A friend recently mentioned that she's been in the same industry for 20 years -- and for those two decades, she's been underselling herself. When people asked, "What do you do?," she answered by sharing her job description instead of sharing the benefits of her work.
My favorite example of features and benefits is the convertable automobile. You don't buy a car because the top can retract, that's a feature. You buy a convertible for the benefit: the experience of driving with the sun kissing your skin, the wind rushing through your hair and the way you feel.
So, what's your answer to the question, "What do you do?"
Here are three tips for not selling yourself short:
- HIGHLIGHT BENEFITS: Are you sharing merely the tactics or features of your work vs. the benefits? If so, consider: How does you make life better? What's your vision for your role? What kind of pain do you help solve?
- ANSWER THE QUESTION PERSONALLY: Do you only answer by including what your company does? I'm guilty here: I am excited about the value my company offers to making workplaces more efficient and creating more meaningful lives for leaders. Sometimes I'm so eager to share more about the company that I forget to share more about my role.
- EMPHASIZE YOUR POTENTIAL: If you're a job seeker interested in transitioning to a new industry or looking to win a promotion, have you rattled off a list of your accomplishments without focusing on what you'd like to be doing in the future? Try drafting an answer that includes a link from what you've accomplished to what you'd like to accomplish.
As for my friend, she's a quick thinker and was able to come up with a new and improved version, which is already capturing more engagement and interest from people.
Try these out at your next networking event and let me know how it goes. Then, share your before and after in the comments below.