Use Your Phone Like a Professional

Phone Etiquette

Consider for a moment how your phone is currently being answered. Professional courtesy is quite often not the standard for many college students. An abrupt "Yeah!" could be listed among the more courteous greetings. The more outrageous remarks will often buy you a major black mark in the professionalism category—even if it was your roommate answering your phone and acting crazy. A simple "This is ____" is always a pleasant change for a college student call. Make the change today, before the next (or first) employer phone call. If you have a landline, you should also encourage your roommate to do the same.

Proper Use of Voicemail

An integral part of Job Search Central is the effective use of voicemail to take your calls when you are not available. Imagine your future boss being greeted by your voicemail greeting and then answer this question: will it enhance or detract from what they think of you? If it is the latter, change it. Otherwise, your future boss may end up being someone else's future boss.

I realize I should not even have to address this subject, but woefully, over 25 percent of the college voicemails I reach have an inappropriate outgoing message. They often are references to social habits ("I'm unable to answer my phone because I'm either out partying or passed out on my bed"), references to study habits ("I'm blowing off my normal classes to pursue advanced studies in chemical inebriation"), or even sexist remarks ("guys leave your phone number, girls leave your measurements"). And there are many others, some not suitable to print. I have heard them all. Take note—when I hear one of these sophomoric messages, that is likely the end of your candidacy with our company. You will never even know that I called. I will probably just hang up and cross you off my list. Think about it the next time you have a missed call from someone who didn't leave a message. That could have been your dream job gone bye-bye. Don't miss out on job opportunities because of a stupid message. Stop reading right now and change your outgoing message to the following:

Hello. This is (name). I'm not available to take your call right now. Please leave your name, phone number, and the best time to reach you. I will get back to you as soon as possible.