Posted by: Dana Lee | April 21, 2009

What is your verbal image?

During a job-search, your verbal image is one of the most important tools in your arsenal.  If you are searching for your next position, there is a 98% chance that the first impression someone will form about you will be based on your voice.  Whether you are leaving a voice mail, speaking to a potential employer, participating in a phone interview or recording your outgoing message…you are letting people know who you are.

I get calls from candidates every day, and I look forward to speaking with candidates who express themselves well.  One of the best things that you can do to improve your job search is to work on your verbal image.

Here are the things that comprise your verbal image:

  • Your outgoing voice mail that others hear when they call
  • The voice mail messages you leave others
  • Your “music on hold” or ring back
  • Your tone in a conversation

 What do you need to do to maximize your verbal impact?

  1. Show a high energy level, but keep it smooth and (most importantly!) breathe…
  2. Prepare a 30 second infomercial about yourself – rehearse it and record it!
  3. Repeat your name and phone number in voice mails (say it at the beginning of the message, and again at the end)
  4. Call from a land line whenever possible; if a cell phone is your only option, be sure you have the best possible reception
  5. Stay focused on the task/message/conversation at hand
  6. Record a professional outgoing message for your callers to hear
  7. Make sure that your ring back or music on hold gives you a professional image

 What you DON’T want to do when trying to maximize your verbal impact:

  1. DON’T have an unprofessional outgoing message on your voice mail:  DON’T use slang or foul language, DON’T let your child be the voice that other callers hear and DON’T use the pre-recorded outgoing message on your phone system – it sounds cold and robotic
  2. DON’T ramble or “fly by the seat of your pants” in the message or conversation
  3. DON’T talk while standing outside or in a place with loud background noises
  4. DON’T have food or gum in your mouth
  5. DON’T get long winded!  Keep it brief!
  6. DON’T use fillers (“Uh,” “You know,” “Like”)

Your 30-second Infomercial
You need to be able to describe yourself , what you do, and why someone should hire you in a concise 30-second introduction.  We call that your 30-second infomercial. 

How to develop your 30-second infomercial:

  1. Write it down!
  2. Rehearse it
  3. Record it
  4. Listen to it
  5. Practice and Improve
  6. Repeat steps 2-5!

If you are calling in reference to a job, or if you are participating in a phone interview….Be prepared for open ended questions:

  • “Tell me about yourself…”
  • “What are you looking for in a position?”
  • “What questions do you have for me?”

The bottom line is this – FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING!  Make sure your first impression (even if it is verbal, and not visual) sets you apart from others!!


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