How to Articulate What You Do

Have you been faced with a situation where it was tough to articulate what you do?

You’re having a conversation with an old friend.  The two of you are laughing and enjoying one another when she suddenly mentions that she just recommended (insert name here) for a position or opportunity.

You’re startled. Huh?  You say, “Why didn’t you tell me? You know that is what I do.” She looks incredulously at you and says, “Really? I had no idea. I always thought you did (insert here).”

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There is nothing worse than being surrounded by your crew and realizing they have no idea what you do. Unfortunately, it happens every day (both with your digital brand and offline in person).

In fact, if you really think about it, most people are surrounded by people who would probably have a hard time articulating who they are, what they do and what separates them from everyone else. Here’s why:

You don’t know how to articulate what you do

In general, people have a hard time articulating what they do themselves, therefore, those closest to them aren’t well equipped with the tools necessary to become their brand ambassadors.  Chances are, you have people close to you who have no idea what really makes you so dynamic—other than the fact you are a friend and/or a loved one—and you make awesome martinis.

You don’t prioritize promoting yourself

Often, by the time you get home, the last thing you want to do is “talk shop.” Sure, you may share office gossip, mention a few wins, promotion, etc. but overall, you generally don’t take the time to properly frame your skill-set in the minds of your inner circle.

You hold back

Even though they are friends and/or loved ones, you tend to hold back discussing significant events at work because you don’t want to feel like you are bragging—especially if they aren’t happy with their position, or are looking for work themselves.

We simply live two lives

Our work life and our personal life… rarely do we let the two intersect.   However, when we haven’t taken the time to properly educate those around us about who we really are—we are missing one of our biggest opportunities to unleash a band of Undeniably Fierce #BrandAmbassadors.

A word of caution

Consider this. If you formed a friendship with someone eight years ago at your previous employer and the two of you pulled countless all-nighters trying to figure things out and gossiped about the “powers that be,” would you be their first choice when they are looking to fill a role in the future?

Do you really think you’d be the first person that comes to mind eight years later when they are looking for a Senior Level executive who can slay new business pitches (even though that is the only thing you have been doing for the past three years at your current position?)

Or, consider for a moment this scenario: A person from your past tosses your name into Google to see what you are up to now. If you haven’t spent the time building your digital brand, would they away with a clear and concise picture?

Absolutely not.

People see you and often keep you at the level that they meet you. Even though you have grown immensely. Learned a lot. Had significant wins, promotions, and accolades. Those often happen behind closed doors, where others simply don’t see.
They knew and loved the old you. However, maybe it’s time to introduce them to the new, improved and #UndeniablyFierce you.

Here are a few ways to articulate what you do:

1. Master your elevator pitch

Take the time to get really good at articulating who you are. Don’t just do this at networking sessions. You should be practicing your pitch everywhere, including the Thanksgiving table with your family and friends. Considering that most people get opportunities and/or jobs through their personal relationships, that is one area you simply don’t want to overlook. They already have a vested interest in you.

2.Educate your group

Make a concerted effort on a regular basis to educate your group and discover what they do. As your skills elevate, be sure to keep them abreast of your ascension and walk them step-by-step through your transformation. Talk openly about being the brand ambassadors or cheerleaders for one another’s career.

3.Be candid about what you want

Ask those around you, “if you were to recommend me to someone or introduce me at a dinner party, how would you do it?” Identify the gaps that exist and close them.  Let them know what you want and where you are headed.
Your job is simple: to be so clear about who you are, what you do, what separates you from everyone else and where you are headed, that those who are closest to you can’t help but be just as clear. Hopefully, they can help you along your journey.

Let’s hear your elevator pitch in the comments!


  • Erica Gordon

    I love the tips shared here. I definitely need to do more sharing with my inner circle.

    • Jennifer Ransaw Smith

      Hi Erica, It might not be a bad idea to bring everyone together to introduce them to what you really bring to the table. If they truly understand your ROI, and become your Brand Ambassadors, then you have a group of people out in the world always looking for opportunities to elevate you, Good luck.

  • Gigi King

    Hello its me Gigi King​, in case you don’t know who I am or what it is I do, I’m going to tell you: I am a mother, a published author, entrepreneur, former model and blogger.

    • Jennifer Ransaw Smith

      Hi Gigi! I love how you “put the world on notice.” Watch out world, here comes, Gigi!

  • Claire Wood

    I agree – and would take this a step further we should be our own personal brand ambassadors wherever we go. Often we leave this to chance and don’t make deliberate choices about #brandme

    • Jennifer Ransaw Smith

      Hi Claire! You are right. I always say others will never see you higher than you see yourself, so it is critical for us all to become effective and strategic “brand ambassadors.”

  • Nice advice Jennifer. I realized that nobody in my family understood what I do for a living when I heard my sister in law tell somebody I was a great receptionist–that was my job 15 years ago!

    • Jennifer Ransaw Smith

      MacKenzie! It happens all of the time. Unless we continue to educate those around us, they will always see of through the eyes of yesterday. Remind them who you are!