Bridgewater Experts: How to Communicate Professionally Throughout Your Job Hunt

Melissa Jones, one of our Business Coordinators here at Bridgewater, is a pro when it comes to communication. Here she offers her advice on communicating with potential employers when you’re on the look-out for a new job:

As a Business Coordinator, my job is a varied one; liaising with candidates and clients (both on the phone and via email), reviewing CVs and greeting candidates that are being interviewed at our Head Office constitute just a few of my many responsibilities!

One thing is for sure, thanks to my job, I like to think I know a thing or two about communication. Time and time again I see examples of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to verbal and written communication. When you’re looking for a new job, never underestimate the massive effect that what you say or write can have on the success of your application.

Your skills and experience may be great, or you might be a whiz when it comes to wowing an interviewer, but your communication can really let you down if it’s not up to scratch, or if it portrays you in a certain way. That’s right, what you say/write and how you say it can sway a potential employer’s opinion of you! One slip, and you may not even reach the interview stages, so you need to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward whenever you communicate with anybody in relation to a new job.

Your CV

More often than not, your CV will be the first chance you have to make a good impression on a recruiter or manager – and first impressions count! Trust me, I know that updating, editing or even creating a CV can be an arduous and tedious task even at the best of times, but the payoff for investing time and effort in this document can be huge.

You’d be surprised at the number of CVs we’ve seen that look like the writer simply couldn’t be bothered – if you can’t put the effort into writing a CV, what are you going to be like on the job? You may be an extremely dedicated and hard-working employee, but a slapdash and sloppy CV says otherwise. An informative, easy to read, well-presented and error-free CV will ensure that you’re off to a flying start.

My top tips to ensure that you come across as professionally as possible through your CV:

  • Don’t use slang/too many abbreviations (whoever is reading your CV may not know what these all mean).
  • Don’t be too casual in your language – this is a formal document.
  • Do make sure that your formatting and layout are neat and clear.
  • Do include as much relevant information as you can BUT keep it concise (no waffle).
  • Do check for any errors (then check again… And again).

Your emails

We’ve all gone digital and a lot of us are busier than ever, so the chances are that you’ll probably be in contact with a potential employer via email before you get a chance to knock their socks off with your telephone manner. Being so accustomed to online communication, such as messaging via social media and sending internal emails, can make us feel a little too comfortable when responding to all emails. Don’t fall into the trap!

Remember that it’s just as important to present yourself professionally via email as it is over the telephone or in person. Every point of contact you have with an employer is an opportunity for them to assess you, so make sure that they see how polished and what an asset you are whenever you can, even via email.

My top tips to ensure that you come across as professionally as possible through your emails:

  • Do use the correct professional greetings (e.g. Dear Sir/Madam/[contact name], To Whom It May Concern). Once you have a response, feel free to match their greeting; if they say “Hi”, it’s totally fine for you to do the same.
  • Don’t forget to close your email appropriately (e.g. Yours Sincerely/Yours Faithfully).
  • Don’t be too casual.
  • Do remember to check your email before you send it to make sure there are no errors and that you’ve included everything you need to.
  • Do check your email signature (especially if you’ve had your email address for a long time).
  • Don’t use an email address that is unprofessional/inappropriate – if you’re unsure, it may be worth opening a new account for all of your job applications.

Your telephone manner

This one is a biggie. Anyone involved in the recruitment process is usually well-versed when it comes to what good and bad candidates sound like – so much so that they can usually tell whether or not someone will be right for the job within a few seconds of a phone call!

Therefore it’s of utmost importance to whip your telephone manner into shape. To dazzle a recruiter via telephone, you need to speak clearly, confidently and come across as personable – all of these things say more about your personality and abilities than you think.

Everyone has their ‘telephone voice’ (mine makes me cringe every time I hear it), but it’s good to have one; if you sound too relaxed or overly casual, you’re unlikely to portray yourself as being professional.

My top tips to ensure that you come across as professionally as possible through your telephone calls:

  • Do answer your phone in a professional manner at all times if you have been applying for jobs.
  • Do check that your voicemail message is appropriate.
  • Don’t forget your manners.
  • Do be friendly (to anyone you speak to, even if it’s not the person you’ve been dealing with – people talk and mud sticks!).
  • Don’t make outbound calls in loud areas or anywhere with distractions.
  • Do have all the information you need before you make the call (you’d be surprised to learn just how many candidates call back without even knowing which job they’ve applied for!).
  • Don’t be overly friendly, especially before you’ve built a rapport with someone – it’s best to save the “mate”s and “love”s for your friends!

Good communication skills are a sure-fire way to ensure that you present yourself as a polished professional during your job hunt. Follow these tips and you’ll definitely make a great impression on a potential employer!

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