Education Career Services

November 12, 2009

Don’t Let Your “Hello” be an Employer’s “Goodbye!”

Submitted by Kimberly Sarmiento

Would I use the phrase “detail-orientated” to describe my clients when I write their resumes?

Is it still important to pay careful attention to detail in your career search?

A vital, yet often overlooked, aspect of a career search is the recorded greeting a potential employer receives when he or she phones for an interview and you are unable to answer.  Good news is, your cover letter captured his interest.  Your resume made him want to learn more about you.  Then he hears……

“Hey there! (pause) What was that? (pause) Hello? (pause) Got ya! Leave me a message and I’ll call you back.”

Do you think that employer is going to bother with the message? 
Probably not.

Humor in a recorded greeting is great for your friends and family.  It is not advisable in your career search. 

Neither are the following approaches:

“This is Amy and Ben, Mommy and Daddy can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave them a message they will call you back.”

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. How I wonder what you are…..Leave us a message!”

“Hi there! (sounds of dog barking) This is Spot and John.  Leave me a message and one of us will call you back. (more dog barking….).”

Trust me on this readers, even though your recorded voice messages are adorable, a hiring authority does not want to hear your children or pets when they call to speak to YOU!

Ok, so you follow my advice and create a recording that portrays your professionalism.  Does it sound something like, “Hello.  You have reached 123-555-9382.  Please leave a message at the beep and I will return your call as soon as possible.”?  You think that’s good right?  Well close, but no cigar.  Not yet.

See that example is missing one vital piece of the puzzle that was also lacking in all the previous examples.  None of these messages clearly identify the owner of the phone.  In a highly competitive job market, where the difference between getting hired and being overlooked is all about the details – don’t let your potential employer question if she has the right number!  Don’t give her any reason to hang that phone up without leaving you a message.

Ergo, state your name in your recording.  And preferably, not just your first name.  And most importantly, use the name your put on your resume.  In other words, if your name is Jonathan Daniel Webb and you go by Dan, please do not identify yourself as John D. Webb in your contact information then say, “Hi, this is Dan…” in your message.  There is a chance the hiring authority might still leave a message.  But there is also a chance they will go on to the next resume.

Putting all of this information together, let’s see what a good voice recording would include:

“Hello, this is Jane Smith.  I’m sorry I missed you, but will return your call shortly if you leave your name and number.  Have a great day.”

One final point: Check your messages often and return calls promptly!

Thank you Kimberly for this submission.  No doubt many potential interviews have been averted due to an improper voice message.  Sure your insight will be of great help!
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110


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