The class of 2018 is entering the workforce at an interesting—and exciting—time. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in years, and new technology is disrupting multiple industries.
As a result, today’s entry-level job seekers are embarking on careers that in many cases will prove both rewarding and surprising, as new pathways open up and old ones take on different forms.
But what do these job seekers want to do right now? Our analytics team looked at the data to determine the most popular searches among people with less than five years’ work experience, as well as associated salary data.
But that’s not all: To get still deeper insight into what’s trending, we also assigned a “popularity index” score that shows how much more popular that job is among entry-level job seekers than others. Here’s what we found.
Engineering and tech lead the pack
Ideally entry-level job seekers will be looking at roles with growth potential even in a changing labor market. And when we look at the top 15, that is what we see: a variety of positions representing different interests and skill sets, from the primarily technical to those that require a mix of analytical and soft skills that are difficult to automate.
Nine of the 15 most popular entry-level jobs are technical, including a number of both computer jobs and engineering-related jobs. Interestingly, a more “traditional” technical job occupies the number-one spot—junior mechanical engineer, which with a popularity index score of 4.78 is nearly five times more popular among entry-level job seekers than non-entry level.
Mechanical engineering goes back thousands of years, even if the types of machines we make today are different than, say, the boats of ancient Egypt. An entry-level mechanical engineer makes on average $57,822.
Next, we see some more recent entries to the world of work. Junior Java developer and CAE engineer occupy the second and third spots, followed by number-four industrial engineer and fifth-place junior product designer. These jobs all require technical proficiency and a STEM degree, and are essential to how businesses run today.
For instance, Java enables programmers write computer instructions using English-based commands rather than numerical code; it is widely integrated into business applications, websites and software. This job is more than four times as popular among entry-level job seekers than non-entry-level job seekers. Not to mention it pays well, too—$70,193 a year on average.
Entry-level jobs in marketing and comms also popular
But not everyone is technically inclined, and the workplace needs many different types of talents. So it’s no surprise that we also see jobs emphasizing soft skills in marketing and communications ranking highly, including junior publicist, junior marketing associate and media planner.
However, although these jobs require soft skills, they have also been transformed in recent years, and many if not all require a solid grip of analytics. It’s that combination that makes them so forward-looking.
A media planner makes on average $51,449, and the position is nearly three times more popular among entry-level job seekers than others. Media planners identify which platforms will best advertise a client’s brand or product and often work with other advertising agencies to maximize the impact of a campaign through different media platforms.
We also see the junior marketing associate role on the list. Marketing has transformed in recent years with the advent of digital tech, so it’s a promising role to pursue. Job seekers seem to be aware of this as junior marketing associate jobs have a popularity index of 3.49.
Perhaps surprisingly, we only see one health-care-related job on the list (exercise physiologist), despite the fact that the aging population means this is a strong field for job seekers to enter.
Meanwhile, given that the average American household carries $137,063 in debt, credit analyst is likely a solid role, and it is three times more popular among entry-level job seekers than others.
Tips on landing an entry-level job
So we see what job seekers are looking at when it comes to entry-level jobs. But how best to land those roles? Below are some tips (and for a much more comprehensive list of suggestions, be sure to check out Indeed’s Career Guide).
1) Clean up your social media
Yes, employers look. Job seekers should make sure privacy settings only allow close friends to see their posts. It’s also a good idea to delete anything embarrassing or incendiary that could cast you in a less-than-professional light.
2) Do your research
When applying for a job, it’s important that you don’t just “spray and pray.” Do research. Make note of the mission, voice and offerings of potential employers and target applications specifically. This is a good way to let employers know that you’re paying attention and are only applying to specific roles that you’re genuinely interested in.
3) Keep moving
Set a goal for yourself to send out a certain number of applications per week. Why? By applying to a certain number of jobs a week, you’re increasing your chances that one of them will bite. However, make sure to focus on applying to relevant jobs you’re qualified for—you’re 39% less likely to receive a positive response from employers if you don’t target your applications.
Jobs of the future require a mix of hard and soft skills, and an emphasis on tech and healthcare—and today’s entry-level job seekers are looking in the right places. Not only do these jobs pay well, but they also allow room for future growth and advancement, making them great jobs to jump start a career.
However, perhaps the most important thing for entry-level job seeker to do is stay positive and open to new opportunities. One thing is certain: career paths are hardly ever a straight line, and they can take a few twists and turns. Sometimes those surprises open up new pathways that are interesting in themselves.
Regardless, the jobs above show that today’s entry-level job seekers have their eyes on jobs that—even in these changing times—contain a lot of potential.