The Top 10 Entry-Level Jobs for Recent Grads

So, you’ve just graduated – now that you’re finally out of school, it’s time to start your career. And like most recent grads, you’re likely worried about searching for and finding a job that suits your skills and interests.

Fortunately, there’s a vast variety of different jobs you can apply for as a recent graduate. Check out the following entry-level jobs, all of which can be great first steps towards a long, lucrative career.

1. Software Developer

Average Salary: $68,800¹

What You’ll Do: Software developers have the exciting job of developing applications and software. You could create systems that help businesses run efficiently, inspire creative client applications, or are simply fun to use. As a developer, you’ll write code for these applications, find and fix any bugs, and ensure the software meets the right needs or suits its purpose fully.

Requirements: To become a software developer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a related field or major. Some positions might require previous job experience or hands-on experience, like an internship.

2. Mechanical Engineer

Average Salary: $61,000²

What You’ll Do: Mechanical engineers solve problems, helping to plan, design, and manufacture different products. The field of mechanical engineering is incredibly vast, meaning you could work on products that are designed for technical, social, environmental, or even economic uses. You might work on electric generators or build new gas or steam turbines, or you could work on cooling equipment.

Requirements: Because mechanical engineering is a highly specialized field, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a closely related field.

3. Registered Nurse (RN)

Average Salary: $56,500³

What You’ll Do: Registered nurses are a common sight in the medical world, as they work in hospitals, medical clinics, outpatient facilities, rehab centers, and senior care centers, serving patients’ needs and administering care. An RN will work directly with patients, giving whatever care is necessary, from giving out prescribed medication to assisting with wound care.

Requirements: In order to work as an RN, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree in nursing. A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and a state license may be required, along with some prior experience.

4. Staff Accountant

Average Salary: $45,200⁴

What You’ll Do: A staff accountant is an accountant who works under a more advanced accountant of some kind, like a CPA, controller, or director. You’ll be diving into financial details for an office, company, or corporation each day, handling financial reports, records, and transactions, and you may perform some general bookkeeping tasks. In some positions, staff accountants will also handling billing.

Requirements: An education and a degree in accounting is necessary. Some job positions may require special licensing for additional skills, like any tax preparation or filing.

5. Financial Analyst

Average Salary: $55,500⁵

What You’ll Do: While the role of a financial analyst may sound similar to that of an accountant, a financial analyst takes a bigger picture role when it comes to money. These analysts study trends, factors, and changes happening in the financial marketplace, examining different aspects like stocks, bonds, securities, and pensions and helping clients and businesses make investment decisions. As a financial analyst, you’ll need to explain why others should make certain financial moves and how they can get more out of their money.

Requirements: While some companies may seek out recent graduates who studied finance, economics, statistics, or another related field, you can be qualified for a financial analyst position with no experience or even without a degree. You can learn the skills needed online, through boot camps or short courses.

6. Project Engineer

Average Salary: $59,600⁶

What You’ll Do: Like mechanical engineers, project engineers focus on designing, building, and manufacturing specific and specialized types of products. As a project engineer, you’ll do everything from create proposals for clients whose product you’ll be building to actually overseeing the building or manufacturing of a product. You could find work in many different fields, from construction to manufacturing to design, and you’ll spend significant time leading teams and managing resources.

Requirements: You’ll need a degree in civil or mechanical engineering in order to become a project engineer. Most likely, you’ll work with a firm or on specific short-term projects.

7. Project Manager

Average Salary: $54,900⁷

What You’ll Do: Project managers tackle just about everything, and they’re valuable in absolutely every field. As a project manager, you’ll actually manage individual projects – you’ll set goals for a group or team on a project, coordinate the team members or different people needed to get the job done, and work with different departments to keep communication open and the project running smoothly. Project managers can work on construction projects, in tech companies, with architecture firms, or so many more avenues.

Requirements: There’s no specific education needed to become a project manager, and it’s a role that you can learn and grow within. Many project managers get their start as junior project managers and work their way up to more senior roles over time. Some employers might prefer a degree of some kind, and you may need certain experience or knowledge for specific industries.

8. Electrical Engineer

Average Salary: $65,000⁸

What You’ll Do: Electrical engineers specialize in electrical products, equipment, and systems. In this role, you’ll work in every aspect of electrical, from research and design to installation and efficiency. You’ll build, repair, or create electrical systems and technologies in order to come up with solutions for industries and businesses of all kinds. Electrical engineers work primarily with large electrical systems, like within buildings or satellite communications.

Requirements: In order to work as an electrical engineer, you’ll need a degree in electrical engineering. Some positions may require an advanced degree, but there are plenty of positions for new engineers with bachelor degrees.

9. Data Analyst

Average Salary: $51,100⁹

What You’ll Do: Data analysts do what their name implies – they examine and analyze information on specific topics or for specific fields. As a data analyst, you can work in just about any field, working with data like finances, sales, marketing, customers, and so much more. Businesses of all kinds rely on data analysts to identify trends and show where they can improve or grow, making these professionals an important resource that can help companies more effectively accomplish goals.

Requirements: Anyone can become a data analyst. However, some experience or interest in working with data and reporting practices will be a huge benefit for future employers, and many data analysts have a degree in business.

10. Marketing Coordinator

Average Salary: $39,70010

What You’ll Do: Marketing coordinators are vital members of any marketing team or department. They’re responsible for creating and carrying out marketing campaigns, using social media, digital, television, and print media, and any combination of tactics to get a company’s products, services, or message attention. As a marketing coordinator, you’ll spend time brainstorming ideas, then creating plans to actually execute those marketing campaigns to bring more business to your company.

Requirements: Anyone can become a marketing coordinator, and you don’t need to have studied marketing extensively. You may have stronger experience or knowledge if you studied marketing or communication, but strong communication skills and savvy business skill alone can get the job done.

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Having a degree makes a big difference when it comes to money. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that college graduates make $1.1 million more over their careers than those without a degree.