How to answer the question: "What makes you unique?"

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How to answer the question: "What makes you unique?"

One of the questions I’ve been getting frequently is how to answer the “What makes you unique” interview question. I wanted to make sure to include this in a blog so all of you can better prepare for upcoming interviews. To make this question feel a little more familiar, they are basically asking what makes you different than everyone else. What do you bring to the table that the next candidate doesn’t? What do you bring to the table that your friend doesn’t? The answer to this question should incorporate two or three of the bullet points below. You should be able to answer this question in 1-2 minutes:

• Your Previous Experience. This is an opportunity to briefly speak of any previous internships you’ve had and explain how you will bring the skills you learned at those internships into this position.

• Your Campus Involvement. If you hold a leadership position on campus, this is an opportunity to speak to that and how that experience has helped you become a leader and prepared you for an office-like environment. This is a great opportunity to speak of greek life or on-campus affiliations.

• Specific Skills. One of our interns from this semester mentioned that she was really interested in analytics during the interview phase. She also told us she had experience at a previous internship with analytics. This was helpful to us as we wanted to find someone who was not only strong in this area but also wanted to learn more about analytics.

• Knowledge of Brand. Something that made one of our current interns unique was that she told us how much she knew about our brand, how connected she was to it, and how she was specifically interested in learning about the campus ambassador part of our business. As an employer, you want to hire someone who connects with what you are building as you assume they will lead with passion and do better work because of it. Show the employer your knowledge of their brand and how you feel tied to it.

• Personality. When I ask students what makes them unique I want to learn something about their personality that I wouldn’t know as the interviewer right off the bat. Are they extremely thoughtful or enthusiastic? Are they a go-getter? Are they passionate about this position because of a previous personal experience? Are they able to connect with people instantly regardless of who they are?

• Outside Experiences. Have you studied abroad or traveled the world? Did you go to a leadership convention or major conference? Are your parents entrepreneurs? What outside experiences shape who you are? What have you done that no one else has done? This is an opportunity to quickly summarize those experiences and tie them into the person that makes you today. For example, “After studying abroad in London last year, I became extremely confident talking to anyone about anything, a better communicator, and have a more worldly perspective about everything. I also have a more genuine appreciation for travel and am really passionate that everyone should study abroad if they have the opportunity.

For more interview prep and advice, please read my internship book: All Work, No Pay.