Are you looking for an entry-level job to launch your career or shift to a new industry? This important stepping stone offers opportunities to gain valuable work experience and training. But how do you identify these jobs, and how do you know what they pay?
The Robert Half Salary Guide is a great starting point. It features the hottest jobs by specialization, employment trends and starting salaries for many of the entry-level jobs employers are seeking to staff in the coming year.
Tips for researching starting salaries
If you’re focusing on high-paying entry-level jobs in administrative and customer support, finance and accounting, healthcare, human resources, legal, marketing and creative, and technology professions, you’ll want to look at what you could earn in these two percentiles:
- 25th percentile — This reports starting salaries for job candidates who are still developing foundational skills and building professional experience.
- 50th percentile — This percentile may apply to candidates who can bring relevant experience to an entry-level role.
Keep in mind that you can localize your Salary Guide insights by filling in your city to see how it compares with the national average.
A look at some entry-level jobs
So, what are some entry-level jobs to consider? Here are 15 positions, organized by industry, with the general responsibilities and types of skills most employers are looking for. Check the Salary Guide for the most up-to-date salary information.
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Data analyst/report writer
Data analysts/report writers extract and report on an organization’s technical information in ways that make it easier for the business to use its data for decision making. Typical duties for this role include analyzing complex data systems and documenting data elements, data flow, relationships and dependencies. Data analysts/report writers also often need to collaborate closely with business analysts, data architects, data scientists and database developers to build data extraction, transaction and warehousing systems.
The most sought-after candidates have quantitative skills and problem-solving abilities, as well as thorough knowledge of relational database theory and practice.
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Help desk support
If you want to enter the tech space, help desk jobs are a good place to start. This role allows you to increase your knowledge of various technologies and hone your communication skills by assisting customers with technical issues. As such, working as a help desk support professional requires excellent problem-solving abilities, as well as patience, a friendly attitude and the ability to work as part of a team. A solid understanding of relevant hardware, software and network programs is also critical.
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All types of companies need web developers to support their online presence, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of digital commerce. But even before the pandemic, these professionals were in high demand — and hard to find — making web development one of the most lucrative fields for entry-level professionals.
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Accounting and finance
An accountant’s job typically includes assisting with audit fieldwork, both operational and financial; balancing ledger accounts; and correcting account discrepancies. As accountants move into more senior roles, they may also prepare financial statements and support month-end and year-end closes. Employers look to hire accountants with strong Excel, time management, analytical reasoning and communication skills. Candidates with public accounting experience are highly marketable.
Accountants are consistently in demand at certified public accounting firms. These roles sometimes start as contract jobs through tax season and turn into permanent positions later.
Credentials such as the CPA or advanced degrees such as an MBA can push your resume to the top of the pile and net you higher pay for a general accountant role.
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Companies need financial analysts to prepare profit and loss models, balance sheets and other data-driven management reports. These professionals must be able to communicate effectively across all levels of an organization since they are often expected to interact with executive management, project leaders, sales managers and other financial professionals. A thorough knowledge of general accounting procedures, reporting and expense analysis, and journal posting is typically required.
The CPA license is a plus for the financial analyst role. Also, many employers look for candidates with an MBA.
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders expanded their hiring of loan administrators and other professionals, like loan processors, to keep up with applications for financial assistance. Lenders continue to need loan administrators to field requests from customers seeking loans to jump-start new ventures, make improvements or help cover other expenditures.
A loan administrator’s duties include processing or monitoring loan payments. They help ensure that loan documentation is properly put together and signed, collateral is documented appropriately so that the bank is protected, loans are set up in the bank accounting system, and clients are properly billed.
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This position is often a starting point for a career in healthcare. It’s also the initial contact for patients when they call or walk into a medical office or hospital.
Medical receptionists perform administrative duties, greet visitors, manage patient intake, answer phone calls, schedule appointments and file medical records. Interpersonal and organizational skills are a plus, as is familiarity with medical terminology and ability to work in a clinical environment.
Marketing and creative
The content strategist’s core responsibility is developing an effective content strategy based on a company’s or client’s business objectives and customers’ needs. That includes planning, creating and managing content that is relevant, engaging, easy to find, actionable and shareable across digital platforms. Other duties can include providing guidance on which channels to use for content delivery and measuring customer engagement to assess the effectiveness of the content strategy.
Content strategists should be high-level thinkers, standout idea generators and problem solvers. Employers often prefer candidates with strong search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) skills and project management experience.
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Copywriters can be key players in helping campaigns stand out and resonate with target audiences. Working for agencies and creative departments, these professionals rely on their exemplary writing skills to craft copy for websites, ads and marketing materials. Their portfolios include work that is innovative and polished — and adheres to their company’s or clients’ brand, voice and style guidelines.
Demand is running high for these skilled professionals as more companies invest in content marketing and need writers to develop copy for various channels — online and offline.
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Administrative and customer support
From screening calls and managing calendars to making travel arrangements and coordinating meetings, executive assistants provide invaluable support to executive managers. These demanding administrative support professionals are always evolving in their clerical, administrative and logistical responsibilities, including learning new technologies.
Executive assistants typically need strong computer and internet research skills, flexibility, excellent interpersonal abilities, and project coordination experience. Successful candidates provide high-level administrative support and have the ability to work well with all levels of internal management and staff, and outside clients and vendors. Training and supervising other staff may be a job requirement as well.
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Mortgage processors, also often referred to as loan officers or mortgage loan processors, need help reviewing loan applications, preparing letters of credit for clients, tracking loan processing and billing, and providing timely customer service. Mortgage assistants can provide support for all of the above — and more.
Mortgage assistant positions often require a high school diploma or equivalent and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Requirements for the mortgage assistant role typically include solid organizational and communication skills, a solid mathematical foundation, and solid problem-solving skills.
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HR assistants help HR directors and managers with an array of tasks, from screening phone calls and scheduling interviews to locating potential job candidates and planning new-hire orientations.
An HR assistant position can be a solid foundational step toward launching an HR career. A successful candidate for this role possesses strong communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as solid computer skills.
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This entry-level role supports lawyers and other legal staff. Case clerks take on research, document review, data entry and case file management. Basic qualifications for this role include excellent organizational skills and attention to detail and computer expertise. Candidates with knowledge of legal software and database programs are especially marketable.
Case clerks can gain deep insight into the legal support function, which can give them a strong foundation for making a future move up to a paralegal or legal assistant position.
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Document coders take the information obtained in discovery and organize it by priority in case management systems. Their roles can also make eDiscovery and trial preparation more efficient. Document coders’ heavy involvement in litigation support means that they can learn a lot about fast-growing practice areas — valuable knowledge they can take with them to their next legal job.
Skills required for the role include a general understanding of legal concepts and meticulous attention to detail.
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These professionals play a vital part in sealing real estate deals — and the role can be a launching pad to a real estate or lease administration career. Title closers are responsible for preparing documentation required for property sales: mortgage documents, deeds, tax records, insurance policies and more. They also review these documents for issues, such as outstanding liens or taxes due. Duties for the title closer role may also include preparing title commitments, settlement statements, financial distributions and closing packages.
Basic qualifications for title closers include a notary license and some training in real estate transactions, contract preparation, title regulations, record keeping and research.
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If you’re on the hunt for the best entry-level jobs, Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, has five tips that can help make your search successful. See this short video.