Telephone Etiquette in Your Job Search

In the course of your job search, you are likely to interact with employers by telephone and it is important to make a positive impression.  Here are some tips to ensure that you are making the most of your telephone interactions:

  • Be prepared.  Know in advance who you are calling and why.  Be candid and concise in stating the purpose of your call.  Provide enough information for the person to respond if you are leaving a voice mail.  If you are expecting follow-up calls from employers, have a list of contacts and the positions you discussed with them so you can have a meaningful conversation if they contact you.
  • If You Can’t Talk, Don’t Answer.  If you are in a crowded or noisy place, don’t answer.  Let the call go to voice mail and call the contact as soon as you are able to have a private conversation.  If you are in a meeting, with a group of people, etc. do not answer.  It is rude to the people you are with and you will not be able to give the caller your full attention.  If you recognize the number and are anxious to take the call, excuse yourself professionally and step away to have a private conversation.
  • Always Answer Professionally.  Answer your phone by saying “hello” and stating your name.  “Hello, this is …” is appropriate.  “Yo” or “Hey there” are not professional greetings.  Let the caller know they have reached you.
  • Update Your Voicemail.  Record a professional voicemail message on both your home phone and your cell phone clearly stating your name.  Employers often will not leave a message if they are not sure they have reached the appropriate person.  If you are going to be away or unable to answer your phone for a period of time, update your voicemail message to clarify your availability.  You don’t want employers wondering if you received their message.

Be Responsive.  If the employer’s call goes to your voicemail, call back as soon as possible and always within 24 hours.  It is important to call them back in a timely manner even if you are not interested in the position since you never know what else may be available down the road.  Demonstrate your best professional behavior throughout

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