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Tips can help communicate effectively

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Whether it is sending in a résumé or following up with a post-interview phone call, there are many times it is necessary to effectively communicate with prospective employers. Phone calls, written contact, and in-person meetings with employers are good opportunities to market your skills and professionalism during the job search process.

Speaking to a potential employer can occur at several points during your job hunt. You can begin your job search by calling prospective employers in the area and inquiring if they have positions open or if they expect to be hiring soon. You can speak to an employer when they ask for an interview with you, when you are calling to thank them for the interview, or ultimately, when you are contacted with a job offer.

If calling an employer, be sure to call during regular business hours. Begin with your name, who you would like to speak with or the reason for your call. Speak clearly; keep in mind that you want the discussion to be brief and professional. Stay focused on the reason for contacting the employer. Do not chew gum or eat while on the phone. Do not drive or be busy with other distractions while calling.

When following up after submitting an application or after an interview, wait a few days to a week to call the employer. Begin with your name and the position you applied for, as well as the date of your interview. Do not repeatedly call the employer. There is a fine line in being a confident job hunter and being an aggressive caller.

Any written material you send, from the cover letter to an interview thank-you note, is equally as important as phone contact with an employer. Written material may stay filed with the employer for some time, so be sure that any correspondence you send in represents how you would like to be perceived as a possible employee. Everything should always be spell-checked and thoroughly reviewed.

Your letter of interest, résumé, application and any other written material should be formally presented on standard white paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman, and keep the formatting simple. Your writing should be short, precise and to the point.

Even if you have spoken to a potential employer on the phone and submitted material in writing, an in-person meeting will solidify a first impression of you. Before a meeting or an interview, take a practice run to the location so that you know exactly where you are going and will not have to worry about things like parking and driving directions. Do not be late if you have an appointment. Arriving at the company or organization five to ten minutes early will ensure that you are prepared for the meeting.

When interviewing or contacting employers in person, dress appropriately. All companies and organizations are different, but it is always better to overdress than underdress. Present yourself as though it was your first day on the job. Effective communication, in any form, with a prospective employer will add to the likelihood that you will successfully land the job.

This is a regular column written by the N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions. For more information, go to www.dws.state.nm.us.

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