What to Do When an Entry-Level Job Requires Two to Three Years of Experience

Should You Still Apply?

You worked hard in college, and now you’re looking for a great job. But everything you apply for lists two to three years of “real world” experience.

This is a problem grads across the nation are dealing with. Some companies ask for a four-year degree and three years of experience for an entry-level, which can seem impossible. However, if you dig into your college accomplishments, you can find exactly what they’re looking for. Here are a few things to focus on in your resume.

Study Abroad

If you ever studied abroad, be sure to put that on your resume! Employers are always looking for differentiators when they look at resumes and spending a semester or two in England or Beijing is sure to impress.

Study abroad shows that you’re willing to learn, can adapt, and have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.


Did you act as a treasurer for your fraternity or sorority? Maybe you were a member of the Multicultural club and helped organize an event.

Regardless of the type of organization, your involvement counts as experience. However, make sure to call attention to specific accomplishments (projects you organized, events you led, etc.). Just listing “member” isn’t going to get you very far.

Honor Societies

Although belonging to an honor society doesn’t qualify as experience per se, membership can still make your resume pop. However, only include honor societies with the most stringent qualifications. There are hundreds of honor societies out there, and you want to pick a recognizable one that shows your accomplishments, not one that recruits everyone with a certain GPA.

Group Projects

If you lead a group project or contributed in a major way, include that information on your resume. Here’s a secret: group projects don’t end after college. With the exception of a few select jobs, all of life is just one group project after the next. The folks that slacked off in college generally continue to laze about in their real-world jobs. So, dealing with a problem team member, pushing the project to success, or overcoming major obstacles are all valid as experience on your resume.

At the end of the day, remember: the job description is just a hiring manager’s wish list, and three years of experience is a way to weed out the competition. If you can make your resume stand out in other ways, you can get an interview. Don’t let anything stop you from applying for a job you know is perfect for you.

What types of experience do you include on your resume? Let us know in the comments section below!


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