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EP 1691 Kevin Kermes lays out an excellent way to explain what makes you different that will help you stand out.

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I was listening to a podcast this morning, “ Find Your Dream Job” with Mac Prichard and he was interviewing Kevin Kermes. Kevin was talking about ageism and how to interview and how to avoid that. But he gave a nugget in there that I think works very well with my other videos. It's the answer to “tell me about yourself: the advanced answer.” Watch it on YouTube. I'm going to summarize it here, but I think it's worth seeing the original.

Most of you know that the traditional “tell me about yourself answer” comes down to “Well, I've been in the field now for X number of years. For the last few years, I've been working with so and so where we been responsible for this or that and this and that. Before that, I was working for so and so, where I did this and that.” You try to tailor your answer to what matters to the employer. You cannot just talk about what you’ve done; start talk about what you've done that matters to them. It ties in very nicely with what I call the best question to ask on any interview.

Then, you might go into the advanced answer which continues that by saying, “but I'm sure you hear that kind of answer pretty frequently. But what makes me different is . . “ and then you talk about what makes you different.

Here’s the fun part and I never really talked about an example of how to formulate the what makes me different. Kevin kind of time that in pretty nicely with what he calls an XYZ statement. It kind of sounds like an elevator pitch, but you don't really do it in the obnoxious way of vomiting all over someone that I associate with most elevator pitches.

You try to keep it very simple and very concise. “So, what makes me different is I help,” and then you talk about managers or businesses or an audience. So, it could be a business unit period, “ I helped my organizations do or understand,” then talk about what the problem is and, from there, you go, “ so that in . . . “ The Z is you talk about the outcomes of this.

So, the 1st part is you’re talking about (this is the ask) “the I help statement.”,

“I help managers, businesses, whoever the audience is do or understand . . . Then you talk about the problem . . . Then you talk about the outcome. So, I am a career coach period I might say I help job hunters perform at a much higher level because I find that they don't really execute well on interviews so they can . . . I just did it is XZY statement! LOL! I am doing this off the cuff.

I help job hunters understand how to improve their interview performance so they get hired much more easily.

That's an example of an XYZ statement that relates to me. What can it be for you?

So, when you get to that section of the interview, think in terms of who it is that you help, the problem that you solve and what the outcome is. That’s the X, Y, and Z of Kevin's statement. I think you'll find it much easier it to use the advanced answer for “Tell me about yourself.”


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1600 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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