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 fun/interesting work.
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 best jobs for recent college graduates.
The Best Jobs For Recent College Graduates
1. Software Developer
Software development is one of the best jobs for recent college graduates because of the high pay, rising demand, and perks that many employers offer.
This is a great option for anyone even remotely interested in technology and software.
Let’s start with the most obvious reason this career is recommended to so many college graduates:
Software engineer positions pay extremely well.
Some software engineers 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 majored in computer science, it’s not necessary or required for all jobs in this field…
Many top tech companies like Apple no longer require a four-year degree for their software engineer positions
And there are many coding bootcamps and schools teaching this skill set in a matter of months rather than years.
And some of them help you find a job after graduating as well.
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, even if they aren’t quite as popular of a choice.
I’ll cover that later in this article.
2. Digital Marketer
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 offline 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 20s 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 an article about the best places to learn digital marketing online.
Sales 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 – like persuasion, and 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 a ton of money. It’s without a doubt one of the best careers for recent graduates who want to earn a lot quickly.
In one of my first jobs after graduating college, I was on the customer service team and sat right next to the sales team…
The top salesperson in the company made $2 million a year.
He lived in Mexico on a beach with his wife.
The second-best salesperson made over $1 million a year.
And they were doing it with college degrees in English and History, not Business.
That’s why sales is one of the best jobs for recent graduates who want to earn 6 figures or more.
One warning: Not all entry-level sales jobs are created equal…
The best sales jobs for recent college graduates are business-to-business (B2B) sales roles.
In these positions, you’ll be closing larger deals, which means more potential money in YOUR pocket.
Other business people are also typically more reasonable when you’re trying to sell to them, versus regular people/consumers.
If you go 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.
4. Account Manager
In many companies, an Account Manager is a mix between customer support and sales. Account managers typically work with business clients and maintain their existing relationships, but also work to sell clients on adding new services, too.
If you want to gain exposure to a variety of business skills and earn a high starting salary, then Account Manager positions are a good entry-level choice.
If you want this type of job but can’t find it at the entry-level, there are a few other popular jobs that can lead to this career. Look for positions in customer support and customer relationship management, but just make sure it’s business-to-business (B2B).
5. Data Analyst/Data Scientist
If you have a background and interest in math, then data science is one of the best job choices and career paths to consider.
You may have heard the term “big data”. Large companies have more and more data – about customers, the market overall, and competitors – and they need data scientists to help them make sense of all this data.
In fact, it’s so much data that humans could never analyze it all, so they need help creating software programs, scripts, and systems that analyze the data and spit out meaningful insights for the business.
That’s where data scientists (and data engineers, which are similar to software engineers) come in! If you love math and technology, then this could be the career for you. And it’s certainly one of the top jobs for college graduates in terms of earnings – many data scientists earn an average salary of $100K-$150K or higher.
6. SEO Specialist
I mentioned digital marketing above, and one sub-topic that’s in high demand now (and I expect this to continue) is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In this role, you help companies get their website to appear high in search results on Google and other search engines. This brings the company more business leads each day and can last for years, so companies are willing to pay great money for an SEO Specialist or SEO Manager.
This isn’t a topic taught much (or taught well) in universities, which means you can learn this yourself via an e-learning website like Skillshare and obtain an entry-level job no matter what you majored in.
And if you choose a career in SEO, you can likely work your way up to a six-figure salary within a few years, even as an individual contributor.
Nursing is a great occupation that can average around $50-60K in some cities, which is a great entry-level salary 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. Yet if you do have this degree, then rest assured that it’s a career with a great average salary and good job security.
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:
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 jobs right out of the gate in terms of salary.
(I’ve seen recent grads in Accounting land jobs with a starting salary of $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.
Along with accounting, you can consider similar jobs like Financial Analyst, too.
Why Business Jobs Are Some Of The Best For Recent College Graduates…
You may have noticed that the majority of the jobs above are business-related.
Why do I recommend business jobs for recent college graduates?
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 as you move forward in your career. The skills you learn in these jobs will help you no matter what you go on to do.
I also like recommending business jobs for recent college graduates because these positions will typically accept people with a variety of degrees/majors (as long as you can convince them you’ve got what it takes to succeed in your interview).
Are These The Only Good Jobs For College Graduates?
No – there are certainly other good jobs for new grads.
However, the jobs that I mentioned above are the BEST right now in my opinion, and some of the most popular jobs that people recommend.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t good choices for you, though.
For example, being a recruiter isn’t a bad job or career choice, 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 working as a salesperson or account manager is better (and very similar, even though most people don’t realize it).
It’s okay if you choose a career that’s not on this list
If you’re passionate about an area not mentioned above, you should go into that instead, and 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 takeaway 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.