Why You Should Search Beyond Big Cities for Entry-Level jobs

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San Diego, CA

These Cities Will Rock Your Socks Off

Anytime you ask a recent grad or someone in their final years of school where they would like to live and work after graduation, you’ll most likely hear: “New York City, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, or D.C.” Whether it is you answering or someone you know, there are many great offerings that lie outside of the major cities. Even cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Dallas are becoming top-risers amongst the list of big cities. While these cities may seem great, they are like top colleges that everyone wants to go to; limited space and a very competitive environment. The more coveted the city, the more difficult it will be to get a job there, and the more expensive it will be to live there.

What Else Is There? 

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

There are other cities that often get sidelined but have many attractive qualities to offer. What are the attractions that these major cities offer? Eateries, nightlife, demographics, culture, metropolitan atmosphere, and style of living to name a few. There are many other areas that offer these essentials and much more. Ever considered Columbus instead of NYC, San Diego instead of L.A., Philadelphia instead of Chicago, Portland instead of San Francisco, or Raleigh instead of D.C.? How many of you would believe that Philadelphia is more prosperous than Chicago with a 19% hiring rate according to Businessweek, and roughly $600 per month rent for a single bedroom apartment. These cities have much to offer, with less competition for positions similar to those offered in the big cities and with a significantly less cost of living.

Why So Popular? 

Columbus, OH

Columbus, OH

The entertainment industry and media attention skew the real circumstances of these cities. If Hollywood had never produced “The Devil Wears Prada” or “The Proposal”, how many of you would dream of being an assistant who is treated so horribly just to make it in The Big Apple? While these positions can be found virtually anywhere, if there is a market for a specific industry in a specific city, it is understandable to want to go work there (i.e. the engineering market in the Silicon Valley); but other than that, go spread your wings and try a new place that could lead you to success and a new way of living.  Instead think about Columbus, a rising metropolis, which made it into Forbes’ list of top 10 cities to find jobs, above New York, with a cost of living 6.7% below the national average.

Think About It 

Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, NC

Just to give you an idea of what these cities have to offer, take a look at Raleigh, NC. While D.C. is the head of the political game, Raleigh offers careers in medicine, business, science, engineering, and more. The cost of living in Raleigh is 53%-72% less than D.C. with an average of $923 per month rent versus a $2000 per month rent for a single bedroom, respectively. Raleigh also offers a suburban/urban atmosphere with historic culture, an artistic scene, and a surplus of recreational and social activities. Raleigh isn’t the only unheard of city with amenities to offer, but you won’t find out if you don’t take the chance of trying something new. California has some great cities; San Francisco, L.A. and wait, San Diego! What does San Diego have to offer that these others don’t? Amazing CA weather is a given, but also beautiful beaches, delicious foods, a rich metropolitan and suburban lifestyle, and the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the few zoos outside of China that has pandas! Like San Francisco but not the cost of living, or overcrowded atmosphere? Portland offers similar weather conditions but also a beautiful green scenery. Home to Voodoo Donuts, one of the most raved about donut shops nationally, Portland has a community atmosphere with festivals every month of the year! If you’re considering what city is the right choice for you, utilize CNN’s Cost of Living Calculator to help with your choice.

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Look into jobs in different cities or where jobs from a specific industry are and see where your interests lie. Once you’ve chosen a city take a look online, perhaps at their tourist sites to see if they offer a lifestyle that you could find suitable. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something comfortable and affordable for you, so that you can be happy.

Photo Credits:

San Diego: eremos_ca via Flickr

Philadelphia: Anita Behrman via Flickr

Columbus: Ron Reiring via Flickr

Raleigh: Mark Whitt via Flickr

Portland: BrandyVSOP via Flickr

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Radha Jhatakia