8 Phone Etiquette Tips for Job Seekers

Are you prepared to hear from a potential employer?

You have spent weeks perfecting the resume process. You considered format, font, words, and skills to create a word image of the talents you can bring to an organization. Now, you are actively sending your resume to potential employers, attending job fairs, and networking on LinkedIn and in person.

Are you as equally prepared for the phone calls this effort will generate?

Employers have a unique talent for calling when you are in the shower, grocery shopping, or when your sick child is screaming in the background. You don’t want to miss the call. Do you answer? Is your voicemail full? Is your voice message professional? Are you stressed and/or distracted? Are you driving? Do you have good cell reception? These are important questions to consider before answering a call that may lead to your perfect job.

  1. DO NOT ANSWER! – If you are feeling overwhelmed, have a lot of background noise, limited connectivity, or might be disturbed, let the call go to voicemail.

  2. PROFESSIONAL GREETING – In the age of texting, voicemail can be seen as a nuisance and often times it goes “unread”. When you decide you want to start looking for a new position, be sure to pay extra attention to your voicemail and do the following:

    • Change your voicemail to a professional greeting

    • Use the name that you used on the Resume/Application

    • Ask for them to leave a name, number, and message including best time to call back

    • PLEASE make sure your Voicemail is not full and check this regularly

  3. DRESS THE PART – Your mind is clearer and will be more professional when you have showered and dressed for the day.

  4. QUIET SPACE – Find a quiet space and open the saved Job Announcement and resume you used to apply. Read them and then return the call.

  5. BE PREPARED – Have the first and last name of the person that contacted you written down. Know the department and/or extension.

  6. LEAVE A PROFESSIONAL MESSAGE - Name, contact number (SLOWLY, they are writing it down), the title of the position they mentioned when they called and thank them for reaching out.

  7. CHECK YOUR EMAIL – Sometimes when a potential employer calls and leaves a message, they may also follow up with an email. Check your email regularly, including spam.

  8. ·REPLY TO EMAILS – Check grammar and spelling before sending a response. Reference the announcement and your resume. Send message from the email address that you used on your resume.

Each opportunity to interact with a potential employer is a chance to put your best foot forward. Your efforts to show the soft skills of being prepared, confident (not intimidating), and motivated will set you up for success. These small and important changes can be the edge you need to outshine the competition.


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Recommendations by: Jaymie Testman, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Veteran Career & Transition Virtual Counselor, jtestman@ssv.org