Many job applicants prepare phenomenal resumes but fail to secure a physical interview. Often times, this is because of improper phone etiquette, poor voice presentation, and bad voicemails.
Here are five things to remember before leaving your next voicemail if you want to make a good impression and increase your chances of getting an in-person interview...
1. Never Underestimate The Power Of The Phone
In our digital age, the majority of communication with friends and family happens via text or other direct messages. Making a phone call seems like a cumbersome, slow, and inconvenient form of communication. However, people over the age of 35 are much more comfortable using the phone and they will commonly use it as a screening tool for applicants. But no matter the age of the hiring manager, most employers will schedule a phone interview with you before bringing you in for an in-person interview.
Phone interview skills are essential across all employment levels. High-powered consultants as well as café workers will all usually face a phone interview and need to use voicemail sometime during the interview process. This is your first contact with a potential employer and it is critical to make a fabulous impression.
2. Record And Listen To Your Own Voice
Leaving an excellent voicemail begins by nurturing a good speaking voice. Speak slowly, clearly, and correctly. Use Dragon software or even the simple record feature on your phone to cultivate a good phone voice. This takes practice.
Prepare five outgoing messages in quick succession. On the first, use your normal speaking voice and your usual outgoing message. On the second, follow this text: “This is (your name). Press # to skip the rest of this message. I am currently unavailable. I check and answer voicemails after breakfast, lunch, and at 3:30pm. Please leave a detailed message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.” (Vary the content of the message to your own personal schedule but provide the listener with details about when you will be checking messages and calling them back.)
On the third outgoing message, purposely lower the tenor of your voice and speak again. On the forth outgoing message, consciously speak a little slower and remove "ums," "uhs," and any other common speech fillers. On the fifth message, make your voice slower, lower, and speak clearly.
Wait at least four hours and then listen to all the renditions of your outgoing message. Then, record a final outgoing message using what you have learned by listening to your own voice. Listen to this sixth message the next day and if you are happy with the results keep it as your outgoing message.
3. Good Voicemails Begin With Details
When leaving a voicemail, always leave your full name and the job title of the position you are calling about at the beginning of the message. Then, leave the reason you are calling and your call back number including the area code. Repeat the call back number and your name at the end of the voicemail.
4. Help The Hiring Manager Out
Leave enough information in the body of your voicemail so that the listener can quickly separate you from the rest of the applicants. This can be as simple as, “This is John Jones, I submitted my resume two weeks ago on April 15th. I am returning your call dated May 10th requesting a personal interview.” Something more informal can also work.
The idea here is two-fold: make an impression and help the person on the other end quickly identify who you are and your reason for calling.
5. Leave Enough Information To Entice The Hiring Manager
Leaving too little information is a common mistake. In a voicemail, there is room for at least one sentence after all the details to really leave an impression. Do not drone on! The idea here is to leave something for the hiring manager that shows you are as interesting as you are interested. Something like:
“This is John Smith, I am calling about the job that you had listed to work in the herpetology lab at the Natural History Museum. I sent you my resume last week. My call back number is (913) 244-8022, if your department can handle another crazy guy with an excellent Godzilla movie collection; I’m your man. Again, my name is John Smith and my number is (913) 244-8022.”
Craft your lines carefully and appropriately. Herpetologists are scientists who study reptiles and amphibians and they notoriously love Godzilla movies. The comment above reflects research as well as the personality of the applicant.
The next time you need to leave a voicemail in your job search, remember these five tips. With a well-executed voicemail, you'll make a good first impression and increase your chances of landing an in-person interview. Practice makes perfect!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.