Would you like to be memorable in a good way? Then, don’t describe yourself by your job title ever again!
Regardless of how exciting or interesting your work may be to you, you probably won’t get other people engaged by starting a conversation with what it says on your business card.
If your job title is common (i.e. accountant), you look boring. If your job title is very abstract (i.e. senior protocol architect), no one will have any idea what you actually do. In either case, it’s unlikely the listener will want to probe and learn more.
On the other hand, when you emphasize the benefits of what you do (especially when you mention benefits that are relevant to the other person), you intrigue your listener and make it easier for him/her to follow-up with additional questions.
Here are some examples:
- Instead of saying “I’m a realtor,” you could say “I help people sell their homes faster and for more money.”
- Instead of saying “I’m a personal trainer,” you could say “I help people get into the best shape of their lives.”
- Instead of saying “I’m a veterinarian,” you could say “I help pets live longer.”
- Instead of saying “I’m a small business lawyer,” you could say “I help small business owners protect themselves against lawsuits.”
Think of how much easier it would be for the listener to follow-up with additional questions with the “benefit-driven” introduction instead of the typical “title” introduction.
A more advanced (and even more powerful) way to introduce yourself is to incorporate humor into your benefit statement. For example, one of my mentors is a humorist (i.e. a humorous motivational speaker) for the healthcare industry. However, that’s not what he tells people when they ask what he does. It would be boring and abstract for him to say he is a humorist for the healthcare industry. Instead, he says “I make colonoscopies more fun.” Now, that’s memorable!
A personal trainer could say something like “I help people look better naked.” A high school teacher could say “I make America smarter.”
While the humorous approach has to be delivered correctly for it to be most effective (and while it’s not appropriate for certain careers, i.e. psychiatrists), it’s a great way to be memorable and to break the ice when meeting someone new.
In summary, you are much more than your job title, so make sure you don’t sell yourself short by allowing it to define you.
Pete Leibman is the Author of the new book titled “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You” (AMACOM, 2012). His career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN, and he is a popular Keynote Speaker at career events for college students and at conferences for people who work with college students.