The question “What bởi you do?” has basically become synonymous with “Who are you?” There’s a reason it almost always follows “What’s your name?” in polite conversation: It’s helpful. It’s get-to-know-you shorthand. The one-word answer to “what vì you do?” allows people categorize us and gives them a snapshot of what we vày or who we are.

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But there’s also a dark underbelly lớn introducing ourselves with this kind of shorthand: When labels go wrong, they can lead khổng lồ stereotypes. Perception becomes more about the experiences accumulated by the people you’re talking lớn than anything that they may or may not know about you, personally.

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For example:

You Say: I’m in sales. They Think: You’re a pushy, sweet-talking charmer.

You Say: I’m a lawyer. They Think: You’re the argumentative type.

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You Say: I’m an accountant. They Think: You’re a numbers geek.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but you get the picture; odds are, whatever quick description you’ve used in the past barely does what you do—or who you are—any justice. But everywhere from networking events to family gatherings, this question is going to lớn live on. So you need to lớn find a way to lớn explain your job in a way that it makes for an energizing conversation starter, instead of a fast track khổng lồ the pigeon-hole.

Here are seven ways lớn reframe this common question to help you come up with a more compelling answer. Experiment with different ones during conversations in the next couple weeks to lớn see which allows you to lớn represent yourself the best và build more meaningful relationships.

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After more than a decade in corporate communications, Amanda Berlin now uses her pitch powers for good, helping entrepreneurs position themselves as experts và create compelling stories that sell their services. She’s the creator of the online copywriting course Create nội dung That Connects. The best career advice she ever got was from her dad: “Be happy.” Learn more about her at amandaberlin.com.
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