If you’ve been on the job hunt at any point during the last few years, then you realize and appreciate how much effort goes into polishing off a resume, creating or fine-tuning a cover letter, and enhancing a portfolio. But you also want to make sure you’re covering all the bases to make the best impression on your potential employers. To ensure a great first impression, it is important to tweak a little something that hiring managers often hear upon first reaching out to a potential hire: your voicemail greeting.
That’s right. Gone are the days when we would obsess over ringback tones to give us a professional and fun flare – and perhaps a talking point – with head hunters and department heads. Though we have searched the recesses of the internet to find professional methods of communication via professional voicemail messages, we haven’t seen many people emphasize the importance of a voicemail greeting on your own contact number.
Think about it: when a hiring manager is impressed with you, they are encouraged to reach out quickly and try to take advantage of your talent. Many times, they will call a listed contact number early on in the interview process, and you want to ensure that – whether you make it to the phone or not – they are given as pristine a first impression of you as possible. Whether you forgot to save a personal recording previously or haven’t changed it in years, not every hiring manager and professional recruiter is going to be pleased with an unprofessional voicemail greeting. So sit back, brush up on your phone interview skills, and make sure to update your inbox greeting with the following tips for success.
Ensure your inbox is set to receive messages
First thing’s first. Your professional contacts can’t leave a message if your voicemail system isn’t correctly set up or your mailbox is full. Make sure that your phone is set up to receive messages by adjusting your personal settings and creating your ideal recording as soon as you can. And – especially if you’ve historically been a little irresponsible with your inbox – make sure to check what might be hanging around in there so that the cloud has space to record pertinent messages to your job search. There isn’t much that is more annoying than making an important phone call only to find that their mailbox is full.
Adhere to a professional tone
Annunciating your words so that they are clearly communicated and keeping a professional demeanor while recording is two of the most important factors to begin with. If you sound too casual, it can reflect poorly on you. If you let a default, pre-recorded voice do the talking for you, there is hardly any impression to be left. Additionally, if you have recorded your message in a loud area, on a windy day, or with any other number of distractions happening around you, it might give off the impression that you are a bit more distracted than the talent they would like to pursue.
Clearly identify important information
The second order of business in crafting the perfect voicemail message is to make sure that you clearly state your name. This helps people who have misdialed, as well as ensures hiring managers that they have reached the correct line. State your first and last name and your career label or job title to reinforce the confidence you have in your career path. Consider it a form of word association that could allow you to ace a first-round interview with a stellar new company.
Provide backup or emergency contact details
As much as I hate to acknowledge, technology isn’t always reliable. If you have a backup or emergency contact situation, make sure to keep that at top of mind so that people have an alternate way of reaching you. Many professionals include their email address or a backup phone number just in case those calling need to reach them at odd hours or their line isn’t working.
At the end of the day, when you’re on a job hunt you’ll really want to answer your phone as often as you can so as to not miss any ideal opportunities that may come your way. But for those moments when you can’t make it to the phone, making sure your voicemail greeting is optimized will work wonders for your professional outreach and communication.