Cell Phone Etiquette

How to use your cell phone wisely

By Mary Mahoney, assistant director, The University of Tennessee Career Services


Cell phones have made a tremendous impact on how we communicate with each other. The ability to connect with someone 24/7/365 is amazing, but can also be somewhat overwhelming. Here are some things you need to consider regarding cell phone etiquette.

Record a professional greeting for your cell phone voicemail.

It is important to have a voicemail greeting on your phone, whether you record it yourself or use the automated version. Your voicemail greeting is a reflection of the image you want to present to individuals. People contacting you, especially perspective employers, will form an opinion the minute they hear your voicemail greeting. Be concise with your voicemail greeting. Never include anything that could be offensive to someone. Be selective with the ring-back tone you choose to have on your phone. Keep the selection brief and not offensive or suggestive.

Listen to messages you receive and delete them to clear up space on your cell phone.

Have space available in your voicemail to receive messages. No one enjoys listening to the person’s voicemail greeting, preparing to leave a message, and then being told the mailbox is full and cannot accept a message. An employer who was trying to connect with a potential hire summed up his frustration by stating “I would re-think hiring the person if they could not take the time to listen to their messages, delete them and stay current.” It can be the little things that you neglect that can hurt you professionally.

Proper follow-up from a missed call.

All too often we simply hit redial and then ask the caller who they are and/ or what did they want. It’s first important to see if you have a voice message before hitting redial. Check for a voicemail message and if there is one, listen. Know what your caller needs and be prepared with that information when you return the call. Nothing aggravates someone more than having to repeat the information they left on your voicemail. When returning a missed call from an unknown number, identify yourself with your full name and then state you had a call from this number. Always be polite to the caller; do not say “who is this and what do you want?” It could be an employer calling to offer you a job.

Have you done some of these things to a friend? A coworker? A supervisor? Or worse, a potential employer? If so, it’s time to think how you should handle your cell phone as it relates to your career path.The cell phone is an important tool that we use daily in our personal and professional lives. Use your cell phone wisely.

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