Take time to learn these basic guidelines to make it effective, professional and respectful of the person's busy schedule.

  • Keep it short (30 seconds or less).
  • Deliver only your name, reason for calling, the best times to reach you, and your phone number.
  • Show some understanding of how busy your contact is--it will increase your chances for a return call.
  • Choose a brief description of yourself that will pique your contact's interest.
  • Never leave a message indicating that you are job seeking and expect a callback.
  • If you leave a cell phone number, be aware that you may be receiving professional calls on your cell phone and answer accordingly.
  • Be sure your voice mail message on your phone is appropriate for a networking contact or potential employer to hear.

Not Effective/Detrimental

Length:

90 - 120 seconds

Clarity:

Difficult to understand; (0-1) pieces of information:
__ name
__ reason for calling
__ best time to be reached
__ phone number

Amount of information provided:

Way too much information; overwhelming for the listener.

Action requested

Indicated seeking a job/ internship and expect a callback.

Average

Length:

60 - 90 seconds

Clarity:

Provided minimal information (1-2):
__ name
__ reason for calling
__ best time to be reached
__ phone number

Amount of information provided:

Pertinent information was hidden in extraneous information.

Action requested

No action requested.

Effective

Length:

30 - 60 seconds

Clarity:

Provided some information (2-3):
__ name
__ reason for calling
__ best time to be reached
__ phone number

Amount of information provided:

Used a lengthy description of self.

Action requested

Requested action is not clear.

Most Effective

LENGTH:

30 seconds or less

CLARITY:

Clearly provided (all 4):
__ name
__ reason for calling
__ best time to be reached
__ phone number

AMOUNT OF INFORMATION PROVIDED:

Used a brief description of self to pique interest.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Requested information and a time to talk/meet.

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