As a career professional, I am always on the phone with clients for consultations, information gathering sessions, and follow-ups. To this day, it amazes me how few people actually know how to behave themselves on the phone. While things are slowly but surely picking up in terms of available jobs, employers are still pickier than ever and they will discount a candidate for the little things including your demeanor over the telephone.
The following six tips serve to remind you of how important it is to be courteous and warm on the phone, but also give you some other considerations that you may have lost along the way.
6. No Desperation…if you’ve been out of work for a while and your phone finally rings, don’t get so excited that the prospective employer is taken aback just by your sheer enthusiasm. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to be excited, but too much excitement can scare anyone away.
5. No Uncontrollable Environments…I know I’ve said it before, but if you are out in public and you cannot control the noise level around you, it may be good practice to let unknown numbers go to your voicemail. You can always call them back, but don’t ruin your first impression by asking them to repeat everything they’ve said because you can’t hear them over the blaring PA announcement or screaming kids at Wal-Mart.
4. Voicemail / Ring Tones…speaking of voicemails, consider leaving a personal greeting so that employment calls can verify that they’ve reached the right person and so they can know you are articulate and can communicate clearly (A MUST for most job opportunities). Also, if you have a custom ring tone, make sure it’s not offensive or contain vulgar language. If so, you can change it temporarily until you’ve found the position you were looking for. Lastly, it’s so irritating when the voicemail has not been set up or the mailbox is full. Check your messages often so you don’t run into these issue and stunt your job search progress.
3. If you just rolled Out of Bed…it’s ok to give yourself a minute to refresh and perk up before answering potentially life changing phone calls. To me there are few things worse than the scratchy, dragging sound of someone who obviously just woke up (when it comes to employment). If you receive that unknown phone call, go ahead and wash your face and get showered and revived before returning the call. Now you will be on top of your game!
2. Pick One, Any One…If you know you’re never home, why bother leaving your home number? If you know you can’t answer your cell or if you regularly receive calls from unknown numbers (that you need to answer), then don’t include your cell phone number on your resume. The moral of the story is, if you can’t pick a phone number for your resume, how can any employer choose which one to call? Make it easy on them.
1. Smile, it’s OK…Even though they can’t see you, the person on the other end knows when you’re smiling. They can feel it! I know that sounds weird but it’s true, try it with someone you know and ask if they can tell the difference. Smiling projects friendliness and a good attitude, which are pre-requisites for most professional opportunities.
Think about how you’d feel if you contacted a business and they committed one of these offenses. To me, I would much rather leave a message, than to endure a conversation with someone who was not in a position to have one. Keep this in mind as you conduct your job search, it’s the little things that help to accelerate the 2013 job search. Questions? Let me know (leave it in the comments). See you next week!
COMING SOON! My new e-book, “Your Resume is Not Enough: How to Network Your Way Up the Corporate Ladder,” is coming in March 12, 2013. Limited print versions will be available for pre-order in February. For inquiries, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.