Invest 30 Seconds to Polish Your Professional Image: Change your Voicemail Message!

by | Last updated Apr 7, 2020 | career advice, Career Management, Distance Interviews, Interview and Job Search Skills, Job Search, Phone Interviews

As someone who coaches job seekers on effective phone interviews, I’m incredulous when I get a voicemail “greeting” from a slow robotic voice that goes something like this:

The caller you have reached (long pause) 333-333-3333 (long pause) is not available. Please leave a message at the tone.”

A missed opportunity

Resorting to your impersonal default voicemail message is a missed chance to make or maintain a positive, polished impression with your caller. By recording a professional, succinct message, you’re introducing yourself in a clear, strong way that will make recruiters and hiring managers happy they’ve called you.

So, what are the components of a good greeting?

First, make sure you’re in a quiet place indoors, so your voice—not the sirens or barking dogs in the background—is front and center. Using a friendly tone:

Say your full name

First and last is best, especially if you have a common name. At a minimum, include your first name.

Include your area of expertise

Use a general title for yourself, such as “IT director” or “human resources specialist.” This helps reinforce your personal brand as you’re job hunting.

Say your complete phone number

Reinforce your phone number with the area code to let your caller know they’ve reached the right person.

Close with an action and sign-off

“I’ll call you back right away,” is sufficient. If your expertise is in a field such as sales or customer service, replace “right away” with a specific time of day or timeframe to further demonstrate your responsiveness and quick turnaround.

Consider adding a personal touch

Leave your caller feeling positive about their contact with you. If it’s your style, add “Have a great day” or “I look forward to talking with you.”

Update your message for special circumstances

Although job seekers should make a routine of checking voicemail, update your message if you’ll be on vacation, out of range, or otherwise responding to messages more infrequently.

Here are two examples:

“You’ve reached Noah Stephenson, sales management professional, at 555-555-5555. Please leave a message, and I’ll return your call within the business day. Thanks for calling.”

“Hello, this is Jennifer Greene, software development director at 222-222-2222. Please leave a message and I’ll call you back. Have a great day!”

Finally, make a habit out of purging your voicemail messages, so callers aren’t left with a full mailbox “greeting.” More frustrating than an automated voicemail is the inability to leave a message at all.

A quick message upgrade can help your callers feel confident they’ve reached the right person and that they’re dealing with a professional, approachable human!

Do you have a professional voicemail message?

dalena bradley job interview coach career coach

I’m Dalena Bradley, job interview coach and career marketer dedicated to helping you communicate your value, stand out from the competition, and win the job!

Contact me to discuss how we can collaborate.

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