For job seekers, every communication counts. Recruiters and hiring managers are measuring you every time you interact and small details matter. Today, some tips on making each communication shine.
Professional Email Address
Drop the cute nicknames, and get rid of numbers indicating year of birth or graduation. Your email address should clearly identify you so it’s easy for others to know they are reaching you. First and last names or first initial and last name are the most professional. If there is anything odd about your email address such as a strange domain name, open a new professional account.
Have an email signature that is professional and makes it very easy to reach you. Include phone numbers. Do not duplicate in your text what your email signature automatically inserts for you. Your text may end with a warm sign off such as “Sincerely,” followed by your email signature “Susan Lee, Marketing Professional, 555-234-5678 (office), 555-987-6543 (cell)”.
If you email via cell phone, remove all automatic “sent from my phone” or “sent via” tags inserted by your phone or service providers. These tags don’t add to your message, and some may read them and think you didn’t bother to take the time to sit at a computer and craft your message. In fact, be very careful about sending email from a phone. We tend to get sloppy when emailing from a phone and the result may not be professional.
Voice Mail Message
Your voice mail message should be clear and professional. This should be true for any number you give out in your job search including your home phone. Skip the cute song, you child’s voice or other personal touches. Include your name in the message so hiring managers and recruiters are sure they have reached the right party. For both home and cell phone, the message may simply say “You’ve reached Joe Jones. I’m sorry I can’t take your call. Please leave a detailed message and I will return your call as soon as possible.”
Answering the Phone
If you give out your home phone number, be sure anyone answering that phone is prepared to handle the call professionally. This includes speaking clearly, taking a message and passing that message along. For families, this is often too difficult, so many find it easiest for the job seeker to give out only a cell number or even to create a separate line just for the job search. Whatever you decide, do not lose a job lead by letting a child answer the phone and fail to pass the message along.
One more quick tip: If you give out your cell phone number, never answer your cell phone if you are not in a place where you will sound clear and professional talking to a recruiter. Answer every call expecting it may be a recruiter who wants to interview you on the spot. Are you in the right location and prepared? If not let the call go to voice mail and return the call as soon as you are ready to talk.