When asked, "what do you do" or in job search "what are you looking for" or in an interview "tell me about yourself", it is not only prudent, it is critical to know what you are going to say about yourself.
I know I don't like talking about myself, you probably don't either, that is why it is even more important to know exactly how to describe ourselves.
This prepared statement is known as an elevator speech, 45 second commercial or positioning statment.
Speak it with passion. Use words that create visual images. Let your passion shine through (oh, that might be the problem, you're not sure what your passion is, so you'll need to work on that).
The commercial contains your occupation, the sets of skills you excel at, your industry knowledge, perhaps an accomplishment that typifies the work you've done and some unique traits or qualities that define you as a professional. It might even include the names of a couple of companies you would like to work for (if you are in search).
I like to use the following sentences to get the ball rolling:
"I am a ____________(job title or profession)
With expertise in _________________ (specific work related skills)
My background includes_______________ (types of industries worked in)
My unique qualities are_____________ (traits that differentiate you)"
Don't just "wing it". Plan, do, act it. Consider these lines in a play. You'll need to memorize them, practice them, re-work it so it truly sounds like you and then get into character. That's what great actors/actresses do, they take on the persona of who they are supposed to be or who they want to be.
Because talking about yourself is a skill, it does require practice. The olympians who competed this summer didn't just train the months before. They have been preparing their entire lives to compete. The professional world requires we compete. Begin practicing so that you can develop the skills you need to be perceived as the professional you are and want to be known for. It's no longer enough to be good at what you do, you need to be able to talk about what you can do well!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.