Voicemail: A Supplementary Resume

My new mobile phoneBrian McCullough has years of experience as a resume writer, but recently a client did something he totally hadn’t expected.

When he called the client to go over some final tweaks to his resume, he got voicemail, which said:

Hello, this is John C. Doe, Project Engineer. I thank you for contacting me about a possible opening at your firm. I’m eager to speak with you and tell you more about my 20 plus years of project management experience. You’ve reached me at 555-555-5555, but you can also try my home number which is 555-555-5555. I look forward to speaking with you and learning more about your team.

“When I finally got the client on the phone,” McCullough writes, “I asked him why he had recorded a special voicemail just for his job search.

“’I figure that’s the first real interaction I’d have with an employer,’ he told me. ‘I wanted to make sure my first impression to the employer would be as professional as we’re making this resume. I’m sort of thinking of my voicemail greeting as a supplementary resume.’”

So, in most cases, this would probably come across as creepy (don’t you think)? This example voicemail just straddles the line. But the basic truth—that your voicemail message needs to be super-professional— is totally true. McCullough suggests a few things:

  • Record a new voicemail greeting in a quiet, calm place.
  • Make sure to include your full name in the greeting so the employer knows they’ve reached the person they intended. Repeat your phone number for the same reason.
  • If you do explicitly reference your job search, keep it brief.
  • Offer an alternate means of contact.
  • Above all (this one’s ours), don’t talk too long (but don’t talk too quickly, either).

Good luck!