Phone Etiquette - Getting Through

Don't let your voicemail greeting sabotage your chance of getting an interview. Use our telephone etiquette advice to fool-proof this portion of your job search.

Your Outbound Voicemail Message

If you currently have an answering machine or voice mail, now is the time to update your "unusual" or "unique" greeting. Ask yourself what your future employer will think of your message and how that message represents you.

  • Make sure your message is polite, direct, and businesslike.
  • Make sure your message can be understood clearly. EXAMPLE: Hello, this is (phone number). I am sorry I am not available to take your call right now. Please leave your name, telephone number, a brief message, and the best time to reach you. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Avoid making crude comments or referencing social items in your message (i.e. I'm unable to answer my phone because I'm out partying).
  • Avoid using multiple people to record the message.
  • Avoid playing music in the background.
Leaving a Voicemail Message with Someone

To leave a message for someone to return your telephone call, try to have the correct pronunciation of their name and make sure you state the following clearly:

  • Your name
  • Your telephone number
  • Your message
  • The best time to reach you
  • Your name again
  • Your telephone number again
  • Then hang up gently.

Some additional notes about using the phone in your search:

  • Keep paper and pen by the telephone, as well as your resume, references, work history, questions.
  • Make sure the other people in your household are prepared to take messages for you.
  • Return telephone calls promptly.
  • Under no circumstances should you put an employer on hold to answer call waiting.