Phone Etiquette Reminders for the Modern Job-Seeker

In our current world where texts, e-mails, instant messages, and social medial communication have overshadowed, to the point of virtually replacing, voice interaction, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of basic telephone etiquette.  Phone Etiquette - image of 2 iphone screensWhen it comes to job searching, however, this protocol couldn’t be more crucial.

While the use of Smartphones has altered our phone practices from what they were even 10-15 years ago, there are still certain fundamentals which consistently hold true.


Be prepared.

The first imperative piece of advice is to always list your cell number as your main contact for potential employers and hiring managers, on your resume or online job application.  Naturally, listing your current work number is out of the question for obvious reasons, even if you have a direct line to your personal desk or office.  Besides being unprofessional, you have no guarantee you are speaking on a secure line, or you can’t be heard by others in the office.  Although many people do opt to include their home number, you are risking having others answer the call or even missing the call you’ve been waiting for altogether.

If you are in the process of job searching, this is definitely the time to make sure your cell phone is fully charged and within reach (barring use while driving, of course).  It may be best to refrain from answering during times when there is a great deal of background noise which could be distracting to you, as well as a prospective employer.  Just be sure to promptly return the call at your earliest convenience.

Additionally, you want to be sure that your outgoing voice mail message gives a responsible impression, should a hiring manager hear it when calling you.  It’s always best to assure that your message resonates as simple and courteous with your name clearly stated.  Pre-recorded novelty messages can give employers an impression of unprofessionalism.


Protocol in place.

Once the preliminaries are set, it’s time to make sure that your first interaction with a prospective employer goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Have a memorized or pre-written message ready if you must leave a voice mail for a hiring manager.  It’s best not to “ad lib” on your first voice message recording.  When leaving your message, be sure to repeat your name and number twice, at both the beginning and end of your message, and speak clearly so they can write down your information without the message needing to be replayed.


  1. If speaking directly to the prospective employer, be sure to sound professional and ready for the conversation. The best way to initiate the dialog is to say, “Hi, this is (your name) calling about the (position) advertised in/on Phone Etiquette - woman speaking on cell phone(publication or website). Would this be an OK time to speak?”


  1. Once you have begun a conversation with the hiring manager, be sure to utilize that time to schedule an interview/meeting. Only speak in further detail if they wish to, as some employers use this time to screen applicants for interviews.


  1. Providing all has gone well, and you’ve landed the interview, be sure to maintain your level of professionalism by not using your cell phone while meeting with your potential employer. Many agree it’s best to refrain from the moment you enter the building.  In fact, turning it off and leaving it in your pocket or handbag, or even locking it in your car is a good way to avoid temptation.


  1. While a brief follow-up call a few weeks following your interview is not unacceptable, many candidates opt to utilize e-mail for this purpose in the form of a “thank you” to their interviewer. You certainly do not want to pester your prospective employer with countless phone calls, reiterating your skills.  It’s possible they may not have an availability that suits your abilities at this moment, but that doesn’t mean they won’t at a later date.  If you have followed the directions of the job posting and applied for a position that matches your skills, they will call you if they believe your qualifications are a match for the job.  Endless phone calls will not get you in the door quicker; if anything, it will hurt your chances.


Following these basic phone etiquette guidelines while job seeking, will surely boost your status among fellow candidates.  The contemporary job hunter who has not lost sight of the simple courtesies of the past will often find the most success in the future.


By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.



The Experienced Exec’s Guide To Corporate Millennials

How do Millennials differ from older executives?  

The 1946-54 Baby Boomers are generally of retirement age now.  They had great employment prospects and opportunities to prosper.  They were basically optimistic and forward-looking.

The second cohort of Boomers (1955-65) had fewer opportunities and resulted in an “After me, you come first” attitude.  From a management perspective they were much more self-focused, which is seldom good for business.

When the so-called Generation X came along (1966-76) they were exposed to increased levels of divorce, and plenty of daycare.  They generally had their own keys for the house, often preparing their own food, and frequently lacked parental supervision for large parts of the day.  Consequently they have high levels of skepticism and a “What’s in it for me?” attitude.  Although well-educated, they entered the workforce with a great deal of pragmatism and caution.  They tend to steer away from risk.

 Boomer_and_Millennial - Older business man and younger employee

What do Millennials offer?

When Generation Y (1977-94), or “Millennials“, arrived on the scene they were incredibly sophisticated and technologically savvy.  Having been inundated by advertising pitches and traditional sales techniques since birth, they developed immunity to it all.  They have very little brand loyalty; seldom get “married” to a concept; and they engage in very flexible thinking.

They are particularly clever at finding new avenues to approach potential clients; advertising pitches that come out of left field; business strategies that seem to make no sense to their older counterparts, but are astonishingly effective.

This is a generation which has experienced information delivery in an entirely new way and they accept advertising only on their own terms.  There are hundreds of cable TV channels, satellite radio, “E-zines”, and most importantly of all, a pervasive Internet.  “Traditional” approaches are not a priority for them, and they think in innovative ways.


Showing the ropes

Without being disingenuous, it is up to the older generation to teach the Millennials among your work staff the ways of your organization, remembering that with as much knowledge and technical expertise they possess coming into their position, their talents must be harnessed, or connected to the corporate “real world” in order to create a proper synergy between the two and successful working environment.


Adapt and integrate

If you’re not a Millennial yourself, you are likely to be a late Boomer or Gen X member, both of which are often known for reluctance to embrace change.  Ideally, building an integrated, cooperative team is the most effective way to progress.

Boomer_and_Millennial - Older business man and group of younger employeesBoomer managers must look at the big picture and make sure that everybody on the team is benefiting.  Gen X managers should fight the urge to figure out every single detail in advance.  This can be hard to do because it’s in our very natures, but Millennials should not be perceived as a threat.  They only want a chance to prove themselves, just like we did when we started out.

However, despite their innovative propensities, in many ways they’re still generally inexperienced. You certainly don’t want to stifle their creativity, but you do want to target it in the right direction.  Consider Thomas Edison, who learned the hard way with his electric generators that they must have governors or they will run wildly out of phase and cause massive damage.


Passing the baton

Technology seems to take center stage within the Millennial group; they intimately understand social media and how it can be used for benefit on command.  Perhaps comparative to a person with a complete set of functional power tools walking into our 1839 Blacksmith’s Shop.

Alternatively, you must use your skills to make sure that they understand the essentials of your organization and business in general.  You must impress upon them that the client or customer is the most important part of the business, and that technology, albeit significant, is but only a portion of the equation.  They should understand that if you don’t have satisfied customers, you don’t have a business.


The Takeaway

Teaching Millennials about customer relations, civility, and quality is essential. Incorporating raw talent and a strong penchant for technology will certainly serve them well, yet ultimately they must learn to deliver what the customer ordered; and if their savvy enables them to get there quicker, then you will all benefit.

Bring them into the fold, and make them an integral part of the team.  Begin to blur the generational line, because you are all now on the same team, regardless of age or generational gaps.  By teaching, you will learn that we are all stronger together.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Are You Limiting Your Job Search?

Just two years ago when we looked at the job market, we clung to our jobs, and hoped that things would get better; and unsurprisingly, they did.

Job Search - JOB WORD_DoorwayWhat truly is surprising is that many of us continued to behave as if nothing has changed.  If we are “brave enough” to seek a new position, it is generally a trepidatious little inquiry about doing precisely the same thing somewhere else.  Understanding where that came from explains why some of us are very cautious about making changes.

Career Advancement

Of course there some companies that are not known for their employee-friendly policies as they cut benefits, decrease wages, and eliminate staff without regard.  Consequently there is always some lingering animosity that may occur.

On the flip side of the coin however, a large percentage of companies have behaved in a decent manner.  They did what they could to preserve jobs while maintaining the viability of their business.

If you are currently unemployed and looking for something, it is not suggested to begin “job-hopping”; the main point here is about expanding your horizons.

Change of Perspective

Are you too focused on a particular title or position, making your online searches too specific?  The world has evolved beyond that.  While some might think it is just silly, office culture has now adopted “progressive” naming conventions that they feel describe the positions more thoroughly.  You will now encounter words such as evangelist, ambassador, and even ninja.  Meanwhile, the old descriptors are falling by the wayside.

If you’re looking for Sales Rep you are going to completely overlook Brand Ambassador; if you’re looking for Recruiting Specialist, you won’t find Personnel Ninja; and as a common Public Relations Director, you’ll never spot Corporate Evangelist.

Put Down the Binoculars

Binoculars give you a detailed view of a single small object; your eyes give you a more general view of everything that surrounds you.  There’s a reason that they put blinders on horses, and not people.  You can do more than carry a single rider, or tow a wagon.

If you are currently a manager, and you are seeking another management job, is that the right path for you?  Management has intrinsic status, of course, but if it isn’t making you happy, will changing to another company make any difference to your job satisfaction?

Many skills are completely transferable.  You might find job satisfaction in Business Development, Project Management, Product Development, Business Analysis, or even as a Freelance Consultant in any one of these fields.

Avoid Comfort

Very few of us enjoy absolute predictability.  If nothing new ever happened in our lives, it would become a mind-numbing horror; most of us would go mad.

Stepping a little outside of our comfort zone is healthy.  I’m not suggesting that an accountant should become an air traffic controller, but there are small steps you can take.  A receptionist can become an executive assistant; a line foreperson can join the R&D team; a salesperson can become a team leader; a manager can become a CEO.  Everything can lead to something else, if you’re not comfortable.

Utilize the Hidden Job Market

Endlessly searching Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Workopolis, and all the other assorted names can be like searching for the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.  It’s been known to happen, but there are a thousand disappointments for every success.Job Search - Online

The majority of jobs still remain unadvertised because the managers and HR staff have smartened up enough to realize that it’s better to get a reference from a current employee.  It saves the hassle of advertising, sifting through innumerable résumés, possibly interviewing dozens of candidates, and in the end being obliged to hire a complete stranger, hoping for the best.

Who, not What!

You know that maiden aunt on your father’s side that you never talk to?  For the last 20 years she has been the head of the accounting department of the largest competitor to your employer.  Yet here you sit, blissfully ignorant of this wonderful resource.

You’d be amazed at how short a chain of connections needs to be made to put you in touch with just about anyone.  Everyone you know has connections to other people, and any one of them can be a steppingstone to your ideal career.

The Takeaway

The World Wide Web is inarguably terrific—just don’t confine yourself to searching employment websites alone.  Well-established or neophyte, you have friends, relatives, community leaders, public services, job fairs, actual tangible physical job boards, and innumerable other resources.

LinkedIn is one of your best employment resources, allowing you to network, interact with the community, and even develop a reputation for useful community participation.  Explore it; find the job listings; create a custom notification that points out LinkedIn listings that match your interests and you’ll receive alerts when something appropriate becomes available.

You can do this.  A perspective change, and a little discomfort, can do wonders for making you see the range of possibilities that are actually there.  The employment market has recovered so get moving, and get to work!

By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

The Top Four Productivity Apps for Businesses

Applications for business_screen-of-an-iphoneJust as there are numerous ways to make a business productive, there are also many ways to measure the success of a business. Happy, productive employees and a profitable bottom line are just a few signs that a business is on the right track; however, maintaining that success takes constant work, including some trial and error. In today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, businesses need to stay up to date on the latest and greatest technological advances.

According to SAP SuccessFactors, “Using technology to maximize your business productivity creates the platform to realize true business success.”

Technology can be used in a plethora of ways and businesses will need to find what works best for them. There are communication applications which allow managers to correspond with other employees and virtually connect with team members; and other applications that can manage anything from time and budget to even payroll. Where is a requirement, there is likely an application available to suit that particular necessity.


Here are just a few of the top business applications to boost business productivity.

  • FreshBooks: This app allows its user to create and customize invoices, accept credit card payments and purchases, and even automate the invoices for reoccurring payments. Available for a free 30-day trial, FreshBooks can be used on any device including Mac and PC, tablets and mobile. Among its many features are reporting and a way to keep track of expenses.
  •  Campaign Monitor: Great for marketing purposes, this app allows the user to create, control, and maintain unique and professional email marketing campaigns. It can be optimized for unique business needs, and has the ability to track the success of the individual campaigns, even keeping track of who opens the email and when. It typically sells from $9 per month for the basic email management to $149 monthly for the premier package, which includes unlimited emails.
  • Wrike: To help coordinate and manage projects, the Wrike app has several features to keep managers and employees on the same page. It has time management capabilities as well as real-time news feed, task and workload management, document collaboration and email integration. It is available for a free for trial, as well as a limited free plan or $49 per month for up to five users.
  • Team Support: This customer focused app helps businesses track their customer activity, and makes it easier to offer support. There is a customer database with contact information and a record that tracks any tickets submitted. Live email and even instant chat are available with connection to the user to CRM system, complete with screen recording and ticket automation. This app also offers a free trial, as well as a video demonstration.


Applications for business_man working at laptop with coworkersResearching various business applications will reveal a vast selection supportive technology. It’s widely known that keeping up with today’s technological advances is necessary if a business is to become and remain successful.  Utilizing these latest applications will keep your company organized and up-to-date, as well as greatly improve productivity among team members, marketing campaigns, and overall success and efficiency.

Since competitors will likely be searching for the best apps for their customers and business growth, there is no better time than now to find the right application for your organization.


By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200