It may sound simple but a professional voicemail can change your job prospects.

Leave a bad voicemail and there could be a few negative outcomes: You may leave it so unclear that the recruiter or hiring manager can’t hear your details. You may leave the wrong impression about your communication style, which for leadership roles, is very important. You could also miss out on getting the answer to your query, which could impact whether you apply or not.

Think of a voicemail as a chance to create a positive first impression to a potential new manager when you are applying for jobs. It surprises me how frequently I receive voicemail messages that (a) don't leave their name or number or (b) I can't make out the phone number as it’s been spoken too quickly. This happens with positions I hire at all levels.

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Below are my top tips for mastering the job enquiry voicemail. (And just generally good phone etiquette):

  • Speak slowly and articulately. Try not to rush. If you aren’t sure what to say, hang up before the voicemail starts and call back again when you have set out what exactly you’re going to say. When you rush, you can sound out of breath – and this also impacts how clearly the receiver will hear your message. With phone messages and phone interviews, you must speak a little slower than you would in person.
  • Try to avoid leaving the message when outside (or somewhere windy or busy). Again, this sounds simple but if the matter is not urgent, take the time to find a quiet spot so you can ensure everything is heard as clearly as possible.
  • Repeat your phone number twice. Yes, twice. This is so important. Just in case the person misses it the first time, you can slowly repeat it a second time to ensure they definitely get the right number down.
  • Short and sweet is best. Give a brief reason for calling (try not to list out your queries on the voicemail), leave your name and number and leave it at that.

Use this article as a reminder that every interaction you have with a potential hiring manager is important, and to ensure you are putting your best foot forward whenever you can.

RELATED: How to use a recruitment agency effectively

First impressions of any kind are essential in your job search and we want you to make the best one possible. Need more tips for your job search? Check out our latest career articles here.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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