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The top cities to start your career

These are the best cities to start your career

Whether you've just graduated college or you're a working millennial looking for a career change, some cities are better than others for getting your professional life off the ground.

Two-thirds of those aged 18 to 24 said a job opportunity was the main factor in considering a new location, followed by the cost of living and getting a fresh start, according to a recent Adecco survey of more than 1,000 college students and recent grads.

Joyce Russell, the president of Adecco Staffing, said she witnessed it first-hand with her own son who moved halfway across the country. "He went to a city that he had never been to before and he went there just for the opportunity," she said.

"Of course, starting salary is important, but it's not the most important," said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub. Rather, look at the number of entry-level jobs in your particular field, she said.

The cities with the highest number of entry-level jobs are Atlanta, Cincinnati and Orlando. But that doesn't mean you are stuck there forever, Gonzalez said. "If you keep that in mind, you'll be open to saying 'yes' to more jobs that align with your career dreams, even if they don't seem like an exact match."

If you are looking for places with the highest starting salaries, then Houston, Durham, North Carolina and San Jose, California will make you a little happier on pay day. Houston, for example, has the highest monthly salary (adjusted for cost of living) at $3,705 — nearly three times higher than Honolulu, the city with the lowest, which is $1,332, according to WalletHub.

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Also, consider housing costs in relation to your income. New York City and San Francisco are known for being pricey places to live, and they aren't even the most expensive. In fact, Honolulu, Miami and Oakland, California, top the list for WalletHub's least affordable housing.

Alternatively, Gilbert, Arizona, Plano, Texas and Overland Park, Kansas will give you the best bang for your buck. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Gilbert is $914. Compare that to Oakland where the average two bedroom will set you back $2,103 a month.

But your career-starting location depends on other things as well, including the quality of life. Try using the American Institute for Economic Research's Employment Destination Index to rank which factors matter most to you to find the city that fits you best.

—By CNBC's Landon Dowdy.

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