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By Megan Leonhardt
April 25, 2016
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA
Chris Hepburn—Getty Images

When looking for that first post-college job, it seems that the coasts offer the best opportunities for advancement. Bankrate.com found the top five cities for career development, pay potential and quality of life are all concentrated on the East and West coasts.

Recent graduates should focus on landing a job in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., or Washington D.C., according to Bankrate.com’s annual ranking of top cities for launching a career. The website analyzed and ranked 100 major U.S. cities based on five factors young people should consider, including job prospects, pay potential, quality of life, social opportunities and career advancement.

New York City , the city where someone is always looking for a looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment, topped the list this year. While the city has one of the most competitive job markets in the country, the rewards outweigh the risk, as the city scored the highest for career advancement potential.

Washington D.C. earned its high spot on the list because of the many career prospects offered in the government, business, science and art sectors.

“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,” Claes Bell, Bankrate.com banking analyst, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the California cities in the top five, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, all scored high marks on their quality of life and income opportunities. Los Angeles received particularly high marks for its abundant social scene.

The usual suspects—Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia—rounded out the top 10.

Read next: Money’s Best Places to Live

But Bell noted that for those not looking to climb the corporate ladder, many of the cities that ranked low in Bankrate’s analysis could provide good opportunities as well. For instance, Fayetteville, N.C., ranked dead last for career advancement, but offers a sound quality of life. Other southern cities like Mobile, Ala.; Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Jackson, Miss. and Montgomery, Ala. rounded out the remaining bottom five

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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