Telephone Your Way to Your Next Internship

Everyone’s talking about mastering LinkedIn and Twitter for job and internship success, but don’t forget to master the telephone and voicemail! Your proficiency with telecommunications will certainly make an impact on hiring managers.

Your voice is an important aspect of your personal brand. You want to sound confident and friendly. You don’t want your prospective employer to think that you can’t effectively communicate in a clear, concise and professional manner. There are multiple opportunities to impress related to the phone or voicemail.

Telephone Interviews

First, screening interviews are usually conducted by phone. Make sure you are in a quiet place. You might receive a cell phone call from a potential employer at the wrong time and place. Step away from your friends to take the call. You don’t want to sound distracted during an important inbound call. Use the same practice when making an outbound call. Be prepared and in control when using the phone. Standing up while speaking helps your voice sound more confident.

Cell Phones

Turn off the phone during any meetings such as interviews, open house, and employer info sessions. Employers will think you are not interested in what is being discussed if you have attention on your phone.

Cell Phone Voicemail Greetings

Let’s not overlook your cell phone voice greeting! Most people who call you will be dialing your cell phone. When was the last time you listened to the greeting message? Make sure it is clear, friendly and professional. State your name in the greeting so callers will know they have reached the correct person. Ask for a detailed message. Be sure to check your voice mail messages every day because employers will leave messages! Sample Cell Phone

Voice Greeting Message

“Hi This is Sam Johnson’s cell phone voice mail box. Thank you for calling me. Please leave a detailed message and I will return your call as soon as possible. Have a great day.”

Your Voicemail Messages

In the course of your internship search, you will be leaving voice mail messages occasionally. Your messages should be clear and succinct. State your name and the purpose of your call. Indicate any mutual connections or interesting points. Leave your phone number and email address. Be personable but not too wordy. Say thank you.

Sample Voicemail Message

“Hello this is Mark Jones, a sophomore at PWU. I am interested in learning more about the internship position you posted. I saw your contact information listed on the poster at our Career Center. I hope to speak to you briefly at your convenience. I can be reached at 555-555-5555 or email Thank you.”

Check and Return Your Messages Daily

This seems like a simple idea, but so many people fail to do this. You want to respond very quickly to show your interest. Business people expect a quick response from you! Text Messaging Use the same professional principles described above for any text messaging with potential employers. Don’t text an employer unless you are invited to do so, because some people save texting for close personal contacts. All messages should be concise and professional.

Look at the Culture and Formality

Get your clues about how to communicate directly from each prospective employer. Determine the formality of greeting by how they state their name on a job posting or email. For example: find out if you should call your new contact “John” or “Mr. Thompson?” If there is any question, use the formal greeting.

How else can you use phone etiquette and best practices to impress an employer?

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Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.


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