By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service

Please share if you know someone who just graduated or will be graduating high school or college, this may be of great help to them.

I’ve spent nearly a lifetime helping companies communicate better with their customers; both on the phone and face-to-face interactions.

Recently, I had a rather in depth conversation with a few graduates who were seeking employment. They were asking “how do I” type questions. It was obvious the skills needed for an interview weren’t all there. I asked if they had any classes in school to help them with this process.

After a few seconds to think about it, it was more obvious they hadn’t had too much training in that area. Not the nitty gritty. Not the actual questions and tips that will make them stand out from the other applicants.

Oh, hey, they had a class on how to do a resume and got information online about interviewing. But the BIG 5 weren’t there. The 5 tips that will really help them get a 2nd interview and perhaps the job itself.

So here they are. Tips for the graduates.

*   When making a phone call to a prospective employer you need to ask for time to talk when they get on the line. Immediately. And “are you busy?” isn’t asking for time to talk. You need to ask, “Mr. Jones, did I reach you at a good (or bad) time?” Or “Mr. Jones, is this a good time to talk?” Something that says I respect your time, I am a respectful person, or I care about your time.

     Just barging into their life, starting up a conversation, thinking your phone call is the most important one, will get you right to the bottom of the list. Remember you are an interruption.

     Using this tip will make you stand out high above the crowd.

*   Writing an email to the employer? TRIPLE check your spelling and grammar. If anything is going to make you look stupid, it’s using the wrong your/you’re or the wrong their/there/they’re. You just graduated remember? They expect more. Use the old ‘when in doubt- leave it out.’ Not sure of a word’s spelling? DO NOT USE IT, use spell check, or have someone proof it. Just don’t misuse the wrong your or their.

*   Drop ONE WORD answers. Not only did you just graduate from high school or college, you also graduated from 3rd grade. And you know 3 words make a sentence. ONE WORD answers are considered rude, and cold. Create sentences that answer the question you’re asked.

*   Think before you speak. Mom or Dad probably taught you that. And it’s a good one. Think about the question the prospective employer is asking. The 1 or 2 second pause will show you’re thinking. That’s a good sign. Answering a question too quickly can make you look as though you have rehearsed and planned your answer. It’s too easy to make a mistake.

*   Keep a SMILE in your voice and on your face most of the time, if not all of the time. The world is a big place and most people like happy, smiling people. They like being around those types. Norman and Nora Negative don’t get good jobs. Complainers don’t usually get good jobs. Don’t kid yourself, your ATTITUDE is on the line. Attitude is like a pimple. Very hard to hide. They’ll pick up on a good attitude and a negative one. Guess which one they want on their team?

*   Good luck and to sneak in #6. Remember, Mickey Mantle didn’t play ball with the Yankees the first year. He paid his dues. You might need to do the same thing. Suck it up. Do the very best you can once you’re hired. The golden rule will win out. Treat others as you’d have them treat you. Show them they made the right choice!

Ok, one more. Never, never stop learning. Good luck to you.

Ok, one more.  Don’t bring your cell phone into the interview. If you “MUST”   Turn the ringer off and put it AWAY.  Unless interviewer asks to see it.

To get more common sense tips from Nancy’s new book, download Customer Service Defined. Filled with ideas, tips, skills and techniques you’ll use immediately and forever.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.