Bad voice mail a bad start for new job search

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Often, it’s the little things that count.

Who hasn’t called someone, only to hear that his or her voice mailbox is full with absolutely no message on the other end?

Job candidates who forget to create a simple, professional voice mail message very well may not be getting a call back from a recruiter or potential employer. And more than likely, no message to call back either. A weak or non-existent voice mail message leaves a first impression that you’re too lazy to attend to details.

Follow these tips to make sure your message is working.

  • Skip the comedy. You’re out of college now. Any message that sounds like you’re singing in the shower or your dog is barking does not win points with hiring managers.
  • Don’t just leave your name at the beep. Go somewhere quiet and record a friendly, positive voice mail. Include your full name and explain that you’ll return the call as soon as possible. And don’t forget to say “Thanks!”
  • Put your most accessible number on your resume. That’s probably your cell or a dedicated work number. Recruiters or hiring managers typically call during the day; they don’t want to reach a home number that you don’t check until the evening or when you return from a business trip.
  • If you do have a good voice mail, but receive so many calls that your voice mail box can fill up, then be sure to delete messages so the dreaded “Please try again” words never come up.
  • Finally, record and then listen to your message. Are you friendly, polite and coming across clearly? Ask yourself, “Is this someone I would want to hire?” Messages are easy to edit. Keep at it until you get it perfectly right.

There is one very important last step. Return all of your calls as soon as possible. Prompt, professional callbacks, even if you then must leave a message, get you off on the right step toward a job interview.

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