Why Do You Have Unprofessional Voicemail Instructions?
Right now, if a recruiter or hiring manager were to dial your phone number and be instructed to leave you a voicemail, what would be heard? If you are using any one of these examples below, let’s talk about it:
- “Hey, you know what to do!” BEEP
- “I’m not at home right now, but…(321 words later).” BEEP
- Loud Music Only; (heavy metal, country, hip-hop, orchestra, etc.) BEEP
- Celebrity Voice; “Here’s an Offer You Can’t Refuse – leave me your number, or else!” BEEP
- Cartoon Voice; “Helluuuuu, boys and girls! Leave me a message!” BEEP
- Multiple Family-Member Voices; “Hi, this is Jen, and this is Matt, and this is…(list continues down through the sounds of the baby gurgling)..” BEEP
- “This is Bob, I’m not a slob, I want a job, don’t be a snob; leave a message!” BEEP
- Profanity; “#+&$68%@1##” BEEP
When you’re a job seeker, your voicemail instructions must be professional. This goes in conjunction with having a professional email address and answering the phone in a professional manner. This is part of the three-pronged strategy that you need to balance the entire “professional you.” It will take a conscience effort to make sure that you are increasing the odds in your favor, and not being “passed over” simply because of any negative first impressions.
These are two examples of a professional voicemail message:
- “Hello. You have reached Sarah at 555.555.5555. I’m sorry that I am missing your call. Please leave me a detailed message, and I’ll be sure to return you call as soon as I can. Thank you.”
- “Hello. You have reached 555.555.5555. Your call is important to me, so please leave me a detailed message so I can return your call. Thank you.”
The two main points of your voicemail instruction message is 1) to help the caller confirm that the correct number was dialed, and 2) that they only have to wait just a few seconds to hear the BEEP that will prompt them to leave a voicemail.
Keep it simple, quick, and precise. Pay attention to how your voice will sound to the caller. Are you speaking too fast, too slurred, or too incoherent? Decide on three sentences you will say on your voicemail instruction and practice speaking it until it sounds professional and like a natural speech pattern. Remember: the voicemail instruction isn’t to display how cute or clever you are – the purpose is to invite others to leave a voicemail so you can call them back. If you are hearing more hang-up-clicks when you retrieve your voicemail rather than actual voicemails, then that could be the hint you need to consider why that is happening.
Do you have other professional voicemail instruction ideas that you are using that you would like to share? We’re interested in hearing about them! Comment on this post, or email us at email@example.com .