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Graduates - Stop Hiding Behind Your Computer

Student Jobs Careers Advice Employability Tips and Advice

We get it. 2014 is another year dominated by the smart phone. We don't look around anymore; we look down. Staring, scrolling and tapping. It's a routine and it makes us feel safe, right? But when someone's name pops up with the caption 'Calling' many of us freak out...

It's crazy, but many people are too scared to use the phone - speaking on the phone leaves us vulnerable compared to text-based interactions. We don't want our mood conveyed through our voice - that's what emojis are for. But sadly, phone calls still exist. Not only do they exist, but they are widely used in recruitment. So if you're in the market for a job, listen up. You need to overcome your phone fear if you want to stand a chance at getting employed. Read through some common mistakes below and start practising your super professional phone voice.

Stop hiding behind emails

The personal touch is really important in job-hunting, and whether speaking directly to the employer or via a recruitment agency, building a relationship on the phone is the closest thing to meeting them for coffee. It's far easier to communicate this way, especially when there's a lot of information to pass along or if instant responses are needed. Yet graduates still shy away the phone and try to hide behind emails. If you've been asked to call an agency on the phone, then do it. If you're only confident with emailing, then this doesn't reflect well on your prospects for getting hired, or even being put forward for future roles. Yes, it is difficult to assess a candidate's applicability from a few phone conversations, but emails are far worse indicators.

Make your phone number available

As precious as our phones are to us, someone having our number is not the end of the world. And it's not just a random person you met on a night out and saved as 'girl with chips' or 'beard guy' - recruiters need your number to be able to help you find a job. Think of all the random companies that have your phone number and text you about PPI claims - it's not that precious.

Emails are easy to bulk send, but if a recruiter is taking the time to speak to you, help tailor your CV and run you through jobs that might interest you, give them that time! Leaving your number off of your CV is a big (and common) mistake that really needs to stop. Imagine a recruiter who's running through 200 CVs a day, looking to speak to potential candidates - they will probably skip past you if a phone number is absent.

Answer the phone at appropriate times

If you're on a crowded bus, sat on the toilet or in the middle of an argument, is it really an appropriate time to answer the phone? Hopefully you have a professional answer message - and preferably one with your name in it so they know they have the right person - so declining the call won't be an issue. But don't forget to actually check your voicemail.


Exercise professional phone etiquette

tina fey on the phone to pizza

If it's 1pm and you've just woken up, fine, but don't answer the phone without clearing your throat. Don't panic when you see an unknown number calling. Just take a breath, check that you don't sound like a chain-smoking toad and answer professionally and calmly. After all that it may just be an insurance company cold-calling you, but still, it's good practise.

lizzi hart grb author

Lizzi Hart is the Social Media & Content Manager at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB). Outside of work, she enjoys reading, music, binge-watching TV and dreaming about the dog she'll one day own.

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