First impressions matter. This is especially true when on the job market. What you convey on your resume may be great, and it is the first step to getting a potential employer to call you. However, if you do receive the call, it is critical you immediately follow through on what your resume promises with a professional demeanor. What occurs during that phone conversation could make or break your chances for an interview and a job.
With the prevalence of cell phones, you could be doing anything while waiting for a call. One thing you definitely don’t want is to be asleep. If a potential employer calls you midday, and you sound like you just rolled over from a deep sleep, the chances of you being shortlisted for a position just went down considerably. Practice your “I’m awake” voice. Be alert, and make sure you aren’t slurring your words or mumbling. To achieve this, be mindful of your voice and picture the person you’re speaking with. Look at your phone before you answer. Stand up and take a deep breath before answering. If necessary, let the caller leave a voicemail, and call them back once you have composed yourself.
Again, the danger of a cell phone is that you could be doing anything when you get a phone call from a potential employer. If you are driving or in a particularly noisy situation, it is best to let the call go to voicemail. Multitasking and background noise can distract you, as well as the caller.
Additionally, part of being aware is keeping your technology is up to date. When you begin your job search, ensure that your voicemail is set up and that it is not full. Double check that your outgoing message is professional, simple and identifies you clearly: “Hi, this is [first and last name]. Please leave a message and your number, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you so much and have a great day!” After receiving a call, listen to your messages or look for an email before you call the missed number back. Do all that you can to ensure that you are able to speak with confidence and conviction. And when returning a call ask for the person who called you by name.
It’s obvious that being rude when on the hunt for job is a bad idea. When answering the phone, you should always assume that a potential employer is calling. Make the caller feel welcome. If the caller feels like they are intruding on your time, they may also come away with the impression that you are uninterested in an interview for their position, or simply too busy. Practice your greeting, and again keep it simple: “Hello, this is [first name].” Sound like you are interested in the call immediately. You should be excited to hear from a potential employer. After all, it could be your dream job! And remember to smile! This will change the tone of your voice.
Keep in mind, if you are polite and attentive enough, you can achieved a number of goals with each call. Even if you are not a fit for the position the caller has in mind, you have practiced. You have potentially learned more about what perspective employers are looking for. Most importantly, you have made a good impression which may get your resume passed on to a position which is right for you.