Phone Numbers are Funny Things

Well, maybe “funny” isn’t exactly the right word. I mean, it probably wouldn’t be funny to a recruiter if he/she called you with a hot opportunity and your 3-year old picked up the phone, talked for awhile, and then hung up the phone. And actually, you might not think it was funny either … if you found out about it.

I returned a phone call today to a CFO prospect, and the person who answered my call was definitely not an interested party. That got me thinking about reasons why you should NOT use your home phone number on your resume.

#1 – You can’t control who answers the phone

Do you have kids? Teenagers? A spouse who works a different shift and might sleep during the day and answer the phone groggy and half-asleep?

If you aren’t home to answer your phone at all times, you can’t control who answers it or how it will be answered. When my youngest was … young, she used to answer the home phone “who is it?” Not exactly the first impression you want to leave with a recruiter or a decision-maker.

#2 – Your voice mail message might not sound professional

Kids are so cute on voice mail messages. To family at least. And it could cost you a conversation with a recruiters about a hot – and dream – opportunity.

If your voice mail message doesn’t contain a) your name, or b) your phone number to verify he/she has the right number, maybe the caller will just hang up without leaving a message.

#3 – Your unpaid “secretary” might not deliver the message

Ever had somebody ask you why you didn’t return their call, and you responded “I never got a message to call you.” If it isn’t important to the person who answers the call, the message might never make it to the intended recipient. See #1 again.

Using your work number on your resume is not a good idea, either. That sends all kinds of negative and wrong messages to the recipient. My recommendation … use a cell phone that only you answer and which has a professional voice mail message.

Maintaining Control

I was the guest coach on yesterday’s “Ask the Coach” call for Netshare. Since we always have new people rolling into the call, the questions are sometimes repeats from prior months. Yesterday was no exception.

The question was, generally, “when should I follow up after the interview?”

The job search market is tough. Waiting to hear after the interview oftentimes forces you into a frustrating, anxiety–driven state. You think the interview went well, but you hear nothing. It’s been two weeks, and you don’t know what to do or when to do it.

Here’s where maintaining control becomes your most empowering weapon. Ask when you can expect to hear back and follow up by asking permission to call them if you haven’t heard by a time certain. You will know what to do and when to do it.

Maintain control and keep the power.

Of course, my philosophy is that your real power comes from having a 3 to 5–year strategic plan for your career. Knowing where you want to go, when you want to arrive, who you need to know, and who needs to know about you is where the real power lies.

Booked Solid Interviews

I’m currently reading Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid” book and wanted to share this excerpt with you from Chapter 7, Core Self–Promotion Strategies.

“Do offer something of value when first meeting someone, whenever possible. Offer praise, compassion, or a connection. When you can say, ‘I know someone you’ve got to meet,’ or ‘There’s a great book I think may offer the solution to your problem,’ he is going to see you very differently from the person who shoved a business card in his face.”

So I am … highly recommending Michael’s book to you, the job seeker. While the target audience is, obviously, entrepreneurs, there is a wealth of great information for job seekers as well. Like Michael’s “who and do what statements” in place of boring elevator speeches, his list of Do’s and Don’ts at Networking Events, and his advice on identifying target markets.

And perhaps if Michael stumbles across this blog post, he’ll consider collaborating with me on a future book called “Booked Solid Interviews.”