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An Open Letter to Entry-Level Positions Requiring 2+ Years of Experience

open letter
Kema Christian-Taylor - WayUp Staff Kema Christian-Taylor - WayUp Staff View profile
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Published on July 1, 2015

Dear HR Manager,

After graduating with a double major from an acclaimed university where I juggled a schedule full of extracurriculars and internships, I am still on the job hunt one month later. There hasn’t been a single job listing that has made me say, “This is my dream career” –until I found the entry-level opening at your company.

Reading through the description of your ideal candidate only confirmed that this couldn’t be a more perfect position. Detail-oriented – Check, that’s me. Excellent communication and writing skills –double check: my major had me writing and presenting 4 papers a month. Creative problem-solver with an ability to work well under pressure–I mean, is this my life in a listing?

Then I got to the qualifications section: “Must have 2 or more years of experience in a related field.”

…Wait, isn’t this an entry-level position?

I get it: you want the best of the best at your company– that’s part of the reason why I admire your mission and your team so much. But I worked as hard as I could for 4 years as a full-time student, working part-time jobs for 4 years (which I thought would be the equivalent of 2 years of real world experience). With all due respect, how am I supposed to get experience if I’m not given the opportunity to gain it?

My inexperience doesn’t have to be a risk – it can be a benefit. Last month, I had the opportunity to go to my best friend’s Harvard graduation, where I listened to Natalie Portman’s commencement speech to the Class of 2015. In it, she said that “inexperience is an asset and will allow you to think in original, unconventional ways,” describing a famous violinist she knows who can’t compose because “he knows too many pieces, so when he starts to think of a note, an existing piece immediately comes to mind.” Yes, there will be a learning curve when I come into a new position, but I can compose new ideas. Take one look at how much I’ve accomplished in the past 4 years, and you’ll realize that I won’t just work harder than any other hire – I’ll work more creatively, with the specific kind of innovation that only a young mind can bring to a company like yours, a company that needs to keep growing, adapting, and moving swiftly into the future.

That is why I am writing to tell you that I have applied to the position–not because I don’t respect your desired qualifications, but because I couldn’t pass up the chance at applying for my dream job. I may be new to the workforce, but as you will soon realize, I am ready to contribute something unexpected and great.  And after all, isn’t the best candidate the one who sees a challenge and creates an opportunity?

Thanks for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,

Recent Grad ‘15

Kema Christian-Taylor - WayUp Staff Guest Contributor

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