What To Say When People Ask "What Do You Do?"
By Nathaniel | April 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

What To Say When People Ask “What Do You Do?”

One of the most common questions people ask is “what do you do?” It can be difficult to answer that question with confidence, especially if you’re not sure what your job title is. In this blog post, we will discuss a few ways to answer that question with confidence. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a CEO, these tips will help you feel proud of what you do!

Different Ways to Answer

It’s never an interesting conversation when asked that dreaded question because for most people, answering that same question, as an example, usually leads to follow-up questions. And what if you don’t have a job title? What if you’re not working?

Answering the question, “what do you do?” can be difficult and even awkward at times. Here are 6 tips to answer the question and get a positive response:

Tip # 1

Be proud of what you do and don’t be afraid to show it. You can say something like, “I’m a stay-at-home mom” or “I’m a CEO.” If you’re not working, you can say something like, “I’m a student” or “I’m looking for a job.”

Tip # 2

Be confident in your answer and don’t hesitate. Remember, you are the only one who knows what you do, so you should be proud of it!

Tip # 3

Be brief and to the point. You don’t need to go into great detail about what you do unless asked. Just give a brief overview and let the other person decide if they want to know more.

Tip # 4

Don’t be afraid to talk about your hobbies or interests. This can be a great way to start a conversation and get to know someone better.

Tip # 5

If you’re not sure what to say, just smile and say, “I’m doing great, thanks for asking!” This shows that you’re confident and comfortable in who you are.

Tip # 6

No matter what you do, make sure you enjoy it! Life is too short to do something you don’t love. So find what makes you happy and stick with it.

Be proud of the jobs you’ve done!

Answering the question with confidence is all about owning what you do. Whether you have a job title or not, you are doing something valuable with your time. So be proud of your answer to the question, “what do you do?” because it’s what makes you, well, you.

Do you have any other tips for answering the question, “what do you do?” Share them in the comments below!

If you’re ever feeling lost or confused about what to say when someone asks what you do, don’t worry. You’re not alone and talking about that loaded question could provide context for a great conversation.

Introduce yourself and give a brief overview of your job title and what you do 

Your job title is a great conversation starter because people genuinely care about socioeconomic status. Research suggests that people care so much about what others do for a living because it’s a way to size someone up and understand where they fit in society.

If you have an interesting or unique job title, use it as an opportunity to further explain what you do. For example, if you’re a web developer, you could say something like, “I design and build websites.”

Be honest about your job situation, you may be surpised!

If you’re unemployed or underemployed, don’t sweat it. People understand human beings are not perfect, and everyone goes through tough times.

Just be honest about your current situation and try saying, “I’m currently looking for opportunities and exploring my options.” Being honest about your unemployment can be a great ice breaker and conversation starter.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent or a full-time student, simply state what you are and what you’re doing. For example, “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” or “I’m studying to be a doctor.”

Don’t make the same mistake about your job that everyone else makes

Some people feel the need to embellish their day job as a way to be relevant or interesting, but this often backfires. If you work in customer service or as a cashier, for example, avoid saying things like, “I’m just a clerk,” or “I just work in retail.”

These phrases devalue your experience and make you sound unconfident. Instead, try owning what you do by saying something like, “I work in customer service and I help people every day,” or “I’m a cashier and I’m good at what I do.”

Share a little bit about your work/business and how it helps people with networking events

A networking event is not the time to give your life story, but it is an opportunity to let people know what you do and how it might benefit them or someone they know. If you work in a particular industry, such as healthcare or law, be sure to mention that.

For example, you might say something like, “I’m a lawyer and I help people with their legal problems.”

If you own your own business, be sure to mention what your business does. For example, you might say, “I’m the owner of a small business and we provide quality products and services.”

You want to be remembered, don’t you?

The more interesting information we provide a person we’re talking with, the more likely they are to remember us. And, if we make a good impression, they may even tell others about us. The brain activity that responds to relevant conversations is what’s known as the “reticular activating system” (RAS).

When we engage in small talk, we’re engaging in an act of social networking. We’re building relationships with others that could potentially lead to something more.

So, the next time someone asks you what you do, take the opportunity to confidently share what you’re passionate about. You never know where it might lead.

Be proud of what you do!

No matter what you do for a living, be proud of it! Try an elevator pitch if you often lose focus with a blank stare. This is a short, rehearsed statement that you can use to quickly and effectively explain what you do. For example, “I help businesses with their social media marketing.”

If you work in a creative field, such as art or writing, you can use your work to answer the question. For example, if someone asks what you do and they express genuine interest, you can say, “I’m an artist” or “I’m a writer.”

Consider changing your job if you’re not happy to talk about it

A famous career coach by the name of Barbara Sher once said, “The question is not ‘What do I want to achieve?’ but ‘What would I like to be doing?’”

This means that what you enjoy doing can often dictate what you’re good at. So, if you don’t know what to say when people ask what you do, maybe it’s time for a change!

Don’t be content, be passionate!

Don't be content, be passionate!

A sales person has the desired outcome when talking to a person and they quickly understand in different ways if they’re being boring or if the person interested can hear the truth and wants to know further information. The key is to be interesting. When you’re talking about what you do, be passionate! If you’re not excited about what you do, how can you expect other people to be?

Keep in mind that what you say should align with what you want to do. For example, if your goal is to get a promotion, don’t imagine the technical aspects or they could potentially hire a decision maker!

Focus on the challenging goals and what rewards like money, clients, and even career advice can offer and kick start that response with the best answer you would want to hear from a friend.

You can learn a lot from a job in sales:

In sales, noticing how a person will talk or convey what they do for a living is very important. If you want to sound like what you are saying is important, then make sure your tone, facial expressions, and body language match that as well.

This response for conversations that are often used on clients is called: the “canned response.” It is important to be careful with how you use this response. If you do it too much, then it will come off as fake or arrogant.

The “canned response” is simply a way to be more confident in what you do without sounding like you are bragging. It is also a great conversation starter because it allows the other person to ask questions about what you do. Here’s how it would go if you used this technique:

“I am a graphic designer. I design websites.” The other person would then ask, “What kind of websites?” You could then say, “I design eCommerce websites.” The conversation can go from there.

If you want to sound more confident in what you do, then the canned response is a great way to do this because it allows you to control the conversation. It also gives you a chance to show off what you do without sounding like you are bragging.

Be a storyteller, bring people into your world!

People love stories, so tell them what happened that led up to what you are doing now in a way that is interesting and not just a list of boring facts. A good answer when talking to a person or telling a story about what you do should have the following:

-An interesting opening

-A brief explanation of what you do

-How do you help people or make their lives better

-What sets you apart from others in your field

-Why you love what you do/Why it’s important to you.

If you’re interested in more relevant information, visit our website and look at our other blogs that help you further your career like How to Find Your Passion in Life: Steps to Help You Get Started.

Self-promotion: Hobbies, interests, and how they’ve helped you in your professional life 

You don’t have to be at networking events to use self-promotion as a way to answer what do you do. You can use it in more casual situations such as family gatherings or social events with friends. When somebody asks what you do, try to focus on how your work helps other people and what sets you apart from others in your field.

Hobbies and how we spend our time = Who we are

A good answer about jobs or the industry your career is from can lead the conversation to your hobbies. Hobbies provide further information about why you chose your job or career. It can also help to show what kind of person you are.

For example, if you’re an accountant who likes to do Sudoku in your spare time, that shows you’re detail-oriented. Here is a list of the most common hobbies people share and what they might say about you:

-Artistic: You’re creative, imaginative, and have an eye for beauty.

-Athletic: You’re competitive, enjoy challenges, and are probably in great shape.

-Bookish: You like to learn, think deeply, and often have strong opinions.

-Crafty: You’re resourceful, good with your hands, and maybe a little quirky.

-Foodie: You enjoy trying new things, value experiences over belongings, and know the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

-Nature lover: You feel most at peace in nature, care about the environment, and might even be a bit of a hippie.

-Party animal: You love to socialize, are the life of the party, and know how to have a good time.

-Pet lover: You’re compassionate, loyal, and maybe just a little lonely.

-Techie: You’re good with computers, stay up-to-date on the latest technology, and might even be a little bit of a nerd.

Now that you know what your strengths are, it’s time to figure out how to use them to answer the question “What do you do?

Quality over quantity

Be careful not to focus too much on yourself when talking about your hobbies. The goal is to add context to what you do and spend time talking about relevant information they might be interested in, not to make it all about you.

If you’re struggling to come up with what to say, here are five tips:

– Talk about what you do in a relatable way.

– Be enthusiastic.

– Use layman’s terms.

– Keep it short and sweet.

Answer this question: Is my story relevant or boring?

You want to be able to answer yes to the former and no to the latter. Your goal is not to recite your resume verbatim but rather to give them a snapshot of who you are and what you’re passionate about.

Remember, people generally like doing business with those they know, like, and trust – so talk about relevant topics, be honest, and be likable.

Advice for people who are looking to start their own business or job interviews

Don’t spend money on an answer to talk about what you do for a living or your career. You are the writer in your book of life, the content manager of your life’s website. The world is vast and there are many jobs and businesses. Be creative- there are no wrong answers, this is your chance to shine and show off what makes you different from the rest of the world when you answer this question. Jobs come and go but a story can have an impression.

Think back to your first memory of a job that made you feel proud. Remember that feeling you had when you accomplished something at work. Was it the first time you got a sale, helped a client, or closed a deal? Whatever it was, that is what you should focus on when asked what you do.

Your job isn’t your story, you are. So share your story! Jobs don’t make us who we are, we make our jobs what they are. Answer with confidence, and be proud of what you do, because it is a part of who you are. You are not your job, but your job is a part of you. So when someone asks you what you do, tell them your story with pride.

What’s your story? Share with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you!

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