“What kind of work do you do with that degree?” “So, what do you want to do when you finish school?”
It’s just inevitable that someone, at some point, will ask this question. How to respond? While this question can cause blood pressure to rise, it can be a moment to discover just how helpful people will be. That is, once they understand how they can be helpful.
A great elevator-pitch is not usually even pitched in an elevator, it’s those conversations large and small, in a variety of settings where you’ll find yourself needing a response. So, to help, here are some points to develop one, in the context of how your goals will benefit a potential employer:
- Your skills: what have you learned, what you have accomplished?
- Your goals: what kind of organization do you want to work for, where geographically do you want to live, what kind of position do you want?
- It really should be 30 seconds or less, then let the conversation evolve.
So, to build your response consider:
- What do you do well? Examine your transferable skills. What are you proficient in, accomplished in, have expertise in?
- Think about past success, compliments you received, effective project management, collaboration. How would your colleagues describe you?
- How can you contribute? Who do you want to help? What role are you hoping to find?
Here’s an example:
I’m completing a graduate degree in (……..). I am currently researching/working on (…….). One of my greatest strengths is my ability to (……….). I’m inspired by (……), I’m looking for advice/a job in (……..) at a (………) organization where I can contribute to (……….).
Then, listen. If people are in a position to be helpful, this is the moment they will do it. There’s a good chance they will suggest that a friend/relative/colleague/cousin twice removed, works at the organization you aspire to work. Ask for the best way to meet this person, request an introduction or, request their contact information and permission to contact them.
A few minutes of preparation can lead you in the direction of your next career.
If you need help, want to practice, schedule time to meet with Sharon Hanna.