Telephone etiquette is one of the most important aspects of a job search and yet it is often overlooked by many job seekers. From beginning to end, every aspect of your interaction with hiring professionals, both directly and indirectly, can affect the outcome of your search. With that being said, we have provided a few basic rules below to help you portray yourself as a professional over the phone. A great opportunity may be just a phone call away!

Listing your phone number: Many job seekers choose to list their home and cell phone numbers, and sometimes even their work number. Take into consideration who may have access to the phone numbers you have provided.

Cell phone: The recommended number to list is usually your cell phone. The majority of people have their cell phone with them at all times making it easy to control who answers and where the call is answered.

Home phone: If you list a home number there is a great possibility that someone else will answer and while not necessarily intending to, they might say something or use a tone that could hinder the first impression of you.

Work phone: Listing your work number is risky and considered unprofessional. Work is not the place to be taking personal calls. Wait until you are somewhere quiet, where you can speak freely.

Answering your phone: When you’re speaking to a potential employer, make sure you’re in a quiet place where you can focus on the conversation. Just because you have a phone near you doesn’t mean you should answer it every time it rings. If you choose to answer the call, be professional and polite. If you see a number that you don’t recognize, don’t answer in an unpleasant tone or hang up on the caller. You never know who is on the other line.

Voicemail: Voicemail works in two ways. How you leave a message is just an important as the one you record for your own phone. The voicemail greeting is often one of the most overlooked aspects of telephone etiquette. Your personal greeting should be basic and professional and include your name along with a quick message telling the caller you’ll get back to them. When leaving a message for a hiring professional it’s extremely important to be in a quiet place and speak clearly. Leave your name, the purpose of your call, and your contact information.

Cell phones and interviews: More often than not, job seekers forget to turn their phone off. There’s nothing more distracting in an interview than a phone ringing or vibrating. It’s also important to remember not to check your emails, text messages, and social media accounts while waiting for the hiring manager. Your best bet is to just leave your cell phone in your car. This way you eliminate it as a distraction and can focus all of your attention on the interview.

Implementing all aspects of phone etiquette is an essential part of your job search. From start to finish, you want to portray yourself as professional. Consider any interaction you have with hiring professionals and company employees as part of the interview process.