Questions to Ask Yourself While Job Hunting After College

Over the recent months, I’ve been receiving a lot of outreach and questions from my peers who recently graduated from college. Interestingly enough, majority of these questions have been revolving around finding the right career path or how to find a job they’ll love.

Personally, I love this topic and having conversations revolving around finding the “right” career or job; hence, why I wrote my career-focused ebook. Figuring out what you want to do in your early 20s is extremely tough…but, I definitely have a few self-reflection questions that I recommend asking yourself as you go through the process, even if you are in the process of thinking about switching jobs.

*In a perfect world, what would my ideal day look like? 
I personally believe that too many people think that their perfect day or their ideal life is too far fetched. Or even worse, that their idea of “perfect” has to be something soooo out of reach. The truth is, it really doesn’t. Think of a potential ideal day. And something realistic, where you are actually working.

Here’s my perfect/ideal day (as of now, it remains the same since I first thought this when I was 21):
– Wake up at 6am
– Do pilates, spin, or any good workout around 7am
– Get ready and prepare for the day, start working around 9am
– Work day would consist of meeting with clients, brands, and other partners that are part of my work. The main focus would be the podcast, blog, and my business(es).
– I’d finish out my work day around 4pm and either just relax afterwards or go for a light drink/happy hour/bite with a close friend or two in the area
– I’d be in bed by 9:30pm and reading a book for 20 minutes before falling asleep

So please keep in mind, this would be my ideal day in a perfect world. But is it far out of reach? Not really, right? Also, as you see in the work day section, I talk about my focuses on the podcast, blog, and my own business. Clearly, that is not the case right now, as I work a sales job for an actual company; BUT, the key is that I talk about the structure of my day. It’s not at a desk the whole time and I’m not on my computer 24/7. So the structure of my current corporate job is relatively similar, in the sense that I get to create my own schedule and I do meet with people F2F and collaborate on ideas, business growth, and etc.

What I’m saying here is that when you are able to determine what your ideal day would look like (that also incorporates some sort of work), then you can go searching for more of a job that has a close structure to that day. In my opinion, I think people become too focused on the job itself or the title, that they forget about the simple aspects, like what their day would consist of–in terms of wakeup time, lifestyle, hours working, etc.

Also, make sure to apply this self-reflective question in both today’s terms AND in 2-5 years. Because most likely, you won’t really step into a job that is remotely close to your ideal day (or maybe you will, who knows)…but, you could observe if in 2-5 years you would be living that ideal day. And then from there, just evaluate if you can put in the work during those early years to see it pay off afterwards.

*Do you value more money or do you value living life on your own terms?
I’ve always loved the conversation and topic about whether money buys happiness and the spectrum of how much we value it, to the point we’d slave our hours away for it.

For the most part today, you’ll have a higher salary at a job where you put in 8+ hours a day of work. Whether that is in finance, engineering, tech, supply chain, etc. I was able to witness this myself with my previous roommate, who worked in supply chain for an extremely well-known athletic company and had an incredible starting salary for her first year out of college (I’m talking with the bonus, it was just a little short of 6-figures). But what else did I witness? 10-12 hours of work each day, a lottttt of stress and some tension/dislike towards colleagues and those on the team, little to no time for self-care like working out/reading, a schedule that was heavily relied on others, and more. 

Living with her for a year and being able to see all of this during my Senior year of college gave me a strong perspective and insight into what I want/don’t want in my first year out of college. While she got paid very well, I am not sure if the trade-off was truly worth it…at least from my discussions with her on her life satisfaction and from the everyday lifestyle she had that I was able to observe.

So that is something you should keep in mind as well and always ask yourself. Don’t get me wrong, having a lot of money and being paid well is very important, particularly when it comes to paying for your cost of living. Where I live in Southern California…it’s not cheap. But that is why there is always a trade-off and you just need to figure out what you value more and where you are on that spectrum. Often times, it means you have to give up a little bit of something to get more of the other.


Emily Duong

Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, but currently residing in Orange County, California. Emily Elizabeth is an entrepreneur, athlete, and lifestyle blogger sharing her everyday lifestyle and healthy mindset.



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