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The Entry-Level Quandary

October 2014

This month's InnerView Career Q&A question may resonate with young professionals looking to advance their careers without jeopardizing their chances at a dream job. Many find themselves in entry level positions after school and wonder how long they should stay before considering other options, while others fear leaving prematurely and hurting their prospects with hiring managers. Read on for tips and considerations to keep in mind while navigating the often murky waters of new employment.

Q: How long should one stay in an entry level position? – Nashika T., Chicago

A: The short answer here is that it’s relative. The question here shouldn’t necessarily be about how long one should stay but rather how to optimize an entry level role. Of course, no one’s expecting you to stay for ten years—but two years? Absolutely; there’s a point in the beginning of everyone’s career where you have to pay your dues. Sure, you may not be in the ideal role at the moment, but there are steps you can take to make the best of your entry level job. Some things to consider:

Do you have a career map? Do you have an idea of where you’d like to head next and how you can flourish in your current position? One great way to illustrate your next steps and better visualize your goals is by making a career map. Career mapping is a great way to view your progress, set goals and anticipate changes; it’s as simple as putting your ambitions down on paper and assigning them timeframes. For example, you can designate two years or so to your current role and allot certain professional milestones to each month or every six months.



Nurys Harrigan is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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