Job Inquiries

Q: When inquiring about a job, is it better to call or write a letter?

A: Effective use of the phone is one of the most important ways of conducting a successful job search. Phone calls are key to getting face-to-face interviews.

Unfortunately, some job seekers either use the phone incorrectly, or avoid it and write letters instead. Calling on the phone is an active, take-charge approach, because you are making personal contact rather than sending impersonal correspondence.

Practice Makes Perfect

Be prepared before you pick up the phone. Practice with the phone in front of the mirror. Have a friend role play a prospective employer. You may be asked questions about your background that should be answered instantly.

Hesitation on your part could convey uncertainty. Try to use a conversational tone that does not sound like you are reading off a cue card. Listen for clues about what the employer is looking for and adapt your responses to provide an answer to these questions. Don't ramble.

Even though this is a business call, try to sound natural and friendly, not stiff. Your goal is to give the prospective employer a sample of your pleasant personality, which will pave the way to requesting an interview.

How you project on the phone is directly related to how you feel about yourself. Believe that you would be the best person for this job and be able to tell the employer why.

Placing A Call

When you call a company, ask to speak with the person in charge of the department where you want to work. Do not volunteer to send your resume.

Doing so only gives the employer a chance to screen you out, however, if a resume is requested, offer to bring it with you to the interview.

It is important for you to state the reason for your call, which is to set up a face-to-face interview. Do not assume the employer "will just know" what you want. This responsibility falls on your shoulders.