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by Alison Blackman Dunham | March 10, 2009


How you sound and behave as a "phone voice" to an employer can boostyour competitiveedge before you ever meet, and will reinforce or alleviate any initialpositive or negativefeelings or concerns that they have about your product. Making apositive first impression onthe phone is critical to your entire personal marketing strategy andyour future career success!

Most of us use the phone so much that we take it for granted.However, as a job seeker usingpersonal marketing to get a competitive edge, remember that the phonecan help or hurt yousell yourself. Employers want to know if you're trustworthy, intelligentand likeable. They'regoing to start making that decision right over the phone based on yourvoice and behavior.

The following will help you become aware of what goes into PPP --Perfect Phone Performance.

DO answer your own phone by stating your name and waiting forthe caller to respond before continuing.

DO keep a pad and pencil near the phone for jotting downmessages, and for important names, phone numbers, addresses or other informationcritical to the job. It's also a good idea to keep a copy of your resume andgeneric cover letter(s) handy in case you need to refer to them quickly.

DON'Tput someone on hold for 'just a moment', which turnsinto longer than 60 seconds. If someone does this to you, you are within yourrights to hang up and call again when they are ready to talk to you.~

DON'Tanswer the phone with anything besides "Hello" oranother polite, basic phone salutation. You will not impress an employer if the firstthing they hear is: "Whassup?" or any other familiar slang.

DON'Ttalk to a prospective employer if you're not ready. Ifsomeone calls from a company you can't even remember applying to, your cat isthrowing up on your new couch, or there is anything else that is diverting yourattention, the best thing to do is apologize for not being able to talk on thephone right then, ask to reschedule the conversation, and get off the phone asquickly as possible. DON'T leave long, complicated voice mail messages spokenso fast that it sends someone scrambling for pen and pad to frantically writeit all down. If you don't reach the caller you'll have to talk later anyway,so bag the long story and just leave your name, date, time and a briefexplanation of why you called.

Your Conversation Skills and Phone Interview

Although most initial phone contacts are brief conversations to setup an in_person interview, there may be occasions when your first phone contact withan employer is an actual interview. How you perform on the phone will decidewhether or not you get to the next stage and an in-person interview. Remember,the interviewer has never met you and only has ears intuition with which to judge you.Make sure you are cordial, understanding and friendly to whomever you arespeaking, no matter how tired you are or how frustrated they make you. You maysoon be working for or with some of them!~

DO speak in a moderate, clear, pleasant tone of voice. Havesomeone listen to your voice on the phone and critique how you sound. Note anymajor problems and begin working on making them better.

DON'Tcarry on two conversations at once with someone on thephone, and with someone else in the room. If you're 'hearing stereo,' putyour caller on hold for a moment and remind the person with you that you are on animportant phone call. Ask them to wait a few minutes so that you can focus onyour caller and complete the call.

DON'Tdrink, eat, smoke, pop your chewing gum or perform anyother audible tasks while you are talking on the phone. Your caller really can hearyou shuffling your papers, washing the dishes or flushing the toilet! Each noise ismagnified and is really disgusting!

DON'Tcover the mouthpiece of the phone with your hand andyell something to another person_hands are not effective muting devices.

DON'Tspeak in a monotone, scream, slur your words, mumble,whisper under your breath, curse, be insulting or use slang no matter howfrustrated, upset or tired you are.

When the interview is concluded and you hang up, make notes rightaway on yourimpressions of both the interviewer and the interview. They'll be reallyhelpful to you whenpreparing for future contacts with the company.

Alison Blackman Dunham is an relationship expert, author &columnist, and a personal public relations consultant. She is also known as one halfof the relationship advice team THEADVICE SISTERS . Ms. Blackman Dunham writes the highly acclaimed advice column Ask Alison: Managing Your Life & Career. This article was excerptedfrom her e-book, YOUARE THE PRODUCT: How to Sell Yourself To Employers.


Filed Under: Job Search