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I did not get a job offer related to my major. Would taking an entry-level job hurt my chances for a future job in my field? 

With the economy experiencing the strongest entry-level job market in years, your question is one that many recent college graduates are considering. A recent Rockefeller Foundation study points to a high rate of college graduate underemployment. We are experiencing an upward trend in graduates with 4-year degrees, creating a flood of competition for available jobs. So, how can taking a job on the ground floor help you?

In an ideal world, you would walk straight into a nicely salaried job in the field of your college major. As you discovered, this is unrealistic, landing a job related to your major is not guaranteed and is pretty unlikely for most. There can be a number of reasons for this, too many candidates being one of the top ones, company hiring budget constraints another.

This does not mean that you will not get your dream job, but not right now and you need to start paying back student debts. To get ahead in today’s economy, you need to think long term, perhaps earning less money right now and more in the future. Making an investment in your career and yourself will see dividends in later years. Take a step back, put your pride aside, and seek the potential in any opportunity and every job.

One of the most important mindsets when doing any job is to do your absolute best and treat it as though it were your dream job. You never know what you will learn and where it will lead. A job at a canine center led one entrepreneur to launch the mobile pet grooming industry.

Wherever you end up working, look for new challenges and try to take on projects that will award you some leadership. Ones that others will shy away from are often a good start, you have nothing to lose. Instead of focusing on your job title or the industry, focus on the problem at hand and look for innovative ways to solve it.

Project management, critical thinking, and communication skills are applicable to almost every industry, so abilities honed now will serve you well later. One former student working at a drain inspection company conceived the idea to introduce cameras, rather than workers to survey the pipe system, saving time and increasing safety.

Your employers and colleagues will all be good for building your network which you can rely on later. Take time to connect with them as you never know where they may be connected. You should also continue researching your desired industry and companies. Social events can keep you in the loop and provide those all-important networking opportunities.

Doing an entry-level job can be beneficial in many ways, when you do leave it make sure you have a good story and leave a good impression. Future employers will ask about your time at your previous job, a positive one will go a lot further, every job should open new doors and possibilities.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door… Milton Berle. 

Written by Martin J. Young, former correspondent of Asia Times.

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