Communication with Employers
Below are some tips to help you communicate in a polished, professional way by phone and email.
General Guidelines for Communicating with Employers
Communicating with Employers by Phone
- Make sure you are calling from a quiet location, free of any potential distractions.
- Speak professionally, clearly and with confidence.
- Smile when you talk – it helps to make you sound more positive over the telephone.
- Always be very polite with administrative staff and assistants.
- Check and respond to all messages promptly (within 24 hours). You may need to call several times before you are able to connect with the employer. Be mindful of the time you are calling (what are the business hours of the employer you are contacting?)
- If nervous, create a phone script. See below for phone script templates.
- Keep your call short and to the point. Always be prepared to take notes and have your schedule available in case they would like to arrange a meeting.
- End your call politely by thanking the employer for their time and wishing them a nice day.
- If you receive a call from an anonymous number and you think it may be a prospective employer, it's okay to let the call go to voicemail, especially if you are rushing to class or are at all unprepared to take the call. Check the voicemail and call the employer back when you are calm, collected, and prepared to speak with both your resume and the job description in front of you.
- If you are leaving a voicemail, speak slowly and clearly. Be sure to state your first and last name at the beginning of the message and state the number you can be reached at two times. ("again, that number is .......").
Communicating with Employers by Email
- It is preferable to use your Drexel email address, but you can also use a professional address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Use professional business letter formatting, and avoid the use of colors, unusual fonts and emoticons.
- Include a subject line that is clear and concise. Do not use slang or short forms. Common short forms used when texting are unacceptable when emailing, and create a negative first impression.
- Use a professional greeting, avoiding the use of informal language such as "Hey", "Hi there" or "What's up". "Dear Mr. or Mrs." or "To the hiring managers at ....." are examples of professional greetings.
- Be precise and ensure your message is clear to the recipient.
- Proofread and spell check your email before you hit send. Consider having someone else read your email as a second round of editing.
- Check your email regularly and respond to new messages promptly. However, as with responding to phone calls or voicemails, respond when you have the time to be thorough and thoughtful.
- Create an email signature with your contact information and a link to your portfolio (if applicable) or LinkedIn profile.
Mechanical Engineering Student
Contacting Employers to Schedule Interviews
Scheduling Interviews by Phone
If you are nervous speaking on the phone to an employer, it is always helpful to have a phone script ready in advance. Have your calendar ready, and a pen and paper for any notes.
Carefully read the interview instructions before you call. Ensure you know exactly who you are asking for and what the job entails. Research the company briefly online. Have an idea of where they are located and how you are going to get to the interview.
Keep in mind that many employers or recruiters may be managing multiple job openings, so you want to be precise about the job title you're inquiring about. Also, have your resume handy. You may be asked a couple of basic questions, so be prepared to speak briefly about your experience.
Sample Phone Script
Hello Mr./Ms. _______. My name is __________ and I am a Drexel University co-op student. I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the __________________ position with your company and I am calling to arrange a time to meet with you.
Book time and ask any questions you may have, such as:
Is there anything you would like me to prepare for the interview?
Where will the interview be held?
May I ask how many people will be meeting with me?
Listen carefully and take notes. Confirm the time by repeating it back to them.
I look forward to meeting with you on Tuesday at 10 AM. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.
If the employer is not available, leave a concise message and state your name and telephone number slowly and clearly.
Sample Voicemail Script
Hello Mr./Ms. _______. My name is __________ and I am a Drexel University co-op student. I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the __________________ position with your company and I was calling to arrange a time to meet with you. I can be reached at (phone number). I look forward to your call. Thank you.
If Employers Call You
Some employers will call you to arrange an interview time. When you answer, sound professional by saying hello and stating your name. Only answer your phone when you are in a quiet place and have time to talk. If you miss a call or are unable to answer, ensure that your outgoing voicemail message is professional and clearly identifies you. While you are waiting for these calls, make sure you have pen and paper handy at all times, as you never know when they might call. Return any employer phone calls promptly.
Scheduling Interviews by Email
Read any provided instructions carefully. Many employers ask for specific details in the subject line of the email or in the email itself, so be certain to include those. If there are no instructions, put the job title in the subject line. If you are a co-op student, it can also be helpful to include "Drexel University Co-op Interview" in the subject line.
Subject: Drexel University Co-op Interview – ________________ Position
Dear Mr. / Ms. ____________:
I am a Drexel University co-op student and I received notice that I have been selected for an interview for the _____________ position with (company name). I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to learning more about your company.
I am writing today to arrange a time and location for the interview.
It is highly recommended that you provide your availability to simplify the scheduling process. For example, if there are dates or times when you know you are simply unavailable, you may want to state something such as:
I am available any weekday with the exception of Wednesdays, and would be happy to meet at your convenience.
Alternatively, you could provide a link to an online calendar, such as Google, Outlook or Doodle, which allows the employer to view all your available times and select one right away.
I can be reached at this email address, or by phone at _____________. Thank you for your time.
Mechanical Engineering Student
There are many types of interviews related to finding a career. You can learn more tips on our interviewing page. In addition to interviews that are directly related to specific positions at a company, you may be interested in setting up an informational interview. This type of interview allows you to gain insights from a professional in your field of interest as well as expand your professional network.