How an entry-level job could write your future
It may not appear obvious what boilermakers and consumer loan servicing clerks have in common. Boilermakers weld large metal projects like, well, boilers. Consumer loan servicing clerks help process loans.
But according to a new analysis by the personal finance website WalletHub.com, boilermaker and consumer loan service clerk share unflattering trait: They are the two worst possible entry-level jobs right now.
WalletHub.com looked at 109 different entry-level jobs and judged them on 11 factors, such as starting salary, number of job openings, education required, industry growth, danger and and so forth. They ranked the jobs to find the best and worst places to start a career.
"College is about finding out what you are interested in so you can decide what career to pursue," says John Kiernan, senior analyst at WalletHub.com, based in Washington, D.C. "Some people are not sure, which can lead to an inefficient job search."
Kiernan says the survey could help graduates and others in their search by pointing them toward careers that give a greater return on their investment — "jobs with growth potential," he says.
Kiernan says that some of the best-ranked entry-level jobs are in the tech industry.
The top two are web applications developer and information security analyst. Third place was a tie between web designer and attorney.
"I was initially surprised that attorney was one of the better ones," Kiernan says, "but the average may be thrown off by big firms and really high-paying attorney jobs."
The next best jobs were software engineer, financial analyst, market research analyst, network engineer, training specialist and programmer.
Kiernan cautions, however, that an analysis like this can't take everything into account for an entry-level job — there are many intangibles. "Is the job close to family or who is your direct supervisor?" he says.
The analysis did, however, look at work/life balance, on-the-job training and job satisfaction. One common denominator among the worst entry-level jobs was the lack of job openings. Projected job growth was a bigger factor among the higher-rated jobs.
Ray White, author of "Connecting Happiness and Success," says people looking for that first job may not be concerned enough with job fit. "There is a belief that career success is measured by your salary," he says.
But that happiness by salary may wear off, White says, as time goes on and people have to learn to "actually enjoy their work and team."
"To be successful at your first job," says White, who works in the Fort Worth, Texas area, "they should focus on finding work they enjoy and people they feel excited and interested to be around."
Reed Daw, age 24, says he had an excellent entry-level job experience when he was hired as a web search engine optimization associate at Volusion, a web shopping solutions company. To Daw, the big difference was having a good boss — something that was not in the WalletHub.com survey.
"It's extremely important to have someone who will not only mentor you in your position, but will also teach you the rules of the road (business politics)," Daw, who lives in Austin, Texas, says. "This is the person that sees you at your greenest state and can help mold/push you into what your future awaits for you."
Alexandra Pavek, age 27, says she is having a similar experience in her "first big girl job" as a marketing assistant at Aladtec, an online employee scheduling and workforce management company based in Hudson, Wisconsin.
Pavek says she likes the friendly work atmosphere at her new job, which came out of an internship at the company. Even if she didn't get the job, she says, it would have helped in getting a job where companies wanted someone with experience.
"Your first job is crucial to your ultimate career success," she says. "But what is more important is your internship."
Daw, however, is less worried about first jobs because they are not the ending point. "In my opinion the first job isn't important at all to career success," he says. "(An entry-level) job gives young employees a taste of the real world and is their first trial to decide whether they are in the right spot or if they need to jump ship and try something else. If you can't get your dream job don't fret. The more experience you gain, the better off you will be in landing your dream position."
And who knows, maybe someone's dream job is among the 10 "worst entry-level jobs" on the WalletHub.com list: policy processing clerk, tool and die maker, teller, welder, floor assembler, architectural drafter, electronics assembler, claims processing clerk, boilermaker and consumer loan servicing clerk.
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