As far as getting a job goes, there are many challenges along the way. One common dilemma faced by all first time applicants how to gain job experience when experience is required to apply for a job. This vicious cycle, not unlike the age-old chicken and egg complex, has contributed to the ever competitive job market.

Many companies have phased out their entry level job positions in favor of unpaid internships. As more people seek higher education, the percentage of those entering the job market with the technical skills to do a job, but no real world experience is increasing.

The importance of experience is relative to the field that your career is in. For example, many food service jobs require some past history working in kitchens or, at least, prior safety training and cooking or serving experience. Often times, the less formal education required to do the job, the more past experience is expected.

Other career paths, such as those within the theatre, arts, and entertainment communities are entirely dependent on networking and past experience. Finding entry level jobs within tight knit communities such as these can be incredibly challenging.

Recognizing the necessary challenge of gaining experience, the next obvious question to ask is whether or not it benefits you beyond initially obtaining the job. In an ideal world, experience would be reflected in your compensation, and in some cases it is. Some studies report that one year’s experience can result in as much of a 10 percent salary increase. Although this is a seeming reasonable amount, if you are a female in the workplace, your pay would still be set back by 15 percent more than your male counterparts. You could earn over two times what you would earn in a year’s experience by filing a suit demanding equal pay.

Overall, while experience in every field is not directly linked to increased pay it certainly benefits both you, your employers, and the people you serve. Experience provides valuable life lessons that can repay you in ways that are beyond monetary value. The question of whether or not experience is linked to pay raised is asked with the premeditated assumption that increased finances are the main ambition. The best thing to do: get out there, start connecting and find the choice that works best your career path.