The ten best places to launch a career depends on the type of career. The music business has a collection of cities and, depending on your style, the best city varies. Nashville and Austin are the place for county music. Classical musicians find more opportunities in New York City, and jazzers find gigs in New Orleans and Chicago. Rock and the rest of the genre musicians can work in any city with a thriving live music scene, as long as the city has an internet connection.
- Los Angeles is a city for people wanting a career in film. Actors, film editors, camera operators and sound editors all find work in the greater LA area.
- New York is one of the ten best places to launch a career for ballet or modern dance. The same stage that gives actors a chance needs dancers.
- Fashion design careers are made in New York City. While Los Angeles has some surf and resort wear operators, the major design houses and production is in The Big Apple. New York is one of the ten best places to launch a career in fashion design.
- Politicos need to go to Washington, D.C. It's where politicians hang out. It's where the lobbyists are based. The home offices of local and state politicians provide jobs that build resumes, but DC is one of the ten best places to launch a career in politics.
- Stand-up comedy careers are easier to break into when the city includes a good base of comedy clubs. Chicago is one of the ten best places to launch a career for comedians. Former Second City crew members are now featured on Saturday Night Live and in feature films.
- Budding stage actors need to go to New York City for Broadway and off-Broadway chances. While a newcomer might not make Broadway right away, the area's small theaters offer venues for newbies.
- Computer programmers and designers find more opportunities to launch a career in the Silicon Valley near Sunnyvale, California. Yahoo! is in the area, as are Dialog, Delphi, Fujitsu, Hotmail and dozens of other companies.
- Professional surfers need a place where the sun shines and the waves are always big. Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and California all offer the best places to launch a career as a professional surfer. If you're independently wealthy, pick Australia or Hawaii. If you need a sponsor, pick Costa Mesa, California, where you can snuggle up close to the major board-shorts makers. Free shorts, bucks and waves. What could be finer?
- Ski careers need the snow and mountains that the state of Colorado offers. Major ski events are also held in the state, so you'll be on top of the action.
- Car racing has many centers but one of the ten best places to launch a career in auto racing is in the rural areas around Indianapolis. The "Crossroads of America" city is near the NASCAR races in the southern states and is also close to the Indy Brickyard, home to major car races. A number of racers live in the area and you might get picked up to work as a crew member. Immediacy and skills go together.
If you're motivated enough, you'll be a success no matter where you live. It's easier to hook up with a job if you don't need to travel to apply for jobs every few weeks. Once your career is established, it's easier to apply for other jobs in areas less known for the sport or industry. Launching a career requires using a network of contacts. These are easier to find where people hang out in a specific industry or business.
"What Color Is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual of Job-Hunters and Career Changers," Dick Bolles, 2009
"The Career Break Book," Joe Bindloss and Andrew Dean Nystrom, 2004