Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So, what do you do?

It's a running joke here in the Washington, DC area that the first thing you ask a person when you meet them is what they do for a living.

Here at New Voices we've written about getting out and shaking hands with the people around you, learning about what they do and sharing your work as a scientist with them.

Part of being able to do that is describing your job in one short, concise statement (less than 25 words). This can be difficult when some job titles are five, ten, or fifteen words long all by themselves. Luckily, my job title is fairly short. Unluckily, it is incredibly non-descript. So, when I'm explaining my work to someone new, I don't always use my title. A couple of examples:

1. I'm an advocate for health research. My organization, Research!America, works for increased funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health and CDC. (23 words)

2. I'm the manager of science outreach for Research!America, a non-profit that advocates for increased government investment in research to improve health. (21 words)

3. I work for Research!America, a health research advocacy organization. My job includes planning events and managing a daily blog about science communication and advocacy. (24 words)

All three provide slightly different information, but they all:
  • Avoid jargon
  • Include the name of the organization I work for and
  • A brief description of what Research!America does
  • Have key words about my organization and job (health and research)
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point
So, how about you? What do you do? We look forward to meeting you in the comments section!

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