How to communicate (without texting)

March 12, 2017
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Nowadays, the most common way to contact someone is to send a text message, but that isn’t very professional. When applying for a job or residency, you want to impress the interviewer and show that you’re qualified for the position. There are many ways to communicate in the modern world, but you want to make sure that you do so professionally. Some ideas for other ways to communicate:

  • Write a letter. For some reason, it seems as though the only person that sends me letters is my grandma. However, letters are a very professional way of contacting someone! One of the best pieces of advice that I received about attending interviews is to write the interviewers a thank you note within 48 hours of leaving the interview. An added bonus would be to mention something that you discussed during your interview. This is an easy way to show the interviewer that you appreciated the opportunity, that you’re serious about the position, and to make a final impression.One downside of sending mail is that it takes a while to get to the recipient; this could be an issue if you have any time sensitive information. But who doesn’t like to receive mail?!
  • Send an email. Whether you’re someone that has 250+ unread emails or sorts all of their email into various folders, everyone communicates using email. And as we learned during this past election season, emails are forever. Well kind of, but my point is that you want to be careful about what you write in an email because it can not be taken back once it’s sent. Emails are a fast and easy way to get in touch with someone, but it doesn’t always result in an immediate response. So write a professional email and be prepared that it may take a day or two to get a response.
  • Speak to them over the phone. This is another forgotten art of communication. Whenever I call a friend, I feel as though they’re confused as to why I called instead of sending a text message. This is the quickest way to get in touch with someone and, thanks to cell phones, can be done from anywhere, which can be a blessing and curse. It’s convenient to be able to call your friend while grocery shopping but it can be difficult to understand someone when there’s a lot of background noise. If you’re going to call someone to ask a question about a position or interview, make sure that you’re somewhere quiet and with few distractions; you want the person on the other end of the phone to hear and understand you. This is even more important if you have an interview over the phone! It would be really unprofessional to have any music or TV playing in the background while trying to persuade the interviewer that you deserve the position.
  • Talk to them face to face. The majority of interviews are done face to face. This is the best way for an interviewer to get a feeling for who you are; they are able to see how you present yourself, how you react to their questions, and how you treat everyone around you. While you want to be courteous, polite, and honest, you want to make sure that you’re staying true to yourself and that you’re not a robot spewing answers that you think they want to hear; believe it or not, interviewers are able to tell if you’re lying!

For a successful interview you should use all of these types of communication: connect via email to arrange your interview; talk to them over the phone to answer any last minute questions; speak to them face to face during the interview (whether that’s in person or online); and finally write a letter to say thank you for taking the time to interview you and to reiterate your interest in the position. And don’t forget that these types of communication can (and should) be used for everyday life, not just for an interview!

About Maeve Daly: Maeve Daly is a third year dental student at the University of New England College of Dental Medicine in Portland, ME. She is originally from Ann Arbor, MI and received a BS in Biology from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, Maeve enjoys reading, baking, and watching football – Go Blue!