“Why should I hire you? What makes you different?”
Skills alone won’t help you stand out. You need a "unique selling proposition," or USP, to stand out.
A good USP is a simple statement you can drop in just a few seconds. It separates you from the pack, it provides a unique reason to hire you, and it sticks in the manager’s mind long after your interview is over.
It can be something as simple as,
"I'm a waiter. My knack is turning difficult customers into warm, smiling customers who come back again and again—and ask to be seated in my section."
Here's what's cool.
Your quick, five-second USP will stir the hiring manager's curiosity and trigger a conversation that lets you tell your story. Stories make you memorable. And, all you need is an example of when you did a little more than what was expected.
So what makes you different?
1. Do you have an extra skill, ability, or knowledge, that would interest the employer?
"I'm a customer service associate with 5 years experience in retail. I also have training as a bill collector. I’d be happy to make collection calls when needed.”
2. Can you help the employer bring in more money?
"I'm a mason. I have a talent for recommending add-on features during construction which can bring in an extra six percent on residential projects."
3. Can you help the employer solve a special problem?
"I was a computer systems analyst in the Navy. Can I offer a few suggestions to help secure your critical database?"
4. Do you have a special accomplishment or achievement?
"In my journalism class, I wrote a blog article titled, 'Why People Throw Trash Out Their Windows While Driving.' The article was picked up and published by the local press."
5. Did you have a unique role on a project or assignment?
"I sold running shoes in a sporting goods store. One day I asked a friend, who is also a podiatrist, for some tips on how to t runners for running shoes. I shared those tips with my manager. Now we give every runner a five-point foot evaluation and we’ve built a reputation as the store for serious runners."
So, what makes you different?