When someone asks what you do for a living, what do you say? Do you dread the question? Do you rush through your answer? Do you make it sound as if what you do doesn't really matter?
If so, it's time to take control of your narrative. The words you use to describe what you do are important. Consider these two examples:
- “I'm a software developer. I write code for a company with a few other developers. But it's all remote, so we mostly work by ourselves. It's a good job though. The stuff we build does quite well and the company is happy with it, so I can't complain.”
- “I write software applications for start-ups. Currently, I'm part of a team of developers working on Bramble, a product that transforms how people communicate through video. It's quite a new product, but we have thousands of people on our waitlist already, so it seems there's genuine demand for what we're building. It's exciting work and I'm grateful to be a part of it.”
The first example is what happens when you don't have a personal pitch. I might look okay on the surface, but it's ultimately a stream-of-thought answer that sounds unconfident. The second example is more specific, more exciting, and it sets you apart without sounding too salesy.
The “What do you do?” question is a chance to present yourself in a good light. Grab it with both hands. It doesn't take much time to write and memorize a good personal pitch. Sound confident. Be proud of what you do. Shape your narrative.