Telephone interactions are more challenging than face-to-face interactions in part because there are no visual clues. Often it is important to just be able to get the most basic information, such as a name and telephone number so that a fluent speaker can return the call.
And if you can take a basic message in a language other than English, your ability to do this is something significant to represent in your job search materials.
For example, in an interview, explain the important strategies involved:
Taking control of the conversation by:
- asking for a spelled name (“Su nombre una letra a la vez, por favor“, “Su apellido…“),
- a phone number one-number-at-a-time (“Su número de teléfono un número a la vez, por favor“),
- repeating back the information (“Le voy a repetir la información“), and
- stating that someone will call back in a timely manner (“Alguien le volverá a llamar“).
Knowing to avoid global repetitions is also important when you don’t understand (don’t just say “repita, repita“). That is the opposite of taking control of the conversation.
Here are two examples of how this could manifest in written job search materials such as a résumé:
- developed and employed a script for making appointment reminder phone calls to Spanish-speaking patients at West Central Clinic
- answered an average of 25 phone calls per week and took an average of 15 messages in Spanish for El Centro, a local social service agency.
Those specific action verbs and quantifiable numbers give hiring managers a lot of information: your Spanish is fluent enough to be comfortable preparing scripts for others to use, using it for basic communication on the telephone, and taking reliable messages.
If you can take phone messages in a foreign language, consider highlighting that skill in your job search materials.