What is professional communication? Do you know? In an article on hubpages.com, professional communication is described as the “oral, written, and visual discipline within a work place context…” But what does this topic really encompass? It is undoubtedly a set of expectations to be followed when you are applying for jobs, and even after you start your career. Here we will address some of the most pressing issues and clearly outline employers expectations when it comes to professional communication.
As you may know, Career Services frequently partners with area employers to hold on-campus interviews. This is an excellent opportunity for students to interview without having to make travel plans. Students can meet face-to-face with employers. One of the biggest taboos in the interview process is unprofessional communication. Cell phones can become very disruptive during interviews. Never answer texts or phone calls while you are in an interview. It seems like common sense, but believe it or not, it does happen. Wikihow.com suggests turning your phone OFF completely before you head into an interview. This is the best way to ensure that you will not be interrupted by or even tempted to check your phone. The employer that wrote the article on wikihow.com talked about a woman who answered a personal call in the middle of her interview, and talked for 10 minutes! This gives the interviewer the impression that the interview is not important to you, and therefore will not be interested in making you a priority for hire. Take their advice and leave your phone off. It is even a good idea to turn off your phone before you get into the building. If you walk in talking on your phone, you don’t appear attentive and people in the building may get a bad first impression of you. Just turn it off!
Another recent employer told Career Services that six job candidates in one day failed to show up for their scheduled interview without so much as a phone call or email to the employer letting them know they could no longer make it. This sends a big red flag to a potential employer, and will prevent them from granting you a make-up interview. Always remember to write down the date and time of your interview on a calendar or a self-planner and double check the time and place. If you are unable to make it to your interview, let the interviewer know as soon as possible. A quick phone call is the best approach, but an email is also appropriate if written professionally.
This brings us to the next professional communication topic: electronic correspondence. The number one rule in professional emailing is to always use correct English grammar: Never, ever, ever use texting slang or emoticons like lol, thanx, cya, b4, :), , etc. This makes you appear extremely unprofessional, not to mention childish. It is also recommended that you avoid using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. This is commonly conceived as “shouting” and may be misinterpreted by the receiver. If you are emailing to cancel an appointment with a potential employer, be clear and honest. If you are no longer interested in the position, thank them for their interest in you and inform them that you have decided to look elsewhere. If you wish to cancel and reschedule, say so. Ask the interviewer if there are any available times that you could meet, and give suggestions on times that may work for you. If you express interest and a willingness to be flexible, an employer may be more likely to give you a second shot.
It is important to remember that in a professional setting, there are certain expectations that must be met. Using your cell phone, not showing up to meetings, and sloppy emailing techniques are all ways to show a potential employer that you may not be 100% committed to the interview, therefore they won’t be 100% committed to you either. Practice your professional communication skills and follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to making a good impression. Also check out the Career Services website to get more tips on interviewing and find out more about other on-campus interviews.