While the national rate of unemployment in America may have risen slightly between April and May this year, it has generally continued along a downward trend since the final financial quarter of 2012. The portents of moderate but sustained growth were continued in June. Although applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by 18,000, this remained consistent with the current level of job creation.
 
Further inspection of these statistics reveals a slightly different perspective, however, especially with regard to the type of jobs that are being created in the contemporary employment market. While the U.S. economy added an estimated 175,000 new jobs in May, for example, the majority of these were low paid, entry-level positions that delivered less than a living wage.
 
Maximizing Your Earning Potential in the Current Job Market
With youth unemployment in the United States also remaining uncomfortably high at 16.2%, it is clear that the job market poses considerable challenges to the majority of social demographics. The issues facing college graduates and America's unemployed youth offer a fascinating insight into the mindset of employers, however, as a lack of practical work experience often undermines any academic qualifications that candidates have acquired. With this in mind, entry-level jobs actually offer individuals a unique opportunity to maximize their current earning potential as they gather valuable industry experience. The key is to identify the most rewarding entry-level jobs, both in terms of salary and future career prospects. Consider the following options:
 
Financial Analyst 
While the current economic recovery may be extremely tentative, it has at least been sustained since the opening financial quarter of 2013. This triggered a rise in business confidence during June, as firms begin to look toward expansion and the investment of their accrued capital. In order to make wise and responsible decisions, however, organizations often turn to financial analysts for guidance and relevant market advice that help to maximize their potential returns.

Requiring a bachelor's degree and accessible to individuals who have no practical experience within the industry, it carries a median annual wage of $60,000, according to Glassdoor.com, and offers tremendous opportunities to recently graduated individuals. 
 
Investment Banking Analyst 
If you are motivated by a high bottom line salary and wish to apply your skills in a more clearly defined financial sector, becoming an investment banking analyst may be the ideal career choice. With a competitive median annual salary of approximately $73,000, it requires you to interpret financial data and economic trends while offering actionable investment advice. Clients can vary from wealthy investors to government agencies that are looking to issue stocks and bonds, so you must display diverse communication skills alongside your bachelor's or master's degree.

This job role is the ideal starting point for college graduates who are looking to forge a career in investment banking, which means that competition for positions is usually intense and extremely challenging.
 
Junior Tax Associate 
There have been positive signs of growth in the financial services sector during the formative stages of 2013, with business lending, life insurance and the asset management industry all benefiting from increased demand. Some financial services remain in constant demand, however, especially those that are associated with taxation and the need to comply with changeable financial legislation.

With this in mind, the role of a junior tax associate is ideal for college graduates who are looking to develop valuable workplace experience in the financial sector. Although it boasts a relatively moderate annual median salary of $53,000, it allows you to work alongside experienced tax associates and review client's internal fiscal reporting systems. It is a job accessible to anyone with a bachelor's degree in accounting and any additional accreditations.
 
Financial Auditor 
Regardless of your salary expectations or long-term career goals, you may decide to select a financial sector role that has both immediate and long-term potential for growth. The role of financial auditor provides a relevant example, as the recent global recession and its aftermath has forced businesses to place their spending and fiscal reporting under more stringent scrutiny as they look to learn valuable economic lessons.

As an auditor, you will review companies' financial statements and ensure that their public records are kept accurately and in compliance with existing legislation. You will also secure an annual median salary of $49,000, while a four-year bachelor's degree is the minimum academic requirement for applicants. To improve your prospects and compete in this well-populated sector, you should also consider completing an advanced degree course in accounting or business administration. 
 
The Bottom Line 
As entry-level jobs, these positions offer graduates of all ages an opportunity to forge a career in the growing financial services sector. They remain accessible to anyone with a bachelor's degree, regardless of each individual candidate's level of practical workplace experience and industry knowledge; they also deliver relatively competitive financial remuneration. So while an excess of low paid, entry-level jobs may be the source of controversy in the current employment market, it is possible for those with the necessary academic qualifications to maximize their earning potential both now and in the future.

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