Coachology: Give a great answer to the question, What do you do?


The job hunt of the new millennium is not sending out resumes and going to interviews. For the most part, it’s casually talking to people. And they don’t want a ten-minute story as an answer to the question, “What do you do.” They want an “elevator pitch” — one or two sentences that you could get out in as fast as an elevator ride. It’s a very short answer, but that’s why it’s so hard. Because we think of ourselves as so complicated and multidimensional, but the answer must be simple and straightforward.

My grandma once told me that if you don’t have a lot of money, be sure to buy nice shoes because you wear them every day, so every day you’ll have something nice to wear. (I realize now that the idea of a closet full of shoes was foreign to her generation. But you get the point.) Investing time and money in your answer to the question What do you do? is a lot like buying that good pair of shoes, because you will have to answer that question, in one form or another, almost every day.

So I’m happy to say that this week’s Coachology is working with Laura Allen, who specializes in helping people answer the question, What do you do? You can work with her for free, for 90 minutes, to hone your elevator pitch about who you are.

Laura, through her company 15SecondPitch, helps people to see themselves and their vision for their career in a way that will make immediate sense to other people. And, really, that’s the way you get what you want in your career — by communicating well with other people.

If you want to work with Laura, send an email to me with three sentences telling why you want to work with her. The deadline is May 6.

7 replies
  1. Steven
    Steven says:

    This is excellent advice for a person and it needs to be a high priority for your company as well.

    When I design a Web site for a company I find that the standard deliverables are easy. What is difficult is getting everyone to agree on “what they do”.

    Know what you do. For extra credit, be able to speak about why it’s important work to be doing.
    (Positive words, no giggling, no hand-puppets)

  2. Tom Morgan
    Tom Morgan says:

    Wow! This another fantastic tool to help me adapt to the new reality of managing my career. It is so hard for me to crystallize my thoughts on how I add value versus the job that I do.

    The best part is they have created a no cost self service model to help me get started.

    I recommend that you create a dedicated web site with links to all of these marvelous coachology resources in order to provide one stop shopping for job hunters.

  3. Potres
    Potres says:

    There is a great story in "Made to Stick" about Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign that explains how sometimes it becomes really hard to decide upon one key message you are trying to convey. The advice that James Carville gave Clinton in that campaign: "It you say three things, you don't say anything" is a great way to look at answering: What do you do?

  4. matchmaker
    matchmaker says:

    There are many ways to make a cobbler topping. My usual method is to make a biscuit-like topping similar to scone dough and dot it over the fruit, creating a "cobbled together" look. For this cobbler, I used a thinner batter that has more in common with a cake batter than a biscuit dough. The cobbler rises during baking into a soft, moist, vanilla-scented layer that really soaks up the juices from the fruit well.

Comments are closed.