6 Steps to Communicating Professionally with Voicemail Posted August 15, 2014 by Abby Reynolds

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When job searching, you want to be sure to communicate professionally on all levels, not just for face-to-face meetings. The last post in this series covered how to send a professional email, and this article covers how to leave an appropriate voicemail message.

Leaving a voicemail seems like an outdated practice, especially in today's technical age where most of us are used to texting someone if they don't pick up their phone. Voicemails are less common in a casual environment, but in the business-world, they are still relevant.

You may be wondering why you should leave a message at all when you could hang up and try again later. As a result of caller-ID, most recipients will be able to tell that you tried to call, regardless of whether you left a message. By simply hanging up, it may seem to the recipient that you were being lazy, cowardly or didn't have anything important to say. When contacting professionals in the workplace, it is important to always leave a message with your contact information.

The following six steps walk you through each stage of leaving a message:

1. Write a short outline of what you're going to say, and what information needs to be included. This will help to eliminate some your anxiety and unnecessary pauses and verbal inflections, such as "umm" and "uh."

2. After being sent to voicemail, the first thing you should do  is to state your name.

"Hello, this is John Smith."

3. Next you should state either the company you're with, or the job you applied for, depending on the reason for your call.

" I recently applied for the X position at Company ABC..."

4. This is where you need to state the reason for your call. Keep it brief and to the point.

"... and wanted to speak with you further about the application process."

5. Now you want to provide the recipient with your phone number, and why you want them to call back.

" I'm sorry I missed you, but if you could give me a call back at 123-456-7891,

I would love to hear  more about the application process at Company ABC."

6. Finally, mention the best times to reach you, and then repeat your phone number.

" I am usually available between one and five on weekdays, and after seven on weekends.

Again, my number is 123-456-7891."

Remember when giving your number to say it very clearly and slowly. You may feel silly slowing your rate of speech, but the recipient will definitely be appreciative that you don't rush through your contact information, which would cause them to listen to the message multiple times. Always repeat your number, even if it feels excessive, the person writing it down will thank you.

The overall message should be between 30 and 45 seconds, and clearly convey the reason for your call. Leaving a quick message is a great way to show future employers that you're serious about your work and a strong, and professional communicator.