In today's job market, applicants can expect to undergo numerous interviews for jobs. While applicants often spend hours practicing face-to-face interview skills, many pay less attention to their phone skills, despite the fact that many interviews start with a call.

Here are some tips:

--Prepare for a phone conversation just as you would for a face-to-face meeting. Use pen and paper to take notes.

--Clean up your voicemail greeting. Listen for how it might sound to a prospective employer.

--Practice how you sound on the phone. Record yourself and listen or have someone else listen and provide feedback.

--Make sure your phone is high quality and is not going to break down during the call.

--Get dressed up for the call so that you will project a more confident image.

During the actual call:

--Treat a phone conversation like you would a face-to-face meeting. Start with a positive and pleasant strong voice.

--If you are the caller, show courtesy by asking if the time is convenient.

--If your call is answered by the employer's gatekeeper, make sure to be nice to this person. Show them respect, and be personable yet professional.

--If it sounds as though there are distractions from other people, politely ask again if it is a good time to talk.

--Take your time when speaking. Be polite and err on the side of being formal and polite.

--Get the caller's phone number and contact information so you can follow up later or send a thank-you.

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--End the conversation with a wrap-up as if you were there in person. Make sure to thank the interviewer for their time and insights.

A few don'ts to remember:

--Make sure you have time to talk if you answer the phone.

--Do not talk while driving.

--Don't use slang language or nonwords.

--Don't eat, chew gum or drink.

Phone interviews are critical for determining whether you will advance to the next stage or for determining whether you get the job.