These Are the Best Places to Start a Career

A must-read for recent college grads searching for a first job.

Photo by Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images

So you’re looking for a job? If you’re not quite sure where to begin—and your location is flexible—data from might help jumpstart your search. The financial site evaluated 100 U.S. cities based on several important factors, including job prospects, pay potential, quality of life, social opportunities, and career advancement, to determine the best place to launch a career.

New York City topped the list of best places to “make it big,” with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and San Jose, Calif., following.

“Although young grads will be faced with major competition for available jobs in these top cities, the opportunities for career growth and quality of life among peers far exceed what is offered in less competitive job markets,” banking analyst Claes Bell, CFA, said in a statement.

Despite high scores in quality of life, Fayetteville, NC, is considered the worst place to launch a career because of limited possibilities for career advancement, few job prospects, and below-average pay potential. The remaining bottom five cities were also southern: Mobile, Ala.; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Jackson, Miss.; and Montgomery, Ala.