Entry-level jobs and internships are a great way to gain experience and get your foot in the door — you have to start somewhere and learn the basics, after all. However, it’s important to have a full understanding of the role, especially if you’re a new and eager employee. When your main goal is to learn as much as you can, it can be disappointing for your duties to be reduced to answering calls and getting coffee for your supervisors or simply waiting around for a task that will be (hopefully) handed to you.

Startups, however, can present a unique opportunity to play a much larger role in an organization, especially at the junior level. “Entrepreneurship is boiling over in the beauty industry,” according to Forbes. Startups are changing the landscape previously dominated by corporate titans. Smaller independent companies usually need as many hands on deck as they can get and tend to pack their entry-level roles and internships with practical tasks. But there comes the possibility of being overloaded with duties that are not in your job description.

How do you avoid either? We’ve asked our BeautyForce experts, Executive Recruiter Alaina Bavelas and Client Strategist Jessica Viana, for their tips on what to look for in entry-level roles and internships to make sure you will benefit from a 5-star learning experience and set your career in beauty up for success.

1. Avoid vague job descriptions
While it is not a guarantee, vague job descriptions can often mean equal vague job responsibilities. This means a candidate might end up doing lots of grunt work and whatever tasks the main team cannot tackle. According to Viana, that could be an indicator that the team hasn’t clearly defined what it is looking for in a role. Bavelas says that candidates need to look out for key phrases, such as “organizing daily schedules,” “organizing paperwork for the team,” etc. “Find keywords and phrases that make it look like you are supporting the team rather than being a part of it,” Bavelas says. “If you are looking at a job description, and it seems pretty generic, and it could fit into any department, it may be a more administrative task-driven position.” Roles that have specific requirements, such as proficiency in certain platforms or programs or results-driven tasks, will allow you to apply your skills.

2. Evaluate your compensation
Compensation can sometimes indicate how much work the company will expect you to do. “I would say that with any role below $55,000, you are not going to be doing much work other than more administrative-focused work,” Bavelas says.

3. Ask the right questions
What are their plans for growth in the near future? Where does the current team stand? Where do their contributions lie? Who is currently handling these tasks? What are their current resources? What are the challenges the company is dealing with right now? Such questions can help a candidate identify where gaps in the organization are, Viana says.

4. Do your research
In this digital era, the Internet makes it easy for us to figure out what things will or won’t work for us. Similar to reading reviews on Amazon about new tech gadgets, we can now look up company reviews on a variety of websites, such as Glassdoor and Indeed. New startups and independent brands are often harder to pin down but there are ways of cracking their codes as well if you’re creative enough in your research.

5. Dig deeper
Most job postings for entry-level positions and internships will have the title of one’s potential supervisor, whom a candidate would be reporting to. Bavelas suggests finding them on LinkedIn and seeing what their position entails and also looking into a team under that person. It’s important to see if that actual role as it’s been titled fits in this team.

6. Startups can jumpstart your career
If someone is entrepreneurial and wants to be a part of a brand’s success, beauty startups can be a great workplace and a learning experience for that candidate. Beauty startups tend to be more innovative than some established bigger companies, and working there can be a good foundation for entering the evolving industry.

“When we are recruiting, it’s the biggest ask of all of our clients: someone who has come from a small startup that has scaled,” Bavelas says.

Interested in working for an innovative and independent beauty company? Check out job postings at our BeautyForce job board.