What Is in That Email? Use of Subject Line


You are sitting down to your computer, netbook, tablet, iPhone, smartphone, or whatever other technology gadget you use to review your incoming emails. You only missed a day and boom – 50 emails in 8 hours. How to sort through those emails outside of the known senders? That is where the Subject Line becomes a valuable tool; not only for the recipient but for the sender.

As a business professional you want your email noticed. If you are looking for a response rather quickly, you want the recipient to know its you and what the content holds. And for file management, sorting can be made easier.

All of the above can be done by utilizing the Subject Line of the email. Example:

Customer Name – Topic of Email with Due Date

Estate of L. Doe – Inventory due 05.01.2012 – Documents attached to sign and return with this setup, the recipient will know the subject, the topic of the email, and deadline

Company Name – Introduction of Product

ABC Company – New line of latex gloves – would like to schedule a time for a review

Again the recipient will know where the email is coming from, the product the email will discuss, and outcome

Your Name – Purpose – Attachments

JH Doe – Interested in Manager Position posted 04.01.12 CD – Resume Attached

The recipient will know my name, what the purpose of the email is, and what is attached

With both of the above examples, the recipient does not need to fully open the e-mail at the first viewing, which can be hard to read sometimes on those little 2×2 screens. The recipient can prioritize to review later or as in the first example, will know to wait until at a printer. In addition, as with the first example, a due date was provided, so the recipient can transfer this due date to their calendar.

Usage of the Subject Line for the sender can assist in placing like e-mails in folders for file management or review later on. Your new line of latex gloves, who did you contact and hear back from? Go to your sent folder and search for Latex Gloves and all sent items with those words in the Subject Line will appear.

How many e-mails did you send and receive on the Estate of L. Doe to place on your billable hour invoice? You can either leave your sent e-mails in the Sent Folder and use the search for L. Doe in the subject line or you can move all L. Doe e-mails to a new folder.

I cannot tell you how many e-mails I have received from candidates looking for a position and have nothing in the subject line. A wasted opportunity to show your professionalism and management skills.

In this age of “quickly and on-the-go;” tools as simple as the Subject Line can make it so. Scam, Virus Carriers, Phishing e-mails are a fact of life. Usage of the Subject Line can assist in filtering even further for both the sender and the recipient.

PS – good for personal emails as well. How often has a friend sent you an email stating “oops, my email got hacked and sorry,” and you had already opened it and downloaded a trojan. Take a look at the subject lines in your next email. You will be amazed.

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