Career Development Director Kate Dey on Good/Bad Entry-Level Jobs

(l-r) Stephanie Smith, Erin Wheeler, Kate Dey, and CCA President Stephen Beal

Right on the cusp of CCA's commencement exercises this Saturday, May 17, at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, a timely WalletHub article, "Best & Worst Entry-Level Jobs," includes expert career advice from CCA's Career Development Director Kate Dey.

The featured article is written by Evolution Finance senior editor and writer John Kiernan and uses information sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, and

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In regard to the methodology used, "WalletHub began this report by assembling a list of 109 different types of entry-level jobs. We then identified 11 key metrics which speak to various aspects of the immediate opportunities, prospects for growth, and potential hazards associated with each type of job.

"This allowed us to ultimately construct a hierarchy for the entry-level job market that illustrates the types of jobs that should be most attractive to new labor market entrants -- particularly recent graduates -- in both the near and short term."

In addition to the insightful report, Dey joined a pool of other career specialists to offer her sage advice regarding specific career outlooks as well as tips for how to ensure a successful career.

The following comments are excerpts from Kiernan's article that highlight Dey's contribution.

What should recent graduates look for in an industry?

They should seek an industry that is geared toward supporting professional growth, innovation, risk-taking, and one that provides a work ethic in alignment with their core values.

Recent graduates are in a wonderful phase of future possibilities as they walk across the stage at graduation.

My advice is to find a field that sees them as emerging professionals with new ideas to contribute, but one that also expects them to be continually learning.

Seek an industry that is agile and entrepreneurial in its approach to business and that provides the professional space to expand their career horizons.

What is the biggest career mistake that young people make?

“Magical thinking. There can be the tendency to believe that everything will somehow work out even if they do not take the initiative to define a preferred outcome, set a strategy, and do the work required to reach their goal.

Thinking about the realities of the career market, looming financial responsibilities, and developing the tool kit for launching their careers is often on the back burner until graduation or after.

This is late when you take into consideration the global and competitive world of work that now exists for young talent.

Magical thinking may mean that students miss taking the opportunity to complete an internship, they do not build a robust professional network, they do not visit the career office, they do not utilize the expertise or professional connections of faculty, and they apply to jobs online without making a more personal contact.

Despite available resources and support, they try to navigate a multifaceted process on their own or with the uninformed guidance of friends and family.

A successful career strategy requires focus, energy, technique, resilience, and a sense of play.

A job search can be grueling and the support of a mentor or coach can be vital in developing the ability to put everything in perspective, develop a sense of self, be proactive, and acquire career development skills that can be used now and in the future.”

Tips for turning an entry-level job into a long, successful career?

I view the entry-level job as the first step on a new, exciting, and iterative career journey. My guidance is to understand that even if the job is at the coolest big name company; this job is just the beginning.

This first role will most likely be relatively short-term but is significant in setting a career foundation.

In this role be sure to:

  • Learn everything you can, be a sponge.
  • Speak up and contribute but also respect the knowledge already in the room.
  • Find a mentor; continue to seek out mentors throughout your career.
  • Be open to change and become comfortable with ambiguity, quickly.
  • Never assume you know the best answer but do believe you have an answer worth sharing.
  • Take credit for the work you do but do not take credit for the work of others.
  • Build and feed your network as a group of valued friends and make that network a two way street; give as much as you receive.
  • Always be in career development mode, do not rest on your laurels.
  • Career progression is earned and not guaranteed.
  • Some job duties are boring but still vital to do well.
  • Say thank you.

About Career Development at CCA

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CCA's Career Development team aims to empower CCA students and alumni with the tools and skills needed to launch their creative career aspirations.

In partnership with the college’s academic programs, Career Development prepares students to compete in today’s evolving workplace by making available professional development opportunities.

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Editor's note: In adhering to CCA Career Development Director Kate Dey's advice, we thank her for sharing her expertise at this most apropos time of year.

Be sure to read the complete article by John Kieman, where you'll find other career experts who've provided their advice to help steer new graduates toward more successful and fulfilling careers.