A telephone is a critical tool in your job search. Conducting yourself over the phone can be an art of its own. Using the phone as a job seeker requires a certain tact and finesse as the person on the other side of the phone cannot see gestures or facial expressions. Without these visual cues, some things may be lost in translation. So, it is always best to proceed with caution and follow business phone etiquette.
Even though you may not be meeting face-to-face with a potential employer, you are representing yourself. In fact, a phone call may be a potential employer’s first impression of you and can make-or-break the possibility of an in-person interview.
Here are some tips to create a favorable impression over the phone:
- Make sure you are in a quiet area – If there is too much background noise, let the person know that you will call them back in five minutes once you are in a quiet space.
- Always be courteous and respectful – If you are unsure of who is calling, ask politely “May I ask who is calling?”.
- Be confident – The initial phone call allows you to become acquainted with a potential employer. It is also your first and in some cases only chance to sell yourself! Answer questions in complete and clear sentences. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Listen – Don’t interrupt, be patient! Your responses should be direct and to the point. Do not ramble on.
- Have pen and paper – You might need to write down important information such as meeting time, location, contact name, etc.
- Keep a record/notes – Who you spoke to, when, and why is extremely helpful to know for future reference.
- End the call respectfully – Thank the person for taking the time to speak with you.
- Voice Mail – Make sure your outgoing voicemail message is basic and professional. Create a voice mail message that includes your name and when you will return. Including the correct pronunciation of your name can be extremely helpful for recruiters and other employee seekers.
Finally, remember first impressions are lasting impressions. Presenting your best self over the phone will only increase your chances of landing your dream job!