15 Best Ways To Answer “What Do You Do?” (Updated 2024)

15 Best Ways To Answer What Do You Do

“What do you do?” seems like an innocuous question. But how you answer says a lot about you professionally and personally. This important query crops up at parties, networking events, on dates and in countless conversations.

Having a short, compelling “elevator pitch” style response prepared leaves a positive impression. It gets people interested in you, helps break the ice and gives insight into your skills, goals and passions.

This article features creative examples, templates and tips for answering the common question “What do you do?” confidently and conversationally.

15 Best Ways To Answer “What Do You Do?”

1. Focus On Helping Not Just Doing

Rather than dryly listing your job title and duties, emphasize how your role helps people. This shows you take pride in making a positive impact through your work.

Example: “I help large construction firms improve collaboration, efficiency and safety standards.”

2. Spotlight Specific Skills

Highlight useful skills you utilize daily instead of only stating vague positions. This adds meaningful detail and intrigue.

Example: “As a registered nurse, I care for patients recovering from surgery. My specialty is infection control and wound management.”

3. Share Your Passion

Inject enthusiasm and purpose into your response by sharing why you love what you do. This builds an emotional connection. Talk about how your work ties into helping a cause or community you care about.

Example: “I work for a nonprofit that provides job training for human trafficking survivors. Seeing survivors empowered with career skills is so rewarding.”

4. Give A Memorable Soundbite

Sum up your career in a creative metaphor, tagline or alliteration that sticks in people’s minds.


  • “I’m an organizational efficiency energizer.”
  • “A workplace culture cultivator.”
  • “A storytelling strategist.”
  • “A workplace wellness innovator.”

5. Share A Career Vision Or Goal

Talk about forward-thinking professional aims beyond just your current job scope. This shows ambition and passion.

Example: “I oversee supply chain logistics for an electronics brand. My goal is to implement AI and drone delivery to offset our carbon footprint.”

6. Spotlight A Recent Win

Citing a recent accomplishment or award draws positive attention to your abilities.

Example: “I just launched a new project management software program that’s improving collaboration for our remote teams.”

7. Give A Sneak Peek

Offer an insider’s glimpse into interesting or unusual aspects of your work to pique curiosity.


  • “I analyze forensic evidence to recreate crime scenes.”
  • “As a museum curator, I’m prepping displays on newly discovered mummies and ancient art.”

8. Share Something Unexpected

Reveal surprising tidbits about your job to make it more fascinating.


  • “I host virtual dance parties to get older adults moving and socializing.”
  • “I teach kids improv comedy skills to boost confidence and creativity.”

9. Spotlight Transferable Strengths

Emphasize versatile competencies you’ve developed that apply across roles and industries. This expands possibilities.


  • “My background in hospital administration honed strong project management abilities.”
  • “Law school shaped my analytical thinking and research skills.”

10. Give A Relatable Analogy

Compare your profession to a more widely understood role so people can immediately envision it.

Example: “Being a UX designer is like an interior designer for apps and websites.”

11. Create Compelling Stories

“As a digital content strategist, I help brands shape compelling stories that emotionally resonate with target audiences across websites, ad campaigns and social media.”

12. Optimize Business Performance

“I employ my analytical abilities as a data scientist to help retail chains optimize pricing, supply chain and marketing spend for peak business performance.”

13. Build Better Software

“As a senior software developer, I architect robust mobile and web applications that enable organizations to serve customers more efficiently at scale.”

14. Drive Innovation Forward

“I thrive on pushing innovation as a research chemist pioneering new compounds and polymers to create sustainable materials for next-gen clean energy solutions.”

15. Bring Ideas To Life

“As a patent attorney, I help inventors, startups and R&D labs secure intellectual property rights to bring cutting-edge ideas to market and positively impact lives.”

Templates To Adapt For Answering “What Do You Do?”

Use these templates as a starting point for crafting your own response:

For Creative Roles

“I’m a [job title] who helps [type of clients] [key benefit: achieve/create/understand/navigate] [result] by [how: designing, writing, strategizing, coding, filming, photographing, etc.]”

For Technical Roles

“As a [job title], I utilize my [adjective: analytical, detail-oriented, innovative] skills in [field] to [key task] through [approach: developing, optimizing, training, implementing, etc.] [object: technologies, systems, programs, products] that help [stakeholders] [benefit: work faster, stay organized, reduce costs].”

For Service & Helping Roles

“I work directly with [clients/patients/customers] as a [job title] to provide [type of help or service]. I enjoy [reason why it’s fulfilling: teaching new skills, solving problems, improving health, empowering people].”

For Leadership Roles

“As a [job title], I [lead/manage/oversee] [department name] where I [key function: create standards, formulate strategy, build teams]. I focus on [priority: driving growth, encouraging innovation, building culture].”

For Roles In Transition

“Most recently, I worked as a [previous job title] focused on [key duty]. I’m currently exploring new opportunities to utilize my background in [field] and [soft or hard skills] to [help people/businesses/organizations] [achieve what?].”

Bonus Tips For Answering “What Do You Do?”

Implement these extra suggestions to boost your response:

  • Quantify achievements or impact – Include metrics illustrating scale and reach. Ex. I taught mindfulness techniques to over 500 employees at major corporations last year.
  • Get creative with verbs – Powerful action words like catalyzed, launched, pioneered make your efforts sound more dynamic.
  • Show enthusiasm – Smile, make eye contact and sit up straight. Sound proud. Use positive language.
  • Keep it conversational – Offer concise highlights since it’s a chat not a monologue. Invite followup questions.
  • Rehearse out loud – Practice your response until it sounds natural. Time yourself to keep it under a minute.
  • Adapt for the audience – Adjust details and emphasis based on who you’re speaking with.
  • Listen well to their work stories too – This further builds rapport.


Here are answers to common questions about how to respond when asked “What do you do?”:

Isn’t saying your job title enough?

Simply stating a vague job title doesn’t tell much about what you actually do or what skills you use. Spicing up your response makes it more intriguing and personable. Highlight your strengths.

What if you’re between jobs or retired?

Share your previous career highlights focused on strengths and achievements. You can also talk about consulting projects, volunteer work, hobbies or encore career plans that keep you energized and engaged.

Is this mainly for networking situations?

While it’s especially handy when networking, having a polished answer ready helps whenever someone asks “What do you do?” socially. This could happen on dates, at parties, in conversations with strangers and more.

What if you have multiple roles?

If you wear many hats (ex. parent, volunteer, student, entrepreneur), focus on highlighting one main professional role or the one most relevant to who you’re speaking with. You can briefly mention other pursuits as well.

Can you change up your response?

Yes, part of why rehearsing a answer is helpful is so you can articulate key soundbites naturally but also improvise by adding relevant details for specific conversations. You’ll emphasize different aspects based on fit.

I hope these tips, examples and templates help you create an engaging, confident response to the common question “What do you do?” that makes a fantastic first impression.

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