Throughout my 25 year career as a business professional, I have seen business world communications evolve from letters on beautiful business stationary and personal handwritten note cards, to personal assistants answering your business phone and transferring the call or taking personal messages. Now, we have become much more relaxed in our communication in the business world. We give out our personal cell phone number, and we use personal and business emails, as well as social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, etc.
So what kind of impression are you leaving with this new technology? Does your cell phone have music blasting while “your party is being reached” or does it have a professional message stating your name and that you are not available right now, but will return the call at your earliest convenience. Voicemail messages also reflect who and what you are. Unprofessional voicemail messages that have a cutesy, negative or suggestive tone and say things like “I will call you back if I like you” or I “don’t want your drama” send a strong message about your personality. It could be a concern to a potential employer or anyone you are doing business with. That might be the message you wish to convey to your friends, but it does not belong in the workplace or business world. A voicemail should be simple and pleasant such as “you have reached Susan Jones, please leave a message and phone number, and I will return your call at my earliest convenience.” Don’t get cute with poems, rhymes, using children’s voices or other voices, music, etc. Voicemail messages that say anything more than your name and leave a message can be perceived as unprofessional.
Applying for a job, loan or college? You may want to rethink your firstname.lastname@example.org email. Get another that reflects a more professional profile. If your name @gmail.com is not available, then try adding a number after it or your middle initial. It is important to remember your email address and cell phone message reflect not only your personality, but your professionalism. It is fine to have your personality be reflected in your email address for family and friends, but you should be conservative when using it to conduct business. Whether you are looking for a job, enrolling in a college or applying for a loan, an unprofessional email address can send a red flag.