These days, "Entry-Level" means 2-5 yrs experience.
Anyone else noticed this?
What you may be seeing is an abuse of the terminology. What you and I understand is about the same as in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entry_level_job
One guess it that if an employer has an "entry-level" job to fill and requires 2 or more years of experience, the employer is really trying to get a scientist or technician for a lower price. To be just slightly more generous, an employer might just want a scientist or engineer with very little experience but who has done some real work and understands what real work is about.
Yes. This is a common thing to joke or moan about for recent graduates without a job, or who had a hard time finding one. In some fields there simply are no entry level jobs (posted publicly) and in others the employers redefine them as you describe.
I don't have personal experience with this yet, but the advice I have gathered from others in a similar position is the following:
Don't take the requirements too seriously. If the job is something that you feel comfortable you could do, then apply. Maybe they just prefer experience or maybe someone in HR wrote the posting without consulting the relevant group that does the interviews. If it is clear from the job posting that you would need on the job experience, then the job may not be for you, but if not, then what is the worst that could happen by applying? Even if they originally wanted a mildly experienced candidate you may be able to convince them that you would make as good a hire.
In the programming world there are often postings asking for 5-10 or 10-15 of years experience with technologies that are 3 years old. This is not because they expect time travelers to apply, but because job postings are not perfect and are quite often written by people who don't know the needs of the group you will work for or only knows them in broad terms.
The worst that can happen is that they will throw your application in the bin, and that is likely going to happen at a lot of places anyway, no matter how well you fit their profile. They will not remember the rejects for an entry level position so don't worry about getting a bad reputation. If the position is not right for you, then you may even find that some employers will keep your resume on file in case of a job opening that you would fit (they usually announce it if this is their policy).
You can also be a bit creative with what experience means if you want (not lying). If you have worked on research in a lab (even on something simple under direct supervision and instruction from a professor), then that can often count as experience for an entry level position. The same goes for contribution to open source projects if the position involves programming, or maybe even just working on a personal project of some size.
In some industries internships are often common, and then you may see companies only wanting people with experience because that is the easiest way to filter "bad" applicants. However since you are on this site I assume you study physics, math, chemistry, or some field like that where internships are rare.
As long as you don't lie, then the worst that can happen is that they invite you to an interview and get mildly annoyed that you were not qualified for the position.
Yeah, I have seen this fairly often. I think it's because the meaning of the term "entry-level" has shifted to basically mean junior level employee. In other words a sort of blanket category for people with less than 3 to 5 years experience.
Why you're not seeing any "no experience" postings is partially those sorts of hires are generally done via other channels such as a college recruiting program that the company runs.
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