11 Tips for Your Phone in the Job Search

The phone always played an important role in job search but since cell phones changed the rules, let’s revisit how to best use your phone in the job search.

1. → Should I put my cell phone number on the resume?

In today’s world, you need your cell phone on the resume. Most business calls are returned during daytime hours. You need a number that a hiring manager can easily access during the day. If your cell phone is a company cell phone, then you need to get a personal one and keep it with you, but silent at work. You can check messages at lunch and during breaks. Using the company cell is taboo unless your company is closing or majorly downsizing and they have told you to use corporate resources to help find a new position.

2. → What if you only use your cell in emergencies?

This should have gone away when bag phones in the car went away. A cell is a personal tool that can be the greatest resource a job seeker can have. Learn how to use your phone, keep it with you and return calls.

3. → What about voicemail on my cell?

Your voice mail should be professional. No cute sing alongs with your child, yes, I know it is so cute but NO! No rock music and “Hey this is Rocky, what’s happening?”

Your message should say, “Hello, this is Tony Peterson, I look forward to talking to you soon. Please leave a message.”

If you can remember to change your message, you can provide a daily update. My message often says: “Hello, this is Julie Walraven from DesignResumes.com. Today is Tuesday, June 15 and I am with clients in the morning. If you want help with resume writing or career marketing, please leave a message.”

4. → Who should answer my phone?

Only you, that’s why you have voicemail. If you have family members who think every ringing phone should be answered, retrain them gently.

Only answer the phone when prepared to speak to a hiring manager. If you are indisposed, in a rush, with clients or your boss, let it go to voicemail. Find a quiet place and return calls.

Why phone calls from recruiters or hiring managers should only be answered when you are ready? Read this from JobMob:

This little conversation is the first stage of the interview process and needs to be treated with as much preparation as a face-to-face interview, even if the call only lasts 5 minutes.

5. → Should I put my home phone number on the resume?

The home phone number is much less necessary. You can have both but need a professional voice mail on the home number and no one should answer it for you. The cell phone is the way most people communicate and it is business acceptable to only use the cell number on your resume.

6. → When is a good time to return a call?

Return calls when you know what you want to say. You need to review the message, develop a response, find a quiet place and then return the call.

7. → If I get voicemail on their end, how do I respond?

Leave a message. Again, a professional message perhaps saying a good time to have them call back. Respond to any questions in their voicemail and do it promptly.

8. → Should I use the phone to find leads?

Absolutely. You need to use your phone, your network, and all your resources. You can also use your phone to find out from the receptionist the name and spelling of the name of the hiring manager if you are responding to a blind offer. Then put informational interviewing in place with people who are connected to the company.

9. → Can I call after sending in my resume?

Yes, a brief call to verify that your resume was received is fine.

10. → What length of time should I wait between calls?

7 to 10 days but if the company gives you other instructions, like call on Tuesday, June 22, make every effort to make that call.

11. → How soon after the interview can I call to check?

Again 7 to 10 days. This is assuming you have sent thank you notes to all parties you interviewed with.

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11 Tips for Your Phone in the Job Search


  1. Mohammed Al-Taee on June 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Great topic.

    Shall we put the time that we receive calls in the resume?

    Can we use options such as MagicJack (fixed land number but only works with Internet)?

    For mobile carrier that charge for receiving calls, it is OK to ask them to call us on the land phone?

    .-= Mohammed Al-Taee´s last blog ..maltaee: Find a tiny stream in which your strengths can flow and carve it into the Mississippi. ~ Marcus Buckingham #PersonalBranding =-.

    • Julie Walraven on June 15, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Thanks, Mohammed! I would put times for calling in a cover letter unless you could make it very small as part of the header. How available is MagicJack and is it a mobile phone option too or are you on your computer enough that you wouldn’t miss a call.

      Yes, you can tell them to call on the landline and with you looking for a position in the US and it being an international call, that might be a good idea.

      Skype is another option for people like yourself and you can use Skype with a phone or the computer. SO you could have Skype and your phone working together.

  2. Ed Han on June 15, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Julie, this is very helpful. It blows my mind, with the kinds of plans now available, that some people are so averse to using their mobile phones as part of their search.

    • Julie Walraven on June 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Yes, Ed, it is kind of funny. This morning I took a call from a client and she is wanting to update her resume I did 10 years ago. When she gave me her number, it was clearly a land line and I asked if she had a cell. She said, “yes, but I only use it in emergencies.” And I said that she might want to rethink that as she is looking to move to a new position and asked if the phone was shared or hers alone. She said it was in her purse. I suspect the number will go on her resume because she understood quickly the value of availability.

  3. Andrew Plath on June 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Did our grandfather use his networks? I am certain he did. Grandfather Plath, our Grandpa Bob, was a member of the National Hardwood Lumber Association http://www.nhla.com/. This is a trade group which monitors standards for the hardwood lumber industry.

    Industry trade groups like the NHLA can function as a network for managerial personnel.

    • Julie Walraven on June 16, 2010 at 5:36 am

      Thanks, Andy for the visit. I doubt he used phones as much though… but you are right that networks are an age-old concept going back forever.

  4. Barbara Swafford on June 18, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Hi Julie,

    As an employer, we (maybe wrongly)expect a potential employee to have a cell phone. In fact, if they give us a land line number, we ask if they also have a cell number.

    I agree with what you said about the message we have for voice mail. The kids voices are cute, but can sound very unprofessional when calling a potential new employee.

    Which reminds me of an employee we had who had a message on his phone that said, “Hi, this is Joe” (not his real name). Then there was a phase so I’d think he had answered the phone. After I had already said what I was calling for, he’d go on to laugh and say, “Haha, bet you thought you were really talking to me. Leave a message”. The first time it was funny, but after that, not so much.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..S*%$+#@*.!*)& B(*!$@& =-.

    • Julie Walraven on June 18, 2010 at 4:30 am

      Hi Barbara, thanks for stopping by. I know I do have a few clients who don’t have a cell phone. That creates another wrinkle which means that the individual should find a way to check home voice mail messages remotely. Though I do have upper level clients who call me from work, I really recommend that calls to schedule interviews or even resume writing appointments be made on private lines. No one wants to lose a job just because they are looking for another one.

      If you are able to afford even a prepaid or disposable cell phone, you will benefit from being accessible and private.

      Your “Joe” story is funny… but I would agree not so much repeatedly.

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