--By Marnie Consky
All MBA-level jobs require you to have strong communication skills. Aside from singing your praises in your resume and cover letter, it’s even more important to demonstrate those communication skills in instances where recruiters and hiring managers are paying attention. Outside of the obvious networking sessions and interviews, here are some situations where small details count:
- Voice mail: ensure that your voice mail message sounds professional. Imagine the recruiter is calling to tell you that you’ve been selected for an interview – your voice mail shouldn’t do anything to potentially have them question their decision. Record your outgoing message without background noise or distractions, and script it first. If you are in the process of setting up informational meetings and applying for jobs, remember to be at your “professional best” whenever answering the phone. Answer the phone “Hi, (your first name) speaking” or “Hi, this is (first name)”
- Out of office email message: set up an out of office message if you’re going to be away on vacation or unreachable for a period of time. Thank the sender for their message and indicate when they can expect to hear back from you. No need to state your first day away, just when you’ll be back.
- Email signature: Your email signature should include your first and last name, the year your degree will be conferred (e.g. MBA Candidate 2014), name of your school, phone number and email address. Also consider including your LinkedIn URL and ensure that your profile is consistent with your resume and cover letter.
- Thank you note: whether you’re sending a handwritten note to thank someone for an informational meeting, emailing company representatives that you met at an information session or emailing your interviewer(s), be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Keep it short; reiterate your appreciation of their time and your interest in the company/role as appropriate.
It goes without saying that how you communicate on social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) is also of equal importance. Be aware that what you post online is public and searchable, even in cases where you’ve gone some lengths to protect your privacy. Be mindful of what you’re posting and of who might be reading it.
Bottom line: your motto for communication should be “show them – don’t just tell them.”
Marnie Consky is the Assistant Director of Career Services, Morning & Evening MBA and Master of Finance Programs at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, Ontario.