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Describe what you do for work

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

During networking, social or even workplace events, do you struggle to tell people what it is that you do for a living? If your job is a little unique or simply hard to sum up, use this strategy:

Ask some broad, simple questions. Understand just how much people know by asking “Are you familiar with [insert your profession/industry]?” or “What do you know about [your role]?” From there, you can decide how much detail to offer.

Provide an analogy. For example, you might compare your organization to a more well-known company, or correlate what you do with someone on TV.

Steer clear of jargon or industry-specific terminology. That will only confuse people. Instead, use everyday vocabulary or clarify any unfamiliar language you use.

Share anecdotes. Instead of describing the minor details of your job, explain how you solved a problem, helped a customer, or exceeded expectations on a project. Those stories offer insight into what you do and are more interesting than a job description.

— Adapted from “The Best Way to Explain Your Job to Family Who Don’t Get It,” Melody Wilding, Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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