“So what do you do?”
I swear that was everyone’s favorite question over the Christmas holiday. Well, that and, “So do you have a boyfriend yet?” [insert eye roll]
And it’s a frustrating question, because it’s not easy to boil down all the things you do in a day to one bite-sized answer. Should I say I’m an entrepreneur? Or should I speak to how I’m basically the CFO, CMO, COO, VP of Client Experience, Chief Content Officer and Head of Product Development? Even when I worked a regular 9-to-5, that question stressed me out. I had multi-faceted jobs where I did a lot of things and yet at the same time, it was hard to articulate exactly what I did.
You know what I’m talking about.
But here’s the deal: we know we need to craft this story. We know we need to have our “elevator pitch” ready at a moment’s notice so when our Great Aunt Jo or boss or pastor or potential employer asks us “What do you do” – we don’t just sit there dumbfounded.
Or worse – we don’t want to ramble for 40 minutes, boring them to death on our daily routines, spreadsheets and humdrum.
We want to sound impressive, yet at the same time humble and concise.
So how do we do this?
We simplify it. We start at the very essence of our jobs. We understand why the heck we were hired in the first place.
Let me give you an example.
This was my job when I worked at The Muse full-time. I was an Account Executive on the sales team. Even though I did a lot in my job, there was one major thing I was hired to do: sell. I was hired to build client relationships and make money. I was hired to find prospects, pitch them on The Muse’s value proposition and establish a partnership. If I did nothing else in my job, I knew that if I did that, I was good.
See, you have to strip away to the barebones of what you do in your job to get to your elevator pitch. Sure, you run reports and coordinate schedules and draft presentations – but what’s the point of it all? A company didn’t just hire you because you smiled nice and came to your interview on time. They hired you to move the company forward in their goals.
Once you understand that, you’ve found the basis for your elevator pitch.
Here’s another way to look at it:
Title + Company + How You’re Evaluated = Your Elevator Pitch
For my job at The Muse, I would’ve said:
I am an Account Executive at The Muse, which provides an employer branding solution for companies looking to hire quality, top talent. There, I educate companies in the Houston and Dallas markets on the importance of employer branding, ultimately selling The Muse’s solution to drive revenue for our org.
Two sentences. That’s it. If you’re in a job interview, you may want to throw some numbers in there to beef up your capabilities. But other than that, it should be short and simple. Don’t overcomplicate it.
Sales has a clear purpose to the job, so what happens when you’re in accounting or consulting or you’re the manager of a team?
Get down to the ultimate reason you were hired.
Try it! I’d love to hear your elevator pitch!