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Brush up on phone etiquette

Strong communication with a prospective employer can make you stand out in a pool of job applicants. So much of the communication will be over the phone, and the following are etiquette tips to keep in mind when portraying yourself as the professional, confident candidate that will help you land the job.

There are a few basic things to consider when calling or leaving a message for an employer. If you are on a cellphone, make sure that your phone is charged before you call. You do not want to be in the middle of a conversation and have your phone cut off. Always pick a quiet place for your conversation. Calling as you are about leave the house with your hands full or trying to talk while outside on a windy day will be frustrating for the person on the other end of the call.

If an employer is calling and you are unable to take the call, wait to answer, and when you are in a suitable place with good reception, call back as soon as possible. If you do take the call and it is not a good time to talk because of distractions or reception, ask politely if you can call them back at a time that is convenient for them. Write down their contact information, find a better location, and when you speak to them again, apologize for the phone reception.

During the period you are looking for a job, try to answer your own phone as much as possible. If you have family members or roommates living with you, let them know that you are applying for jobs. Provide them with some guidance on how to take the calls and what information they can ask for when taking a message for you.

Verify that the correct contact phone number is listed on all your job application correspondence. Also be timely. Time is of the essence when job hunting. Check your voicemails often and return phone calls on the same day you receive the message.


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When calling, start with a basic introduction: who you are, what position you are interested in, and why you are calling today. Have the job advertisement handy in case you need to refer to a job number or the application close date.

Check your voicemail greetings on your phones and leave some type of identifier on your greeting so that employers know that they have reached the right candidate.

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