AnnaMarie Houlis
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It's hard enough to talk about yourself, let alone answer "tell us what makes you unique" in 150 characters or fewer. Sure, maybe you know exactly what makes you unique, but getting that across in so few words can be incredibly difficult.

For others, the job interview question "what makes you unique?" can stop them in their tracks. They know they have the skills that qualify them for the job. They know they'd be motivated to perform well in the job. But they don't know what exactly sets them apart from the other qualified candidates who'd probably perform well, too.

Why Do Employers Ask What Makes You Unique?

Employers ask what makes you unique for a number of reasons. They want to know that, beyond your skills that'll get the job done, you'll be able to bring something new to the table and that you'll fit into the company culture. Sure you can do the job, but can you do the job in a way that inspires those around you or that brings new skills to the table to share with others?  Will you get along with your teammates and be able to challenge and uplift them?

Employers want to know that you're not only a good candidate for the job, but that you're an ideal candidate for the job.

How Common Is it for Employers to Ask You What Makes You Unique?

It's super common for employers to ask you what makes you unique. In fact, most employers will ask you this question, unless they already personally know you through a mutual connection. Even then, they still might ask you what makes you unique to make sure that you're a fit for the company.

Why Do Employers Put a Limit on Your Answer to What Makes You Unique?

Employers put a limit on your answer to what makes you unique because they don't want to read through a ton of personal essays. All in all, they just want to know that you can bring something new to the table without having to dig for what that is inside a novel of an answer.

Also, you should be able to quickly answer the question to prove that you can communicate efficiently and effectively. If it takes you a while to explain what's so unique about you, perhaps that's not so unique about you after all.

How Do You Answer the Question of What Makes You Unique in 150 Characters or Less?

Answering any question in 150 characters or less can be challenging. But there are certainly ways to do it. Here are some tips.

  • Keep your language simple.
  • Use conjunctions where you can to minimize taking up characters with spaces and unnecessary letters.
  • Answer the question directly, without rephrasing the question (the employer already knows what they've asked of you).
  • Use resources for checking your character count like websites such as WordCounter.net and WordCountTools.com. Microsoft Word also lets you check your character count (both with and without spaces) by highlighting your content and selecting Tools and then Word Count.
  • Be clear and concise.

What Are Some Examples of Answers?

Your answer to what makes you unique should be based on the job for which you're applying. Do your research and know what kinds of skills the job requires, or what kinds of experience the company could use that you have. Then tailor your answer to suggest a uniqueness about you that's beneficial to the company and fitting for the role.

In other words, explaining that you're unique because you can lick the tip of your nose or wiggle your ears isn't going to get you the job. But explaining that you're unique because you worked on a cruise ship for ten years and picked up five languages fluently might very well get you a job in an international role.

Here are some sample answers to "tell us what makes you unique" in 150 characters or fewer.

Example 1: Unique Background

This is what you might want to say:

"Because I come from an editorial background, I have a unique perspective that will allow me to come up with creative and organic campaign ideas for the brand that editors will want to publish and that will fit seamlessly with their outlets' voices. For example, when I was working as an editor, I partnered with brands all the time to tailor their sponsored content for our audience, and those articles become top performers. [Offer evidence with numbers, dollars or percentages, etc.]. That's why I'm an ideal candidate for you're opening in advertisement operations."

This is how to say it in 150 characters:

"I can come up with creative campaigns that editors will want to publish. I've collaborated with brands on sponsored content that performed optimally."

Example 2: Unique Skills

This is what you might want to say:

"I have exceptional organizational and time-management skills, so I adhere to deadlines and make sure that my team is always keeping productive and working efficiently. In my last job, I came up with a new system for task assignments that streamlined our productivity and actually improved it by 30 percent."

This is how to say it in 150 characters:

"I have excellent organizational and time-management skills. In my last job, I created a system to assign tasks. It improved productivity by 30%."

Example 3: Unique Education

This is what you might want to say:

"My educational background is quite unique since I have a dual degree in both finance and history. I've excelled in classes on international macroeconomics and the history of our own economy. This means that on top of my experience in crunching numbers, I have a deeper understanding of how the economy has changed over the years and how history has repeated itself with regards to the finance world so I can make informed predictions and educated financial decisions."

This is how to say it in 150 characters:

"My dual degree in finance and history means I have a deep understanding of the economy's history. I can make more informed financial decisions."

How Do You Cut Down Characters if You Have Too Many?

If you have too many characters, there are some tips to cutting down your character count.

  • Look for words you can combine with a conjunction.
  • Turn passive voice into active voice.
  • Eliminate hedging words like "possibly" or "may."
  • Ditch any unnecessary adjectives or adverbs.
  • Switch out phrases for shorter phrases or words that mean the same thing.

More on Applying for Jobs

Looking for more resources on applying for jobs? Check out these posts on Fairygodboss to get you started.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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