How to Get a Professional Email Address and Voicemail Message
Let’s face it, the days of the paper resume, submitted in a stamped envelope via the post office, has come and gone as a method for applying for the job of your dreams. Along with this increasingly archaic method of written communication, landlines with greetings on tape have seen a similar decline. Nowadays, a prospective employer’s sole contact with a candidate prior to the interview will be via email or voicemail, typically digitally recorded on your cell phone. This means that appearing professional in both of these venues is more important than ever.
Before you click off this article as a little, well, obvious, we should explain what we mean by “professional.” Many times individuals will select their email address or record a voicemail with little thought to a future job search. Sure, your mom may think that “email@example.com” is a cute and memorable way to reach you, but for a company looking for an employee to represent their business and brand, that level of relaxation may not get you past the resume review, much less into the interview room. Similarly, that friendly message you left on your phone for friends to “hit you back” isn’t likely to get you called back anytime soon.
If this sounds familiar, you’re in luck. We’ve got a few tips and tricks to get your email and voicemail in tip-top, professional, employer-friendly shape.
The Email address
A few of our favorite actionable steps you can take to have a professional, recruiter and employer-friendly email address in no time:
- Create an email address, solely for your job search – Sure, back in days companies used to charge you to set up a new email but now, most services provide numerous accounts, free of charge. Consider making a brand new email address just for sending resumes and replying to hiring inquiries. As a bonus, this will make mailbox management with this important correspondence a snap.
- Personalize your email with your name and only your name – Whenever possible your email address should feature your first and last name only. If you’ve got a generic, “John Smith” type of moniker, things can get a bit trickier. Adding in a middle initial, birth year or initials followed by a descriptive title such as lawyer, accountant, writer, salesperson etc., will also do in a pinch.
- Consider snagging an @yourname.com handle – Modern services often allow you to pick and choose your email domain name, while still accessing your messages from their familiar platforms. If your first and last are available, it’s more than acceptable to use this as your primary email for job hunting. Another plus? If you decide to go into business for yourself eventually, you’ll be well on your way to building a personal brand.
We all aim to be ready to pick up that recruiter or hiring manager call the moment your phone rings. Reality says, however, that you’ll need a voicemail or two to get things rolling in the job hunting game. Here are a few ideas to make sure your virtual recording really represents you.
- Include your name – There’s nothing worse than calling up a number of a person you’ve never met only to hear, “I’m not available, please leave a message.” Sure, this is fine and dandy for friends and family that recognize your voice, but not as comforting for the first-time caller wondering whether they’ve reached the right number. State your first name at minimum for reassurance and less annoyance to the caller on the other end.
- Avoid cutesy sayings or cliches – Mentioning that you’re probably at the beach, out drinking, playing video games or otherwise occupied is a great way to entertain your college frat buddies but not so much a potential employer. Keep your messages short, simple and professional, asking the person to please leave a message and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
- Speak clearly and at a measured pace – Another way for potential voicemail leavers to be left wondering is when they can’t understand what’s being said on the other end of the line. Speaking too quickly in your voicemail sets a bad impression and makes others reluctant to leave a message for fear of calling the wrong number. When in doubt, ask a friend or family member to listen to your recording to ensure its concise and understandable.
Have another tip or trick for making that email or voicemail message shine? Shoot us a message or drop us a line in the comments and maybe we’ll include your suggestion in our next set of professional do’s and don’ts update.
Article Updated from the Original on October 7, 2015