Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Job Search Phone Etiquette

Job Search Phone Etiquette

There are a number of things you should remember when you decide to seek new employment.  Now is a good time to cover Job Search Phone Etiquette. I'm going to omit conversation about phone interviews here, we will cover that in a future blog. Let's stick to the process between creating your coverletter & resume and obtaining that initial interview.

Here we go...It is very important to list a phone number on your resume or in your profile on linkedin & on the job boards**. Email communication often goes to spam. You may miss a great opportunity simply because you didn't make yourself accessible enough. When deciding on what phone number to use, I would suggest always using a cell number if you own a cell phone. If you are concerned about receiving too many messages on your personal cell phone, you might consider purchasing an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone. That will provide you with a secure phone to use until you've found a new position. Then the phone can be disconnected and donated to charity.

When using a cell phone during a job search think about what your ring-back tone says about you. If you're seeking a professional position and your ring-back tone is: "I Got 99 Problems & the Bitch Ain't One" by JayZ, its likely you wont be receiving any messages.
Same goes for your voice mail message, it may say something your friends will find amusing, but not a potential employer. Keep your ring-back tones light & keep your voice mail box message short & professional. (Ex: You've reached the voice mail box of John Smith, I'm sorry I missed your call, please leave a message with your phone number and I'll return your call as soon as possible)
I dont recommend using the automated response that says "you've reached (your phone number) leave a message at the tone". The Recruiter has no idea if they've reached the right person or not.

If you are in a place where you cannot answer your phone to discuss potential employment, turn your phone off so it will go directly to voice mail. It's very frustrating to the caller to have someone pick up and immediately hang up because their phone started ringing at an inappropriate time. That person will likely not call you back. If you do not own a cell phone and must resort to using a home phone, change your message to something simple like the one mentioned above. Always alert all family members that the number is on your resume and you are expecting important calls. Advise them to answer the phone professionally and supply pen and paper in a convenient spot so they can take down any necessary information if you are not at home to take the call. If there are children under the age of 10 in the home, they probably should not answer the phone during your job search. Too often I've had young children pick up that are incapable of taking a message. Even teenagers can be a road- block to your new career.

Recently I had the following conversation when dialing a home phone number: 
Teenager: "Yeah?!"   Me: "Hi is So & So home"? Teenager: "She can't come to the phone"
Me: "This is Cherie Lester from (name of my company)" "Could I leave her a message about a job"?Teenager: "Your number came up on caller ID, I'll tell her to call it"CLICK

Obviously this kid wasn't schooled as to the importance of phone etiquette while her Mom is searching for a new career, either that or she had Robert Patterson on the other line. (See Twilight)
You could also consider putting times of availability on your resume & profiles so Recruiters know when to reach out to you and you know when to expect their calls.

With numerous candidates on the market, its imperative to make sure the first impression you leave with a potential employer is a positive one. Often this first impression is your voice mail message, ring back tone or a family member taking a message for you. Keep the suggestions above in mind and it will be smooth sailing!

**In some instances omitting a telephone number from your resume is acceptable.  In the HCIT industry there are a few areas of expertise that have a limited candidate pool.  If you are an expert in one of these areas you may be flooded with calls from recruiters.  In that case, create a specific email address to receive inquires on your resume... rule of thumb is some combination of your first name/last name at gmail/ymail or yahoo.  This will eliminate having to potentially change your phone number.

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