Finding a job after college can consist of many challenges. But the choice between staying in Lubbock or working in a larger city may influence one’s job hunt.

Regardless of the time of year one graduates, there can be a variety of factors that affects where a Texas Tech student decides to work for their post-grad job.

Jerry Stevens, instructor in management at the Tech Rawls College of Business, said when students graduate, they tend to lean toward working in big cities than finding a job in a smaller community, such as Lubbock.

“Most of the students, unless they have family or already have some connection here locally, of course they want to go to the big cities,” he said. “That’s normal and natural.”

The presence of large corporations with multiple job opportunities is one factor Stevens said lures college graduates to bigger cities. While working at these corporations, he said some issues, such as needing to change one’s lifestyle or needing to move to even larger cities, can arise.

“There are tradeoffs that you find in life as you get away from your college experience and then get into those next things that are going to occur,” Stevens said regarding the pros and cons of working in a big city. “But, there’s more opportunity. There’s just a number of things to help you get started.”

Local connections or the presence of one’s family business are reasons Stevens said a graduate may look for jobs in Lubbock or other small communities. Although, he said starting in smaller communities is less common than first searching in the big cities.

“There are those people that start here,” he said. “But it’s more of them going away to the big city, then they would like to come back to the smaller communities, if there are any opportunities here.” 

Despite people heading to the larger cities after graduation, some may want to continue their careers in places that are not as immediately appealing as a large city.

Whether it be because of the calmer atmosphere or simply not being happy in a big city, Stevens said most people will transition from a big-city job they originally obtained after college to finding work in places that may be less competitive.

“They want to head out for the big city first. Then, overtime as their needs change, and they have some experiences, they may want to find a small location,” he said.

Raul Perez, a senior physics major from Spring, said the choice of starting in Lubbock or heading off to a bigger city in or outside of Texas depends on the person.

“Some people come from a small-town vibe, and some people come from a big-city vibe,” he said. “Personally, I would like to find a job in a bigger city.”

Even though he would prefer a job that is not tied to a smaller community, Perez said a local job in a place, such as Lubbock, would not be a bad start.

“I am from the Houston area,” Perez said regarding reasons why he leans toward starting a job search in a big city. “I like the feeling of it. There’s a big rush.”

In addition to the reasons why a graduate chooses one place to work over the other, there could be additional factors that may influence a student’s decision.

Jessica Williams, part-time instructor at Rawls, said Lubbock continues to grow and there are a variety of job opportunities for post-grads. The university, the medical district and the housing market are aspects of Lubbock she said are continuing to grow and lure job hunters.

“The good thing about them being here as a student is these are all opportunities they can start looking at before they even graduate,” she said. “That just makes it difficult when you’re here for school trying to find a job somewhere else.”

Because of these opportunities and Tech students being used to the Lubbock area, Williams said she thinks starting the job search locally can be beneficial.

“If they are comfortable in Lubbock, and they’re obviously familiar with the area, I think it’s a great idea to look here,” she said. “Granted, I know it’s difficult when students come here to go to college, but their family may be somewhere else. I know a lot of them are going to go home after graduation.”

Regardless of the want to go home after graduation, Williams said a student should try to figure out what jobs are available near Tech and what qualities local employers are looking for in potential employees.

When looking for a job, whether it is in a small community or not, Williams said one’s skill set is the main quality that will set them apart from others.

“Obviously, we understand that students are coming out of school, so they are not going to have a very large skill set,” she said. “But we look at the basics. Can you build an Excel spreadsheet? Do you know the basics of office work?”

Despite one’s preference of location when job searching, there could be different positions available depending on a graduate’s connections or experience.

Along with understanding what employers want, Williams said students should consider job opportunities before graduation.

“I think that these students, end of junior year, start looking at those opportunities here, start making those contacts to employers to let them know about their upcoming graduation and their interest in staying in the area,” Williams said regarding some first steps Tech students can take. “I think if they start working that, sooner than later, they have a better opportunity to gain employment here.”

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