1. Don’t say your job title, your company, or your responsibilities. Nobody respects a 32-year-old Marketing Intern for Blockbuster’s new life insurance endeavor. Not even your mother, who last time you two talked asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to give bartending another try?”
2. Get to the point. Remember, you don’t have anything worth saying, but you are going to say something anyway. So make it quick. Try something just specific enough to quench curiosity, but also vague enough where they are too intimidated to ask further. You need both. Try just saying: “Development.”
3. Be confident. Dilly-dallying invites vulnerability that a party patron may see as a way to delve into your soul and create empathy. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS. Keep it strong, quick, and intimidating. Do not repeat yourself, do not end your sentences with a preposition, and do not say things in an inefficient way that you aren’t proud of.
4. Do not be “confidently modest.” Do not self-deprecate. You do not have a cool job where you can be blasé or dismissive about it. You can’t afford that. You must come across as supremely important to the point of mania. People admire what they fear, especially at a dessert potluck.
5. Just name a company. Any company. Are they going to call HR? No way. Own the fact that you are lying. The people that say what they really do, they are the real liars because they are hiding their true passions from themselves, so their “job” is actually a farce. What is a job anyway but a lie that capitalism has taught people to project as “contributing to society” and “paying your own cell phone bill”? If anyone asks, you work for Google.
6. State a hobby instead. You are a TV critic because you spent the past three weeks writing Twitter threads on theories for Season 3 of The Good Place. You are an accountant because you balanced the brunch bill between six friends, including tip. You are a stand-up comedian because somebody laughed when you called Trump “Mr. Pee-Pee-sident” while you were technically standing up. You are a DJ because this playlist is pretty good, right?
7. Be philosophical. In some ways, looking for a job is a full-time job.
8. Talk about what you used to do, and what you plan to do. Showing where you’ve been and where you are planning to go reveals your potential. Plus, everybody loves a cliffhanger. And who knows? Maybe they’ll be so impressed by your previous experience and your five-year plan that they will hire you!
9. Pivot to asking about their job. You know what’s more important than talking about my career? Being a great listener. Tell me more about your job at, um, Google’s Human Resources.