How can you best decide where to start your career? In a way, it’s both a blessing and a curse to get to pick where you want to look for your first big professional job. The world is your oyster, as they say, and the possibilities are wide open. But, at the same time, it can be really tough to know how to even begin to narrow down your options. There is a lot to consider when trying to decide where to launch your career. Here are a few factors to consider:
1. Industry opportunities
Naturally, you’ll want to look for work in an area that provides a lot of opportunities for workers in your industry. Ideally, these industry opportunities will be on the rise rather than going in the other direction. It would be great to find an area with lots of employers in your field to choose from.
These locations are easier to pinpoint in some industries than in others. For example, of course Palo Alto, California is a great place to live if you work as a software engineer. Other industries, like healthcare, are trickier to wrap your head around. Use PayScale’s Research Center to find job and salary data about the regions that interest you. Here you can find detailed information about pay differences for various jobs by location. It’s a tremendous resource.
2. Cost of living versus average pay
If you’re open to living and working in different areas there are a couple of important things you should keep in mind about salary. It’s essential to consider not just pay but also cost of living. There are some cities that stand out as having particularly high pay as well as low cost of living. There are a lot of advantages to choosing to start your career in a location where your salary will take you far. On the other hand, a high salary can still not be enough if you’re living in an area with a high cost of living.
So, if you’re considering relocating to start your career, be sure to use PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator to do your research in advance.
3. Personal preference
Of course, plenty of job opportunities and low cost of living only go so far. When it comes to figuring out where you’d like to start your career, don’t forget to factor in other aspects of your life and preferences. Consider whether or not you’d enjoy living near friends and family. Weigh your options and think about settling down in a region where you’ll have the opportunity to do the things you like to do – whether that’s hiking in the woods or going out on the town. Also, think about the kind of weather and other geographical factors when making your choice.
There is a lot to consider when deciding where to start your career. Just remember that you’re not just kicking off your career, you’re beginning a new phase of your life. You want to land in an area that will provide you with a wealth of options and opportunities.
Tell Us What You Think
Where are you thinking about starting your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.