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Here Are the Best (and Worst) Cities to Start Your Career

College graduation season is here, which means a new batch of job seekers is entering the job market. Getting your foot in the door isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself, and better your chances of...

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College graduation season is here, which means a new batch of job seekers is entering the job market. Getting your foot in the door isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to make it a little easier on yourself, and better your chances of finding work and getting out of your parents’ house. Something a lot of people don’t consider when looking for a job, is how much the location might impact their search.

The fact of the matter is there are some cities that are more conducive to starting a career than others. Fortunately, WalletHub has removed a little bit of the guesswork. The personal finance site just released a new ranking it put together by surveying relative job market strength and overall livability of hundreds of cities in the US, breaking each one down by more than 20 key metrics including availability of entry-level jobs and average starting salary. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, and each city was given a weighted average to reach an overall score for you to consider.

WalletHub even illustrated its findings on an interactive map (shown below).

Source: WalletHub

The 10 best cities to start a career

10. Denver, Colorado
9. Boston, Massachusetts
8. Raleigh, North Carolina
7. Seattle, Washington
6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
5. Austin, Texas
4. Orlando, Florida
3. Atlanta, Georgia
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1. Salt Lake City, Utah

The 10 worst cities to start a career

10. Shreveport, Louisiana
9. Montgomery, Alabama
8. Hialeah, Florida
7. Bridgeport, Connecticut
6. Oxnard, California
5. Pearl City, Hawaii
4. New Haven, Connecticut
3. Toledo, Ohio
2. Newport News, Virginia
1. Jackson, Mississippi

Neither list contains cities you may have expected to see, like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. This may seem like a shock to you, especially if you planned to make the move to one of these cities to get a start. The good news is, you can put the moving boxes away and maybe save some cash. Smaller cities tend to have more opportunities for entry-level workers and are way more affordable.

If small town living isn’t your thing, though, there are a few major cities on the list that are still great options. Denver, Boston, Raleigh, Seattle, Austin, and Atlanta can afford you high-paying salaries and a slew of entry-level gigs, plus they’re all-around great places to live. What we’re saying is, you can’t lose here.

New York, often looked at as a beacon of hope for eager young jobseekers, didn’t make it to either top-10 list. It was, however, rated the city with the second-least entry-level jobs per working-age population. Still, it was Pearl City, Hawaii and Newport News, Virginia that landed in the top two on the worst cities to start a career with low job growth and uncompetitive salaries. Sorry, y’all. You may have to venture elsewhere to find work. The lowest on the list overall was Shreveport, Louisiana, but Connecticut made the list with two different cities ranking among the worst.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, fear not. A lot of this depends on the industry you’re in. Still, maybe do yourself a favor and avoid the 10 worst cities -- at least the ones closer to the top. You got this.


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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it -- find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.