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Small Details Can Make a Lasting Impression (Good and Bad!)

Attitude is Everything

So you’ve submitted your resume for a position.  You are waiting patiently by the phone for someone to call and continuously refreshing your email to see if you’ve received a response.   When you finally have the opportunity to have that initial phone call that you’ve been waiting for, be prepared – the person on the other side of that call is your ticket to the next step, and quite possibly future opportunities.  First impressions matter the most in this case.  Here are some things to remember.

First, when you submit your resume for a position, make sure the email address on your resume is professional.  Some people forget this part, but a lot of times this is the first thing someone will notice when they decide to contact you.  If your email address is partydude123@xyz.com, you may not be giving the best impression right off the bat.  The safest thing to do is to create an email address that you use strictly for applying to jobs, whether it is firstname.lastname@xyz.com, firstinitial.lastname@xyz.com, or some other combination.  Just make sure it is professional and not easily misspelled. 

Second, make sure your voicemail is just as professional on your personal phone as it would be on your office phone at your new job.  If someone calls and gets your voicemail, you want to make sure it is giving the same impression that you would want to give if you had answered.  You want that person leaving you a message to get a good impression just from your voicemail, and to want to follow up with you.  The same thing applies if you do answer the phone.  If you don’t recognize the number, always assume it is someone calling you about a job, not a wrong number.   Answer the phone professionally, and when the person on the line says “May I speak with (fill in the blank)?” your response should be This is she/he, not This is her/him.   If you are in a loud place when you answer the phone, or can’t speak freely because you are at your current job, it is always best to ask politely if you can call them back.  The person on the other line will appreciate that more than you shouting over car horns, ambulance sirens, etc. or you whispering yes/no answers so that the person in the cubicle beside you can’t hear. 

You should always remember that, even though that first phone call is usually from the person doing the initial screening of resumes, they count just as much as the person you would be sitting in front of during an interview.  Always be polite, listen to the questions being asked of you, answer them accordingly, and do not interrupt the person you are speaking with. 

Remember these small details make a huge difference to the person on the other side of the phone.  That person you are speaking with is a direct line to the hiring manager.  Whether you are speaking with the receptionist at a small company or the CEO of an international organization, your demeanor should be the same – professional, enthusiastic, and most importantly polite.   If you leave a bad impression just once, it could ruin your chances of being called back for the position you applied to, and possibly even future positions.  

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