The Best Jobs For Recent College Grads
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the best jobs for recent college grads who want to earn more money, have better job security, and find enjoyable/exciting work at interesting companies.
After years of working as a Recruiter, learning about different positions, hearing what different jobs pay, and studying employment trends… these are what I feel are the the best jobs for recent college graduates.
And the top 3 careers I recommend can all be started with ANY college degree.
This list isn’t just about the highest-paying entry level jobs, but also job security, future career growth opportunities, and finding interesting work.
However, you’ll see below that many of the jobs listed below ARE some of the best-paid jobs, because the higher-paying, in-demand jobs also tend to have better job security and more options/choices in the future.
The Best Jobs And Careers For Recent College Graduates:
Let’s get started with the list of best jobs for recent college grads now.
In no particular order, these are the absolute BEST jobs and careers for recent college graduates in my opinion.
1. Software Engineering/Programming And Related Fields
This is one of the best jobs for recent college graduates interested in technology and software.
Software engineering is hands-down one of the best fields you can get into right now in terms of salary, demand for your skills, and future career growth.
These positions pay extremely well.
(Some software developers earn $100K+ after just two or three years in the field).
And demand is rising as more of the world’s businesses rely on software. (Even businesses that have been around forever like UPS).
And while you’ll have a leg-up on the competition if you have a 4-year degree in Computer Science, it’s not necessary or required for all jobs in this field…
There are many coding “bootcamps” and schools teaching this skill set in a matter of weeks, rather than years.
And some of them help you find a job after graduating as well.
Here are a couple of the top programs for learning software development:
General Assembly – a coding bootcamp with physical locations in many major cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Denver, and many more. Plus international cities including London, Sydney, Melbourne, Paris and Singapore.
They also offer online courses if you’re not in one of the cities they operate in.
Lambda School – a 9-month immersive program teaching you modern programming skills, with no upfront cost. According to their website, “Instead of paying tuition, students can agree to pay a percentage of their income after they’re employed, and only if they’re making more than $50k per year”
PluralSight – an online platform for learning a variety of cutting edge tech skills, with a free 10-day trial.
It might also be worth checking out LinkedIn Learning, one of my favorite online learning platforms for a variety of topics. (they have 10,000+ courses across a very broad range of categories).
Note: I’d also put careers like data science and data engineering into this group of some of the best entry level college graduate jobs.
I expect the demand (and pay) for these positions to be as good as software engineering in the coming decade and beyond.
However, jobs in data science and similar fields tend to require an advanced background in mathematics, statistics or computer science, so it’s less likely you’ll be able to get up to speed with just a short “bootcamp.”
So that’s why I talked more about software development jobs above… because you can learn the skills necessary to develop apps and websites (and get a job doing this) much faster.
2. Digital Marketing
Don’t want to learn programming? No problem!
There are a couple more great careers for recent college grads with any degree, and digital marketing is one of them.
At this point, every company knows they need a digital presence, even the very old-fashioned companies that traditionally relied on off-line marketing.
(Go try to find a single large brand without social media accounts. You can’t).
And as companies get on-board, they’re realizing they need a lot of help in this area.
Specific work in this field includes creating and managing online advertisements (on Facebook, Google, Instagram and more)… managing “organic” social media posts (non-paid ads – regular posts that companies put out to their followers.
There are many other areas as well, including website optimization, email marketing, and much more.
It’s also a relatively new field so you won’t be competing against people who have 20-30 years of experience.
Some of the most knowledgeable digital marketers are in their 20’s right now.
So you can earn a great salary ($50-60K within one or two years, and much more over time) in this field.
If you want help getting started in this field, I wrote a detailed review of the one online resource I recommend for learning digital marketing. You can read more here:
My guide on where to learn digital marketing online
This is another one of the best careers for college graduates, and one of my personal favorites.
I heard a statistic recently that 70% of billionaires got started in sales.
I’m not sure if it’s true, but I don’t doubt it…
Sales teaches you incredible skills – persuasion, resiliency (after you get hung up on a few times or yelled at once or twice, you realize it’s NOT a big deal and life goes on).
And you can earn an absolute TON of money. It’s without a doubt one of the best careers for recent grads.
In one of my first jobs after graduating college, I was on the customer service team and sat right next to the sales team…
And I overheard some interesting things. For example…
The top sales guy in the company made $2 million a year.
He lived in Mexico on a beach with his wife.
The second best sales guy made over $1 million a year.
And they were doing it with college degrees in English and History, not Business!
You DON’T need a business degree to get most of the best business jobs as a recent college graduate.
That’s why sales is one of the best jobs for recent graduates who want to earn 6 figures or more.
Why Do Salespeople Make So Much? (Sometimes MILLIONS a Year)
Simply put… because they can earn their employer so much.
If you’re closing deals and bringing in millions in revenue for the company, they have no problem paying you a piece of that through “commission”.
(Commission is when your employer pays you a percentage of the value of new deals you bring into the company).
It’s a win-win for the company, and a win-win for you if you learn sales and perform at a high level.
Warning: Not All Sales Jobs Are Created Equal…
I’d recommend B2B sales (business-to-business).
These will be larger deals, so more potential money in YOUR pocket.
Business people are also typically more reasonable when you’re trying to sell to them.
They’re not spending their own personal money when they agree to a deal with your company; they’re spending their company’s budget.
It’s not personal and there’s less emotion involved… which makes it much more relaxed and easier in my opinion.
If you do get into B2B sales, the typical base salary will be around $35-65K, and there should be a commission structure too.
Avoid positions that pay 100% commission and zero base salary, especially as a recent college grad or entry level job seeker.
There are definitely some scams out there, and they’ll often pay no base salary.
So you’re better off finding a position that pays a mix of base salary and commission.
Why Business Jobs Are Some Of The Best For Recent College Graduates…
You may have noticed that 2/3 of the jobs mentioned above are business-related (digital marketing and sales).
Why do I recommend business jobs for recent college graduates so heavily?
Well, business jobs tend to be some of the best paying jobs for recent college graduates.
And they also offer some of the best growth opportunities moving forward in your career.
I also like recommending business jobs for recent college graduates because these positions will typically take people with a variety of degrees/majors.
(As long as you can convince them you’ve got what it takes to succeed in the interview).
And while there are a couple of other careers that are good for recent graduates, they often require a specific degree.
I’ll cover them below anyway…
Other Good Entry Level College Graduate Jobs (Requiring Specific Degrees):
The following careers also provide some of the best entry level jobs for recent college graduates, but you need a specific degree for them.
I also don’t see as many opportunities for future growth as you advance in your career in these jobs.
They’ll start out with a high salary, but you may struggle to keep earning more as time goes on.
That’s just based on what I’m seeing RIGHT NOW and doesn’t even factor in the threat of automation replacing some of these jobs below (which I think it could happy… for all 3 entry-level jobs I’m going to name…)
Nursing is a great occupation that can pay $50-60K in some cities, which is great entry level pay for a non-business field.
But you need a nursing degree.
So if you found this article by searching for the best jobs for recent college grads, then the last thing I’d recommend is going back to get another degree if you don’t already have a degree in nursing.
Various types of engineering jobs will pay extremely well right out of college. But like Nursing, you’re going to need a specific degree to get started.
So again- if you happen to have a relevant degree, you can earn great money in areas like these:
- Electrical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
Plus as an engineer, there’s an opportunity to work at some of the most exciting companies. For example, SpaceX hires a lot of engineers both for their software and rockets.
But I realize most people don’t have an engineering degree, which is why the jobs I listed earlier don’t require any specific degree.
Accounting is one of the best entry level college graduate jobs right out of the gate in terms of salary.
(I’ve seen recent grads in Accounting get jobs paying $45-55K with no experience).
And there are some good career paths forward…
You could continue earning more and more with this by becoming the head of an accounting department, a Controller, or CFO (Chief Financial Officer).
But many accountants get stuck at the “Staff Accountant” level forever.
And I personally just don’t think the work sounds very interesting.
However, I know some people out there love accounting. I studied Finance in school and took enough Accounting courses to know I’d never want to do it.
But if you majored in this field and want an accounting job, go ahead and try it!
The starting salary will be good, you’ll learn a lot about how businesses operate, and you can also switch into a finance or sales/marketing role if you decide accounting isn’t for you.
Are These The Only Good Jobs For Recent Graduates?
No – there are certainly others.
However, the first 3 I mentioned in this article are the BEST right now in my opinion. (Software, Digital Marketing, and Sales).
I didn’t set out to create a list of 20 mediocre jobs for entry-level job seekers; I want to give you the best of the best.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t good choices for you, though.
For example, recruiting isn’t a bad job or career, especially when looking for entry-level positions as a recent graduate.
I personally learned a ton working as a Recruiter, was well-paid, and it gave me the knowledge and inspiration to start this website which turned into my full-time business now!
Yet I didn’t put “Recruiter” on the list because I feel Sales is better (and very similar, even though most people don’t realize it).
It’s okay if you want to do something that’s not on this list.
If you’re passionate about something else, you’ll probably succeed with it!
Passion goes a LONG way toward motivating you in your career, helping you stand out and get promotions, etc.
As long as you don’t take a total dead-end career path, you’ll do fine if you’re passionate about something.
In fact, in the jobs I struggled in very early in my career, the whole issue was I had zero passion for what I was doing. (Customer service, client support, etc.)
I was miserable…
…Not because the work was particularly tough. It was just that I couldn’t care less about what I was doing!
So every little thing became stressful and difficult.
You’ll be much happier and more successful if you find something you actually care about doing. That’s the big take-away here.
Use the list of best entry-level careers and jobs above as a guideline if you recently graduated, but don’t think you have to follow one of these options, because you don’t.
What do you think? Did I forget anything on this list of the best jobs for recent college grads? Leave a comment below and let me know.