Best Big Cities to Begin Your Career

Source: Bankrate's 2017 Best Cities to Start a Career survey
Source: Bankrate’s 2017 Best Cities to Start a Career survey

During a recent Plank Center event at DePaul, I was asked the same question by three college seniors from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, University of Alabama and Ball State: “Where should I begin my career?”

Admitting my Chicago bias, I cited New York, Chicago and San Francisco as the best agency markets in the U.S., followed by Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.

A few other students asked if it was possible to stay in their college communities where they already are established. That’s fine if you go to school in a big city. But if you’re in Oshkosh, Tuscaloosa or Muncie, you almost certainly have to move to a larger market.

A recent analysis of best major markets for launching a career confirms my general recommendations, but it also has some surprises. For instance, Houston and Minneapolis-St. Paul rank at the top of the list of best cities to begin your career. Granted, the Bankrate analysis is general to all jobs, not specific to PR careers. Still, this list will be worthwhile for job seekers to study as they think about their post-graduation lives.

Best big cities for starting your career:

  1. Houston
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Milwaukee
  5. Dallas
  6. Columbus, OH
  7. San Jose, CA
  8. New York
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. San Francisco
  11. Chicago
  12. Cincinnati
  13. Austin
  14. Denver          
  15. San Antonio
  16. Seattle           
  17. Kansas City, MO
  18. Baltimore
  19. Indianapolis
  20. Los Angeles

Bottom three of 50 top markets: Sacramento, CA; Miami and Riverside-San Bernardino, CA.

To come up with this list,, a leading personal finance provider, analyzed data from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index and the Council for Community and Economic Research. Besides the overall rating of top metro markets, the list also ranks career potential, affordability and lifestyle.

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