Undergraduate Blog / Career Development


You have just found your dream job online, so you update your resume, write the perfect cover letter and you submit your application!  You’re totally qualified!  There’s nothing stopping you from getting that interview….or is there? Through my experience in corporate recruiting and career services, I’m here to tell you that even if you meet all the qualifications, there’s something you may have done (or didn’t do) that could prevent you from landing that first interview.

Consider the following:  The recruiter gets your application, and they are very impressed by your qualifications.  They call you to discuss…Ring, Ring, Ring…”I’m sorry, but the person you are calling has a voice mailbox that has not been set up yet.” Or “the person’s mailbox you are trying to reach is FULL. Please try again later.”

Key takeaway from this scenario:  Someone is trying to get in touch with you at the phone number you provided.  You might have just made it more difficult or uncomfortable for them to leave you a message.  In a world of iMessage and FaceTime it’s easy to ignore your voicemail, but if you’re applying to jobs, you need to get out of that habit. In this scenario, the recruiter has a choice to make. They might send you an e-mail and wait for you to reply, or worse, they move on to the next qualified person on their list.

As dramatic as that sounds, I’ve heard directly from recruiters at Fortune 500 companies, who say that they didn’t have the time to wait for a student to check their email.  While you are not glued to your email all day, there is an important expectation for a prompt response. Just as you would expect a faculty member to return your e-mail or voicemail in a timely manner, recruiters would expect the same, if not more urgently.

Maybe you have a voicemail set up, so you don’t think this advice is applicable to you?  Please re-consider, because it does!  If you’re applying to jobs you should do an audit of your phone and make sure it is representative of the professional you are.

  1. When did you record your voicemail greeting and is it considered professional?
  1. Do you have a lot a voicemails in your mailbox already? Make sure you delete old voicemails and clear your deleted folder so there is space for someone else to leave you a message.
  1. Do you have a ring back tone on your phone? Maybe you want to reconsider this feature (even if it is your jam, or that song that was popular in the early 2000’s).

Don’t let these small details disqualify you, you are better than that! Do everything you can to land that first interview.

Don’t assume that having a voicemail will guarantee you a job, but make sure you do everything you can to make yourself the most competitive candidate you can be.  When opportunity calls…make sure you answer or at least have a professional voicemail set up!