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to shortlist resumes that match the job description. The hiring manager then only sees those shortlisted applications. You can increase your chances of being selected for an interview by customizing your resume for every job. Include exact-match keywords from the job description, where relevant, and make sure your cover letter makes a strong case for why you’re an ideal candidate for the role.

How long should you stay in an entry level position?

One year is usually considered the minimum amount of time you should stay in an entry level position. Having a shorter entry level stint on your resume may cause potential employers to wonder whether it’s worth investing time and resources in training you if you’re unlikely to stick around. Less than a year’s experience with an organization may also raise concerns about your performance, ability to work in a team, and loyalty, or call to question any skills you gained while working in that role.

That said, you may want to stay with your first employer for longer than a year if the company offers learning and growth opportunities or if you’re building skills (and relationships) that will prepare you for the next step in your career.

How to grow in your entry level job

Entry level jobs are just the first step in your career and, if you’re like most professionals, you’re already thinking about what’s next. The good news is that most employers who hire entry level employees actively try to train and retain talented professionals, so there may be opportunities for growth within the organization. Here’s how you can grow in your entry level job and progress to the next rung of the career ladder:

  • Always remain professional: Even if you think you’re overqualified for the job, remember that your performance reflects your work ethic and professionalism. Don’t turn down repetitive work or shirk responsibilities because they’re starting to get boring. Instead, show that you can be counted on to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.
  • Let your manager know you can take on more work: Asking for more opportunities is a great way to build new skills and demonstrate your continued interest in the organization. You can also offer to help your manager with something they’re working on to showcase your growing skills.
  • Ask for feedback regularly: Proactively seek feedback on your work and performance to identify gaps you need to bridge to get to the next stage of your career. In most cases, your manager will be happy to give feedback on how you can improve your skills.
  • Keep track of what you do: Make note of your achievements so you can confidently talk about them when it’s time for a performance appraisal (and add them to your resume and Linkedin profile if your next job is elsewhere).
  • Network within and outside your company: Networking isn’t just important for your job search, but also your career growth. Connecting with professionals in your company and industry can help raise your profile and make you more visible. This makes it more likely people will consider you when they recruit for their team.
  • Keep your skills updated: Industry trends are changing at a breathtaking pace, and many skills that were in demand a decade ago are now obsolete. In addition to the skills you build at work, you can keep your skill set up-to-date by gathering certifications, learning new tools or software in your spare time, or even pursuing a part-time study program.

Be Prepped to enter the job market

At Prepped, our objective is to help you land your first job. Our tools will help you build an ATS-friendly resume and improve your interview skills, so you are well-prepared to start your career when you graduate. Sign up for Prepped to get access to tools and resources that’ll help you navigate your job search with ease and confidence.