These Are the 10 Best Cities for New College Graduates and Career Changers, According to LinkedIn

published May 19, 2022
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About ten years ago this month, I was in absolute misery — a ball of stress so tightly wound, you could have bounced me off a wall. College graduation was mere weeks away, and between preparing for finals, bittersweet farewells with friends embarking on post-graduate journeys, and job hunting, I was a complete wreck. 

With very little practical direction, pending creative writing and sociology degrees, and a constant state of panic, I sent my resume to every seemingly viable entry-level position’s recruiter. Eventually, I landed at a very just-okay first job. Today, I’m thrilled with where I’ve ended up after a decade, but I wish I’d squashed some of that post-grad dread and planned a little more strategically, pursuing an entry-level job I truly wanted instead of accepting the first offer I received in the city I never left. 

For this spring’s college graduates, the job landscape is far more promising. And fortunately, LinkedIn’s 2022 Guide to Kickstarting Your Career has some valuable data to help entry-level job seekers — including upcoming grads — start out on the right foot. According to LinkedIn, here are the top 10 cities for entry-level jobs in the United States. 

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1. Austin, Texas

The first location on this list happens to be my favorite city in the entire world. With an average rent of $1,735, you’re going to want to keep things weird in “the live music capital of the world” with a couple of roommates. In addition to being a musical nucleus, ATX also happens to be a booming tech universe. Celebrate your graduation the way I should have: with food truck grub and a Lonestar. 

2. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Situated along the Appalachian Mountains, this southeastern Tennessee city is known for its railroad history and as the site of Civil War battles. Soon, it will be known as the place where you start your entry-level job! With an average rent of $1,238 per month, this southern city is a wonderful place to start building a career and exploring the beautiful surroundings, including mountains, caves, and the Tennessee Riverwalk.

3. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

If you’re looking for an entry-level position within the research field, look no further than Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, aka“ the “Research Triangle.” With average rent prices at $1,522, $1,468, and $1,744, respectively, this region is ideal for those considering graduate school at one of the region’s major research universities… or for those who just love pleasant weather and picturesque scenery.

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina’s largest city is a major hub for finance and sports. For those seeking entry-level opportunities in those industries, Charlotte may be the ideal location to start building a career. With an average rent of $1,559, this city has much to offer any type of job seeker, from recent graduates to folks looking for a career change. 

5. Cape Coral, Florida

Before digging into LinkedIn’s data, I had never heard of Cape Coral, Florida — a gorgeous city along the Gulf of Mexico. Turns out, I’m an outlier. Cape Coral is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and residents pay an average $1,944 rent per month. The city also boasts a massive network of canals, some of which have access to the Gulf. Who wouldn’t want to start the next phase of their career here?

6. Denver, Colorado

Among my friends, it seems like Denver is THE place to relocate. Outdoor activities reign supreme year-round, and residents know how to work hard and play way harder. The average rent is $1,879 per month, which might be tough for recent graduates. But the surging population means you can meet plenty of potential roommates at your local hiking trail!

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7. Nashville, Tennessee

Music City, baby! I’m a sucker for classic country tunes, delicious barbeque, and a late night honky tonk. And if I were in the market for an entry-level position, you better believe Nashville would be on my shortlist. Keep in mind, this town is booming, and the average rent reflects that at $1,694/month. But who can resist warm weather, iconic music, and a damn good time?

8. San Diego, California

While you set out on your search for the perfect entry-level job, I can think of fewer places more beautiful than San Diego. With one of the best climates in the U.S., this So-Cal city’s average rent clocks in at ​​$2,756. While that might be a tough number to swallow, the city’s signature California burrito will go down smooth. 

9. New York City, New York

Have you heard of this place? According to LinkedIn, this iconic city is teeming with entry-level opportunities. For those willing to navigate the rental situation in the five boroughs, start searching for rental opportunities in Manhattan (average $4,265 per month), the Bronx (average $1,650 per month), Staten Island (average $1,500 per month), Brooklyn (average $3,124 per month), and Queens (average $2,769 per month).

10. Boston, Massachusetts  

Unsurprisingly, the average rent in this city — one of the oldest U.S. municipalities — is a tough number to look at: $3,634 per month. But the cultural opportunities and rich American history make this city an intriguing option for entry-level job seekers. How do you like them apples?

For more entry-level job search resources and for those setting out on a new career path, be sure to check out LinkedIn’s 2022 Guide to Kickstarting Your Career.