Have you attended interviews, social gatherings, or networking events?

Then, you would have been asked the question “what do you do for work?”.

As simple a question as it may seem, it is difficult to put into words all that you do at your job in an instant. There is also a possibility of people judging you or not fully understanding what you do. It could get tricky while answering this question during a job interview.

So, how do you answer the question “what do you do?” succinctly and lucidly?

Read on to understand how to answer this question in 11 different ways.

Why Do Interviewers Ask "What Do You Do?"


Interviewers generally begin with the question “what is your name”. It is followed by “tell us about yourself” or “what do you do”. Questions such as what do you do for a living give insights into:

  • ‘You’ as a person: Such questions help the interviewer understand what you do and who you are as a person. It gives a broad overview of your motivations & perceptions of life.
  • Your communication skills: Are you good at communicating your ideas? It is important to convey critical thoughts, ideas, and history in a stipulated time. It shows that you would replicate it at the firm when hired.
  • You understand what you do: Do you understand the nuances of what you do? An individual who understands their position and nature of work, and follows the procedure is aware that he or she is an important cog within the organization’s framework.
  • Your passion: Are you passionate about what you do? Then, the answer would have details that are privy to a passionate worker and show you in a positive light.

Now that we understand why interviewers might ask what you do, let’s answer the question in different ways.

Also Read: How to answer ‘Walk me through your resume’ interview question?

How to Answer "What Do You Do for Work?"


Let us take an example of an associate digital marketer who works at XYZ organization working towards a noble cause. He has been working there for over 3 years and is now looking to move companies and become a digital marketing manager. He has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Cornell University. He has interned at a digital media agency, and a leading newspaper and writes blogs as a hobby.

Here are 11 different ways of answering “what do you do”:

1. Use the STAR Formula


The STAR formula or Situation, Task, Action, Result formula is a great way to answer what you do. Begin by explaining the situation, the tasks assigned, relevant actions taken, and results obtained.

Sample Answer:

  • Situation: I have completed my Bachelor’s in journalism and mass communication from Cornell University. I interned at Yellow Pictures digital media agency and The Herald Newspaper while completing my education. Then, I got placed at XYZ organization as an associate digital marketer and I have been working at XYZ organization for over 3 years now.
  • Task: I specialize in the performance marketing domain wherein my task is to increase brand awareness through displaying ads both on search engines and on social media platforms. I also create reports on the marketing initiatives for the management to make informed decisions.
  • Action: In the last 3 years, I have reported a 200% increase in the monthly active users of the website with the user retention growing from 30 seconds to over 2 minutes now. We have also reported a 300% increase in social media traffic from our audience, which has positively increased our following on social media platforms.
  • Result: I think my specialization in performance marketing and knowledge of other domains of digital marketing makes me an eligible candidate for the position of digital marketing manager at your organization.

2. Narrate a Story


Another excellent way to answer what do you do is to weave a story. Share major goals of your firm that you are working on and how you spend your time working to achieve them.

Sample Answer: I am working at XYX organization as an associate digital marketer. I create brand awareness amongst people. work to bring people’s attention and awareness to the brand. We work for a social cause and are proud of what we do. We are working on joining hands with UNICEF in furthering our shared goal of achieving quality learning opportunities for children and adolescents alike to prepare them to become leaders of tomorrow.

Also Read: How to answer phone interview questions?

What Do You Do Best Answer


Here are some of the best answers to the interview question "what do you do".

1. Elaborate on How You Make a Difference


Do you wish for the interviewer to be interested in what you do? Do you want him to ask follow-up questions? Then, tell them how what you do makes a difference.
Begin with the most relevant part of the job to gain their attention and then explain your role.

Sample Answer: The XYZ organization works for underprivileged children in war-torn or third-world countries to get them access to equal learning opportunities. We work towards helping children and adolescents gain relevant skills and shape their futures. I work in the marketing department and I specialize in performance marketing and work to bring people’s attention to the brand and what they do.

2. Give the Interviewer Insights into Your Industry


An introduction to your industry would lead to a deeper understanding of what you do. Include important statistics about your industry in your answer.

Sample Answer: I work in the performance marketing department of XYZ Organization. I create marketing initiatives to increase traffic and retain users on social media platforms and websites. Do you know 1 billion children are multidimensionally poor due to a lack of access to even basic amenities? We work towards bringing them one step closer to a better future by providing them with better learning opportunities and making them skill-ready for tomorrow.

Also Read: How to answer informational interview questions?

3. Explain Your Journey


An effective way to give details about what you do is by explaining your journey- how you started, your motivations, passions, and what you wish for in the future.

Sample Answer: I am an Associate Digital Marketer at XYZ Organization. I have wanted to be in the marketing domain ever since I stepped foot at Cornell University. My professors, colleagues, and peers encouraged me to join the marketing field.
Marketing has thus been very close to me. It challenges me to achieve more. No day is alike- new techniques, cases, and strategies come up now and then. Also, it makes me happier when people buy products from us knowing that it is going to help children living in war-torn countries.

4. Your Answer Should Reflect Your Passion


A hiring manager always wishes to hire somebody passionate about their job, role, and industry they work in. An interviewee must discuss their passion during the interview.

Sample Answer: I am a performance marketer who specializes in display ads on both search engines and social media platforms. It is a quick way to judge whether our strategies are working fine or if we are heading in the wrong direction. I wish to specialize in affiliate marketing, which is a subset of performance marketing.

Also Read: How to answer most common interview questions?

How Do You Reply to the “What Do You Do” Interview Question?


Here are some of the best replies to the interview question "what do you do".

1. Be Creative


Respond in a way that is unique and grabs the attention of the listener at the get-go. The first sentence should be catchy and describe you in a few words. Play with words and transform your job title into a never heard phrase.

Sample Answer: I am a marketing wizard! I can magically increase the traffic on your website and social media channels. Currently, I am working at the XYZ Organization as a performance marketer wherein I have reported a 400% increase in social media traffic over four years.

2. Share Your Goals


Tell them why you are working where you are and how does it figure in the larger scheme of things. Do you know where you might end up 5 years down the line? Are you working towards achieving it? Lower your guard and share your goals with the hiring manager.

Sample Answer: I am a performance marketer. My goal is to bring awareness to brands that matter and that can make a difference in society. I wish to continue working in the social sector as it drives me to my core. I wish to help the children I have never seen in my life and I might not a get chance to. Marketing provides me a way to do something meaningful in my routine from 9 to 5 and I am proud of it.

Also Read: How to answer job interview questions?

3. Elaborate Your Role


There is a possibility that a hiring manager might not be aware of the role you have or have slight information about the same. Make sure to explain your role in layman terms that are both easy to understand and let them ask follow-up questions.'

Sample Answer: I am a performance marketer at XYZ organization. Performance marketing is an important branch of digital marketing where advertisers, such as us, are obliged to pay only when the user performs a specific action- clicks on the ad, views it, shares it, completes a sale, etc. It differs from traditional marketing and optimizes marketing efforts to gain the most of the budget.

4. Promote Yourself


Showcase to the interviewer that you have relevant skills and list your accomplishments. This is a clear marker of what you bring to the table and how it would benefit the company.

Sample Answer: I am a performance marketer with over 3 years of experience. I have reported a 200% increase in the monthly active users on the website and a 300% increase in social media traffic from our target audience.

Also Read: Top interview questions and answers

5. Share your Portfolio


A portfolio could be a great way to showcase that you would be able to pull off the job. Showcase your accomplishments by citing examples from your portfolio of work- it could include the projects completed or the companies you have worked with.

Sample Answer: We increased our social media traffic by 300% from our target audience and were able to tie up with UNICEF to further our shared goal of getting underprivileged children to get access to learning opportunities. I believe my portfolio speaks for itself and I can positively deliver consistent results.

Key Takeaways

It is important to prepare for interviews well in advance to give your best shot. Questions such as ‘what do you do’ are generally asked during interviews and must be prepared for.

  • Questions such as “what do you do” help the interviewer in understanding you, what you do, your passion, and your communication skills.
  • There could be many ways of answering ‘what do you do’. Choose the one that suits you the best from the examples provided above.
  • Keep it short, lucid, and succinct while answering the question.
  • Make sure to include important statistics, accomplishments, and information that would help to show you in a positive light.

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