Beginning Your Career: Location Tips & Advice

Best cities for careers

When I was in my early 20s, I moved geographic locations four times while building my career. An increasing number of Millennials today no longer feel major geographic moves are necessary to launch their careers. Those unwilling to move jumped to 40% in the most recent U.S. Census report. But if you are thinking about making a move, you may want to take note of the new study by financial website Wallet Hub that ranked the best cities to start your career.

WalletHub analyzed 150 of the largest U.S. cities to determine the relative strength of their job markets, the attractiveness of their social scenes, and various other factors that are important to new job market entrants. Although the listing is debatable for those of us living in Chicago (ranked 54th), I was pleased to be one of the individuals interviewed for suggestions on starting a career. Here are the top 10 cities and my responses to the WalletHub career-related questions:

The top 10 cities:

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Irving, TX
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Minneapolis, MN
  6. San Francisco, CA
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Dallas, TX
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. Houston, TX

Q. What should recent graduates look for in an industry?

A. Potential of growth is the key measure when assessing a career opportunity. Be careful if an organization isn’t growing and doesn’t appear to have the potential for growth. Such situations don’t provide the types of personal growth experiences that will provide a rewarding launch pad for your career.

Q. Do you have any tips for turning an entry-level job into a long, successful career?

A. Internships have become the primary proving ground for full-time jobs. Work hard, check in regularly with your supervisor and volunteer to do more than what is assigned to you. Don’t ever complain. If you’re doing something you hate, proceed with a smile. Recognize that this, too, will pass and the way you handle your early days on the job lays the groundwork for your success in the next position.

Q. What is the biggest career mistake that young people make?

A. Failing to build a network early in your career is a major mistake for many young professionals. Don’t become so focused on getting your job done as quickly as possible so you can meet up with friends. Make time to meet peers in other organizations through professional associations, nonprofit organizations and other groups. These relationships will lead to future opportunities if and when you want to move on. I have held 12 different jobs over my career and all but two came via my network, not job postings or other advertising.

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