Phones–Voice Mail Anyone?

While some companies and many people are doing their best to eliminate or ignore inbound calls, voice mail still plays an important role in the job search process. And although most of us have gotten proficient with using phone apps and sending and receiving texts, many people overlook the importance of good messages.

First, some basic tips for leaving a voice message to improve the chances of a receiving a returned call.

  • Speak clearly. Enunciate each syllable. Talk at a normal rate of speed.
  • Tone matters. Make sure your tone is professional, but use voice energy to show a little enthusiasm.
  • Prepare. Write your message to leave for recruiters and practice just like you are giving a speech. This is like a drill. You should memorize your message, and be able to say it at any time, no matter how distracted.

Second, remember content is key! Prepare your message and keep tweaking until it sounds natural, is easy to understand, and gives a reason for the person to return your call. Here are some guidelines to prepare your job seeker’s message.

  • Put the good stuff up-front. Try to get the person interested in who you are before the listener hits the delete key.
  • Keep the message short. You only have time for a few seconds to get the person interested.
  • Repeat your name and phone number at the end.
  • Example. “Hello, Beth (name of person you are calling). This is John Smith, the number two sales person at ABC Company for five years. I’m following up regarding the resume you should have received last Tuesday (or regarding my on-line application from last Tuesday). You can reach me at 888-888-8888. Again this is John Smith at 888-888-8888. Looking forward to hearing from you.”

And I know many of you are going to roll your eyes, or better yet, think the following advice is obvious. However, I run into all of these issues every week.

  • Set up your voice mail. Seriously! Don’t use the voice message that comes with your phone. If you don’t want to give your full name, then give your first name. Let the caller know they’ve reached their intended party.
  • Keep your message short. For example, “You’ve reached Amanda’s voice mail. Please leave your name, number and the purpose for your call at the tone.”
  • Don’t let your voice mail box get full. Not only is this annoying to the caller, but it also sends a message that you are apathetic or are not into details.
  • Check your voice mail twice a day. While you and your friends communicate in more expeditious ways, prospective employers may reach out to you via phone. Demonstrate that you are responsive.

Job searches are worse than new jobs! Be patient. Stay diligent. Remain calm. Happy Hunting.