10 Tips for Professional Communication

Professional Communication is any communication in writing, text or verbally in a workplace or job search setting. It is beyond how you talk on the phone. It starts the moment you share your email or phone number with a new connection in your network because these small details matter. 

Let’s break down ways you can ensure your email and phone correspondence get you noticed for the right reasons.


  1. 1.) Don’t skip the subject line – To ensure an email is not deleted as spam, use a subject line. The subject is a way to address your specific intention, such as “Sales Professional Requests Informational Interview.” 
  2. 2.) Introduce yourself – Take a sentence or two to explain who you are and how you received your contact’s email address. This is especially important for referrals or online directories. 
  3. 3.) State your request – Explain why you are reaching out for help and describe what you hope to gain from the connection. Be specific and maybe even include one or two questions that can be answered in a response.
  4. 4.) Close the sale – Include your contact information and ask for an opportunity to connect again for a more in-depth conversation.
  5. 5.) It’s all in the details – 
    • – “Plz send info 2moro” is not appropriate in professional communication. Remember to proofread and spell out acronyms. 
    • – Choose an email address that is simple with some combination of your first and last name. Ex: markjohn@gmail.com or mjohn@gmail.com.
    • – Think office memo. This involves creating a signature line that represents you.
    • – Include a short salutation, your name, email address and phone number. 
    • – Mind your manners. Remember that someone is setting aside time for you. Don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.”


  1. 1.) Create a good first impression – If you have a ringback tone that is dated, you should consider removing it. A potential employer doesn’t need to know your favorite song when they’re deciding if you’re a good candidate for a position. 
  2. 2.) Unavailable? Don’t answer the phone – If you aren’t available or are in a noisy place, don’t answer the phone and let it go to voicemail. Simply follow the instructions on the voicemail. Recruiters would prefer for you to call back when it’s more convenient than having you put them on hold or asking them to repeat themselves because you can’t hear them.
  3. 3.) Introduce yourself immediately – The caller wants to know with whom they are speaking. For example, “Good afternoon, this is Mark” or “Hello, this is Mark John.”
  4. 4.) Connectivity – If you don’t have great cell reception and are worried you will be asking, “Can you hear me now?” the entire time, let the call go to voicemail. Drive or walk to an area with good cell reception before you call them back. For scheduled calls, make the extra effort to test your phone in advance. 
  5. 5.) Create a professional voicemail – Have a simple but personalized voicemail. Having no voicemail set is the same as having an unprofessional voicemail message. The elements you want in your voicemail:
    • – Simple Greeting: Hello; Thanks for your call; Sorry I missed your call
    • – Full name: This is Mark Brewer.
    • – Action Item: Please leave me a message at the beep 
    • – Ensure you are emptying your voicemail out periodically so that it isn’t full and the person calling is able to leave a voicemail.

The moral of the story here is that professional communication can make or break your job search. By implementing these steps, you’ll ensure you’re putting your best foot forward for recruiters and hiring managers. Make sure to check out our Professional Communication Guide, Networking Success Guide and our article on Bringing Your Best Self for Interview Success. Good luck!

Taylor Jernigan is a Talent Development Professional and volunteer at Hire Heroes USA. Hire Heroes USA provides free job search assistance to U.S. military members, veterans and their spouses, and we help companies connect with opportunities to hire them. We have a proven track record of success helping over 75,000 veterans and military spouses get hired since the company was founded. The services never expire. Sign up today at www.hireheroesusa.org.