Looking for a job after college was hard before but now, with the COVID-19 pandemic leaving millions of Americans out of work, it might feel downright impossible. In 2016, the Washington D.C. metro area was the third best city for tech, but since the pandemic, there are 271,000 fewer jobs in the area than there were in June 2019.

Fortunately, some U.S. cities have been handling the pandemic better than others and may offer future workers better stability and assistance after the crisis. To help you better navigate this tough and confusing job market both now and in the near future, here are the top five cities to get your career started in.

Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale has been ranked as the best place in America to find a job by Wallethub for two years in a row in a comprehensive study comparing over 180 U.S. cities. Based on 31 key indicators of job-market strength including job opportunities per city population, monthly average salary, housing affordability, and unemployment rate, Scottsdale came out on top. Scottsdale is home to over 25,000 businesses, making it ideal for job-seekers. What’s more, data transmission and storage security are two factors that are imperative in the modern enterprise, and over 90% of Scottsdale’s software companies are growing.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco may be the last city on your list when it comes to affordability, but it’s a great city when it comes to job opportunities both during and after the pandemic. According to FutureLearn, which ranked global cities based on how they’re managing the COVID-19 economy, San Francisco has an economic impact score of 69.85%. The higher the city’s score, the better they rank compared to others. The most common job in San Francisco is retail, and an estimated two-thirds of the U.S. GDP comes from the retail industry. Animation is also a major industry in San Francisco, which is home to Lucasfilm Animation and nearby to Pixar Animation Studios.

Virginia Beach, VA

If you’re looking to get started in the real estate industry, Virginia Beach is the best city for post-graduates. The typical home sold was on the market for just three weeks. The city’s unemployment rate is also lower than the national average. Other key careers in this area include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other medical fields.

New York City, NY

New York City is famously the home of many job opportunities and career options, especially for those interested in publishing and journalism. However, the city’s lack of affordable housing has made it difficult for young Americans to find a foothold in their industries. This may change after the COVID-19 crisis. After so many companies were forced to go completely digital to stay afloat during the pandemic, more remote job opportunities may open up in New York City once the crisis is averted.

Austin, TX

Austin is one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. with real estate costs, energy costs, and taxes below that of most states. The city also has no personal or corporate income tax. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin is one of the most resilient cities because of its various employment opportunities that keep the city from suffering from economic downfalls. Some of the major career sectors include technology, health care, business, education, government, and entertainment.

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