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by Sarah Kuhn | December 18, 2017


How many times have you strolled into work, checked your voicemails, and been frustrated because the voicemail doesn't contain all the information you need? For recruiters, that's a daily reality: You can't understand the person's name clearly in a voicemail, they don't state it, or you aren't sure which John is returning your call. Then there are those calls where the caller didn't state what number to call back on at all. While these basic errors are easy to make, they happen far more frequently than they should, and they hurt your chances of finding a job.  

The following list contains elements that are frequently left out of voicemails but are crucial if you want a call back from the person on the other end. While it can seem that email and text messaging should have made the concept of leaving a voicemail a thing of the past, it's a basic yet important skill for any job seeker to master.  

Here are the most important elements to include within a voicemail message:

Your Name

Please be sure to leave your first and last name and state it clearly. If you have an uncommon name, spelling it out on a voicemail for someone who hasn't met you is also a courtesy.

Your Number

For some reason, it seems like callback numbers get forgotten more than any other detail. Not everyone has caller ID or is willing to take the time out of a busy day  day to look it up. Many times, situations occur that require a call back to a number separate than the one being used to make the call. Make sure to state your phone number clearly and slower than you would normally. It is also a courtesy to repeat the number a second time on a voicemail as well.

Your Reason for Calling

It's important to keep professional voicemails concise. Leaving a reason for your call is polite and also helps the person on the other end better prepare whatever may be necessary to appropriately return your call. It could be as simple as, "I'm returning a call I received earlier."

Set an Expectation

When it comes to professional calls, I think everyone prefers to be as prepared as possible. By setting an expectation at the end of your call, you are being direct about what you want as well as assisting the receiver of the call maintain their level of professionalism. No one enjoys getting a voicemail and not understanding what the other person wants on the other end. Do they want a call back? Should it be known why they are calling? Politely let the recipient of your call know what you want after the voicemail. It could be as simple as, "I would appreciate if you could return my call at 777-777-7777."

In addition to leaving these key components in your voicemail, make sure you speak clearly and slightly slower than usual--don't rush. Pay attention to your location and try to avoid background noise. It is also a good idea to take note of what you would expect the communication style of the person receiving your call to be like and attempt to match that in the tone of your voicemail. Also feel free to add in additional helpful bits of information, like when the best time to call you back would be.

In conclusion, make sure you don't leave out any basics listed in this article. They may seem simple and obvious, but all of these can hurt your chances of a call back if you leave them out of your voicemails. The easier it is for someone to call you back, the higher you will be on their priority list for their return calls.