The biggest mistake I made as a fresh-out-of-college graduate

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So you’re looking for life advice for college graduates? Here’s my biggest post-college mistake — not incorporating self-discovery into my job hunt.

I know what you’re thinking… “I’m just out of college. I don’t have time for myself. I need to start my career and I can figure out the rest later.” Or “I’m new to the working world so I can’t be picky about my first job.” I hear you!

And I agree with you to some extent. So before you skip out of this blog post, hear me out because I wish I set aside time for self-discovery during my post-college job-hunt. Here’s why:

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1. Interviews were harder than they needed to be

Because I didn’t set aside time for self-discovery, I wasn’t confident in my abilities to get any job done well. So in an effort to really impress an employer, I spent an unnecessary amount of time prepping for the interview. Instead of only doing typical research on the:

  • company
  • leadership
  • people who were interviewing me
  • common interview questions

I also wrote down responses and rehearsed them until they sounded casual. Then when an interviewer asked a question I didn’t have prepared answers for, I freaked out.

Why this matters for you and your job hunt:

It’s important to be confidently yourself during an interview. So preparing for an interview is great. But it is possible to over-prepare and to lose confidence in yourself. Self-discovery is a way to prevent yourself from over-preparing and losing confidence.

2. It was hard to find jobs to apply to

Because I didn’t take the time to get to know what I liked about marketing, I had a hard time finding jobs to apply to. I didn’t know about all of the different parts of marketing that were available. All I knew to search for was “marketing coordinator.” This is a broad term and there are some pretty sketchy job postings out there that use this term.

I didn’t start integrating some self-discovery into my job-hunting process until six months after I graduated. Had I taken the time to get to know myself and what I wanted to do earlier in my job hunt, I would have found more and better jobs to apply to at the beginning of my job hunt.

Why this matters to you and your job hunt:

There’s so much you can do with a marketing degree that all of the possibilities can be paralyzing. Taking time to figure out what you like about marketing and what you want to learn more about can help create a direction for your job search.

Hint: Here at Post College Journey, we believe that applying to jobs is step number 7 (out of 10 steps) in the job-hunting process. Download this FREE Career Roadmap to be sure you are on the right track.

3. I moved in circles faster rather than moving forward slower

I focused more on shooting more arrows and less focused on calculating my aim. For example, I once applied to multiple entry-level positions at the same company. I thought that this would show the employer that I really wanted to work for them. But actually, it showed them that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Why this matters for you and your job hunt:

Self-discovery may not seem like it’s related to the job hunting process because at first glance it has nothing to do with actually applying to a job and landing one. But without self-discovery, it’s hard to decide on your path in marketing. And without direction, you’re more likely to go in circles.

4. I took the first job offer I got and instantly regretted it

I still remember the feeling I had when the person interviewing me said that they had one more interview but they were pretty sure they wanted to work with me. Instead of feeling elated, I felt my stomach drop.

When I got back to my apartment and my roommate’s boyfriend excitedly asked, “How’d your interview go?!” I told him that I got an unofficial job offer but I didn’t know how I felt about it because something felt off. I took the job anyway because it was a job.

It ended up being a nightmare and I was there for less than a month.

Why this matters to you and your job hunt:

If you don’t take the time to discover who you are and what you need in a job, you’re more likely to take any job offer. Then when you start that job, you’ll see that the job you accepted won’t get you closer to where you want to be.

Now you know why my favorite life advice for college graduates is to prioritize self-discovery. It’s because there are negative effects of not including self-discovery into your job-hunting process. It’s time for you to get started. Download this job-hunting checklist to make sure you can get through the job hunting process confidently and effectively.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.