Phones these days are so much more than phones. They’re calendars, computers, and sometimes a credit card. But a phone is also a communication device, one that allows people to call you. And when you can’t take their call, your voicemail is there to help!
While you could use the preset voicemail greeting, it’s pretty bland, so you’ll want to record something new. And if this is the phone number you use for work (or your job search), you want to make sure you have a professional voicemail greeting.
What Is a Professional Voicemail Greeting?
A professional voicemail greeting is the message that plays when someone calls you but you’re unable to answer. It’s similar to the auto-response message you can set your email to send when someone emails you while you’re out of the office.
Why You Need One
Though many business communications are written, sometimes a phone call is the better option. And since your voicemail answers the calls you can’t, it can act as the first glimpse a caller gets into your professional side. Having a professionally crafted greeting indicates that you’re a pro.
Prep Your Greeting
Before you record your voicemail greeting, create a script. You can write it out or have it in your head, but a script ensures you include all the pertinent details and don’t pause mid-message to figure out what to say next!
Then, practice a few times or listen to the playback before finalizing the greeting. You want to speak slowly and clearly because while your greeting may sound fine when you say it out loud, how the voicemail recording picks it up and plays it back may sound garbled or too fast to understand.
Finally, keep your voicemail greeting short and sweet—between 15 and 30 seconds.
What to Say in a Professional Voicemail Greeting
The Essential Details
Include the important details your caller needs, including your name! While that may seem like overkill, sometimes callers aren’t sure they dialed the correct number. Opening your voicemail greeting with your name reassures the other person they called the right number.
If this is a professional voicemail greeting for your job, you can include additional details, like your company name or your work hours. If you’re a job seeker, your name may be all the essential detail you need.
Thanks or Regret
Express either your thanks for the phone call or your regret for not being able to take the call. While you can include both sentiments, it may be a bit awkward, so it’s generally best to stick with one or the other.
Give a Reason
Give the caller a brief reason why you can’t take their call. While most voicemail greetings include phrases like “I’m away from my desk” or “I’m on another call,” you may need to adjust the greeting if you’re gone for an extended period (like on vacation or medical leave).
Explaining why you aren’t answering helps set the caller’s expectations on when they can reasonably expect your response.
The Information You Need
While your phone or voicemail system will likely log the call, there’s no guarantee that the number it records is correct. And depending on your situation, you may need more information than, “Please call me back.”
Give the caller a brief instruction on what information they should leave you. This ensures you get the proper call-back number (or another contact method) and gives you an idea of what and how you need to prepare when you respond.
When You’ll Reply
State when the caller can expect a return phone call. Even something a little vague, like, “as soon as I can,” is better than nothing at all.
If you’re unavailable for an extended period or someone has an emergency, include some information on an alternative contact or a method for reaching you immediately.
Professional Voicemail Greeting Examples
Below are a few examples of professional voicemail greetings for various situations.
Active Job Seeker Voicemail Greeting
Hi! You’ve reached [Your Name]. I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now. Please leave your name, phone number, and a brief reason for your call, and I’ll return your message as soon as possible! Thanks!
Current Worker Voicemail Greeting
Hello. You’ve reached [Your Name], the [Your Title] at [Company Name]. I’m currently away from my desk assisting other clients. Please leave your name, phone number, and a detailed message, and I’ll call you back as soon as I am able.
On Vacation Voicemail Greeting
Hi! This is [Your Name]. I’m on vacation between [dates of vacation] and returning to the office on [date of return]. If you’d like, you can leave a message with your name and phone number, and I’ll call you when I’m back in the office. Or, if you need immediate assistance, you can contact [name of alternative contact] at [phone number or email]. Thanks!
Out on Leave Voicemail Greeting
Hello. You’ve reached [Your Name and company information]. I’m out of the office beginning [start date] and returning on [end date]. While I’m out, you may contact [name of alternate contact] at [phone number or email]. I will be checking email periodically, so you can email me at [email address]. Thank you.
Sending a Message
Your voicemail greeting does more than take messages; it sends one too! Make sure your voicemail greeting is professional, and you’ll set the right tone in your job search and career.
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