Being ready to answer questions about your past, present and future career aspirations is a necessary skill in order for you to make the most of every potential avenue for career progression. Whilst we often consider these questions ourselves when we are consciously preparing for an interview, it is also recommended that you have prepared answers to these key fundamentals for all manner of situations – from informal discussion with senior members of your current team, a meeting with people in the industry or even at social events. You never know where the next door will open.

What do you do then?

A common question when you meet someone for the first time. Often seemingly an unobtrusive question, giving a well-structured articulate response will set the tone of your position, and give an impression of who you are – and you want to make that impression positive – don’t you!

So how do you answer – quick and easy is your job title and company name. Great – but often that doesn’t really communicate anything about your particular skills or interests. It’s also prudent to note that job titles vary significantly across companies so whilst project manager may be considered senior in one office – it is an entry position in another. Therefore, you need to expand and position yourself within the correct context. Pick out your most favourable skills and talk about those. Talk about interesting, high profile, projects you work on. Bring your job to life for them.

What is your background?

The key here is to convey your experience without waffling. Knowing where to start, what to mention and what to leave out is a considered skill. Dangle enough information to allow others to ask you for more information if they want it, but don’t launch in to detailed descriptions too early – you don’t want them to tune out before you have got to the best bits!

What are you looking for?

The answer here will tell others if you are actively working towards something, or if you are ambling along waiting for something good to happen. Whilst when looking for a new opportunity, being too targeted might feel like you cut down on your options, being too vague will mean you won’t seem perfect for any role. When talking to a recruitment advisor, do not be afraid to craft out your vision of the perfect next step – what you want and why you want it. A professional head hunter will take this information and passion and apply this to the roles they are aware of. If you don’t have that vision it is almost impossible for the head hunter to understand what would be a good fit or otherwise.

Being open to other opportunities is also advised. Know where you want to go, but understand your journey might take a different route.