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Asked by Kristen on October 18, 2017

With all of the competition and expectations in the workforce now, how does one stand out to employers above the rest? And when meeting with someone for less than 5 minutes, how do you make a lasting impression?

Answered by Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on October 19, 2017

Great question. For me, a candidate really stands out when he/she knows what it is that my company does and is at least fluent in either current events and news within the industry or news about the company specifically. It really shows me that you've done your research and care enough about this role and interview to have done some prep work ahead of time. If it's an in-person interview, I would highly recommend bringing a few extra copies of your resume with you in case there are additional interviewers present who may not have had the chance to review it ahead of time - again, it shows that you've thought ahead and have prepared. 

Finally, I would also recommend being prepared with a few real-life examples to talk about during your interview. A candidate really stands out to me when they are able to relate my questions back to experiences or situations that they've experienced in the past. Good luck! -Phil

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on November 2, 2017

First of all you need to be good at what you do and do it well. Make sure you clearly understand the goals and objectives and what you need to accomplish at work so you can meet those goals. Someone who doesn’t get work done as expected won’t stand out, at least not for the right reasons. Complete your work with passion, energy, drive and enthusiasm, follow through on the commitments you make, be present and mindful, contribute in meetings and team conversations, don’t be afraid to share ideas and ask questions, volunteer when opportunities present themselves, and don’t be afraid take risks. These are behaviors that will positively impact your personal brand, and the way others perceive you so you can stand apart from the crowd. Now be careful not overextend yourself though, you want to be known as someone who is reliable, hardworking and does quality work. If you take on too much, those things could suffer.

Another tip is to make an effort to build relationships and learn about the business you are working in. In terms of building relationships reach out to others within and outside of your team and not just when you need something from them but to check in and connect. Learn about what they do and how you can help them in the role they are in. Take the opportunity to learn about as many areas of the business that you can and constantly challenge yourself to learn new things. Whether that is internal training, networking events or external webinars or classes, people who are open to learning new things and striving to develop themselves tend to have an easier time with managing and adapting to change in the workplace. This also demonstrates your personal motivation and can set you apart from others who are not actively striving to learn. Having diverse professional relationships, a strong foundation of knowledge of your business and a willingness to learn will pay off and potentially get you noticed.
To touch on your second question when you have those quick encounters first of all always introduce yourself in a clear and enthusiastic manner, make direct eye contact and don’t forget to smile. Since you want to leave a lasting impression about yourself you want to talk about YOU!
If you have an “elevator speech” this is the perfect situation to put it to use. If you don’t doing a quick search will provide you with lots of information on how to create one. An elevator speech is a 30 second to 1 minute “commercial” about yourself that touches on who you are, what you are looking for (in a job), what you do, what you can bring to an organization or what you have accomplished. Think about an opening statement or question that will engage your listener and lead to questions. Summarize what you do or highlight a recent accomplishment you are proud of. Focus on things that you are passionate about and that passion and enthusiasm will come through when you are talking.
From there if you still have time during your conversation, ask questions that will engage your listener and get them talking. People love to talk about themselves, so after you have finished your elevator speech you can ask them about what exciting projects they are currently working on or what they are most excited about in the coming months etc. When it’s time to end the conversation, tell them it was nice to meet them and talk about X (fill in the blank with something they talked about. This will show them you were actively listening to them and leave a positive impression.

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