This is generally the first of a few questions that we ask each other when we meet someone. With the upcoming mandatory work functions, community events, school socials and political gatherings, you are sure to hear the question, “And what do you do”? Most people do not understand that they are a professional of some sort. Well, in the new workforce – you know the one that is more tech savvy than your grandparents workforce days – it behooves you to understand your value in the job that you have, to understand your value in your extracurricular activities as well to understand your value in being able to capture your future new endeavors. Understanding your value and being able to speak clearly about them is the first step to making good connections. You will never know the seed that can be planted, as a result of the way in which you address this question to others. So let’s start to think about it now? Here are 6 ways to respond at various seasoning events:
- Trick or Treat Events – State the name of the company where you work. It’s not a time for a lot of dialogue as everyone is busy helping the children enjoy their trunk or treat events and activities, keeping them safe as they bob for apples and play the inflatable games. Your answer here will serve to inform others where you work for future reference. For example, “I work for Jostens Class Ring Corporation. I work for Parks and Recreation for the County of Erin. I work on post for DynCorp.” Now you are a potential point of contact, based on your company affiliation. Someone may add you on their linked profile by company name. See LinkedIn to connect with others.
- Political Rallies – State the problem that you help solve for your industry. For example, “I assist TJMaxx with customer service complaints. I help explain Social Security Benefits to newly entered citizen recently married to our US soldiers. I help families secure the daily household challenges of their elder relatives. I help the general public with emergency medical questions on Fort Campbell Military Post.” You will be seen as a problem solver and this is handy as you are making a case for your political candidate on a national or local level. See Tennessee dot gov for more information.
- Giving Thanks Gatherings – State your recent community service involvement. This makes for polite conversation and also serves to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded professional. For example, “Our local alumni chapter raised $2000 for college scholarships for Clarksville graduates. The military family groups walked in the Race for the Cure Campaign this year in honor of cancer survivors.” You will be seen as a caring, compassionate professional who is able to offer servicehave a peek here. An excellent trait for a future business consultant or future member of a local board. See Clarksville Kindness on Facebook for community service involvement.
- School Gatherings/Sports Holiday Banquets/Pre-School Nativity Scene Speeches – State the parts of your job that you like doing the BEST! This way you keep a positive impression about your professional self. I love forwarding clients to jobs that match their skills. I assess mechanical problems in heavy duty trucks. I help preschoolers learn to write their names!
- Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa Gatherings – State times when you collaborated with your peers or other business persons to accomplish a shared goal. Our company collaborates with the United Way to help teen children of military families obtain part-time jobs. I contract with small businesses on major highway jobs. I deal with bankers who seek to join upper management, helping them to develop their Leadership Skills via Leadership Clarksville. This way you are bringing a cheery topic about yourself and your professional that colors the evening or event in a positive manner. After all, it’s the season to be merry!
- New Year Gatherings – State some of your day-to-day duties with the projection of the long term goals for yourself or your company. I supply local contractors with needed wood for housing foundations with the hope of becoming an independent contractor supplying farms with needed barnyard equipment. I train as an apprenticed plumber with the hopes of starting a licensed plumber business after obtaining my apprenticeship. This way you are seen as a team player who has long term career goals.
Remember, every conversation is a potential opportunity to plant a seed for future networks. People will remember how you are able to make an impact in your community including your job, your civic duties and in your long term goals for your future. What better way to practice than to demonstrate your value at all of the holiday events. Enjoy!