A friend of mine, Mark Whitaker, is an experienced market research professional. His official title is Strategic Research Consultant at The Kansas City Star.
That’s an impressive title, but what does it mean? What does he really do? What impact does he actually make?
In seven words on LinkedIn, Mark summarizes his job as “helping you find the information you need.”
I really like that “job description” for three reasons:
- It’s simple. I can understand it without having to translate industry jargon.
- It’s differentiating. It really describes what he does, not what his company or co-workers do.
- It’s outwardly focused. He describes what he does for others. He focuses on the benefits he provides, not the process involved.
Recently I stumbled into a LinkedIn discussion that challenged members within a nonprofit group to “describe what you do in seven words or less.” Here are several comments that caught my eye:
• Help nonprofits tell stories that energize stakeholders. —copywriter
• Find funding. Write proposals. Manage programs. —consultant
• Tell Oklahoma’s story through its people. —fundraiser
• Help kids fight cancer. —marketer
• Give Nepali children a fair chance. —board chair
• Help military members adopt adult shelter pets. —executive director
• Give male survivors of sexual abuse hope. —IT specialist
• Help mature displaced workers find jobs. —job counselor
• Bring citizens together to enjoy the arts. —fundraiser
• Help bereaved children and families manage grief. —marketer
• Create publications that inspire people to action. —graphic designer
Granted, not all these comments are 1) simple, 2) differentiating and 3) outwardly focused. Yet they are intriguing and better than most job descriptions. Here are a few, though, that did nothing for me. They were a meaningless mix of mundane words, process-focused phrases or tired clichés:
• Help others realize their dreams and goals.
• Beg for money—lots of money.
• Raise funds to help dreams come true.
• Raise money and awareness to change lives.
• Shout out our message to the world.
I challenge you think about the work you do and the impact you have on others. Then, describe your job in seven words or less. That’s a tough assignment. I’m still crafting my seven-word job description.
I’ll close, though, with one that is close to my heart. My son, Greg, is an elementary school teacher who says his work is “helping children discover, learn and grown.”
So what do you?