By Caitlin Alfonso, LMSW

RING, RING: VOICEMAIL ETTIQUETTE 101

Scenario 1: You receive a message. A hiring manager read your application and would like to set up an interview. You are so excited, so you quickly dial the number back. It rings, and rings and much to your dismay it goes to voicemail. What do you say?

Scenario 2: You need to call in to your job. You aren’t feeling well and need to notify them that you won’t be able to come in for your shift. You call your team lead and rings once and goes straight to voicemail.

Both scenarios, while different lead to the same thing: the importance of leaving a professional voicemail. Often, making calls and leaving voicemails can leave people feeling anxious or unsure of what to say in the message. Let’s face it, some people panic and hang up the phone entirely, or leave out critical information that their voicemail is basically pointless. So below are some important things to remember when leaving a professional voicemail.

  1. GREETING
  2. It is polite to address who you are calling with a hello, good morning/afternoon or some type greeting.
  3. STATE YOUR NAME
  4. Your name is critical; do not assume that they know who you are by your voice and/or will go through the work to look up your number.
  5. STATE THE REASON FOR YOUR CALL
  6. Provide a quick and concise reason for your call. Leave out non-important details.
  7. PROVIDE A CALL BACK NUMBER
  8. Provide them with the number that is best to reach you. Do not rush through it. Make sure you speak clearly and sometimes it is helpful to repeat the number twice.
  9. WRAP UP
  10. It is polite to thank people for their time, or express interest in hearing back from them soon.

EXAMPLE VOICEMAILS:

SCENERIO 1: Good morning Ms. Smith. My name is Jane and I received your voicemail regarding my application to the ABC Institute. I would like to talk to you about this further. My phone number is (000) 123-4567. Again, that is: (000) 123-4567. Thank you for your time and I look forward to connecting with you.

SCENERIO 2: Hello Jim. This is Jane Doe from XYZ Café. I was calling to let you know that I am sick and will need to call out from work tomorrow. I apologize for any inconvenience. My number is: (000) 123-4567. You can text or call if you need to reach me. Have a good day.

When leaving messages, especially with upper management or people you have not worked with for long it is best to keep a professional tone. Remember to take a deep breath and speak clearly and slowly. Additionally, make sure that at a minimum you let them know who is calling and how to return your call.

Next time you dial and hear “leave a message after the beep”, don’t stress—you know exactly what to do!

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Caitlin Alfonso is a lover of coffee, reading, traveling and her dog, Remy. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and owner of Acornic Consulting, LLC.