How to Master the Art of Email for Your Future Career
Ever have those days where your email inbox just gets out of control and all you want to do is close out of that window? I do, we all do, and it won’t get any better when we’re out in the “real world” either.
Learning how to take control of your email before it takes control of you can help you now and will make it easier on you later too. Here are just a few simple tips on how to master your inbox.
Related: Hack Tricks – Email
Delete or Archive Unneeded Messages
You already know you can delete the spam, but do you really need that email from your English professor saying class was cancelled a month ago? No, not really.
Since you won’t remember to delete those types of messages at a later date, do so while you’re checking your email. Write down the information, like “no class tomorrow” or “test on Thursday” and then delete or archive the email. Boom. We’re already making progress.
Filter Out Spam Automatically
Hopefully you have most of your subscription emails being sent to an account that isn’t your main email or school-supplied account. If you don’t, or only have a few that come to your main account, you’ll want to apply this hack.
Set up an automatic filter in your email options to send that spam straight to the deleted folder. How? It’s simple. Most emails that are spam have an “unsubscribe” link that also has the text “unsubscribe” as its anchor. Just set it up so emails with unsubscribe in it go straight to the trash and skip your inbox completely.
In the event you want one of those emails, but not all of them, add an exception and only allow it from one sender instead of all of them. Right after setting this up, it might be good to check your deleted folder a couple times to make sure nothing important is accidentally being deleted because the sender put “unsubscribe” in the message.
For a Cleaner Inbox, Make Subfolders
For the good emails that you do want or need to keep, you still don’t need them in your inbox. Make subfolders–and subfolders in subfolders–to organize those old emails you’ve already read.
I have a folder for each organization I’m in, one folder for academics for all class emails, and then a misc. folder (that probably needs to be broken down into a few new folders).
Reply to Email in Batches
Instead of replying as you get them, save them and move them to your folders. Mark them as new so you can see you have some emails in your folders in need of replies and come back to it when you have more time.
If you try to reply to each email as they come in, you will never get through them all and you also won’t get anything else done most of the time. This also allows you to take your time thinking of a reply and to look up any answers you need to before getting back to somebody.
Set a Time to Check Your Email
Just like replying, setting a specific time during the day to deal with new emails can be just as beneficial. Then later, you can have another time to reply to emails.
This works so much better than constantly checking your email inbox for anything new. Very few emails will be so urgent that it can’t wait a few hours or even a day.
Just don’t completely ignore the account and get flooded with hundreds of emails after a month or two of not logging in.
Upload a Good Profile Picture
Most email providers will let you have a profile picture. Make sure your picture is professional, preferably a headshot, and not a selfie or beer-guzzling picture.
This is how people will see you as they read what you are sending them so it is important to send the right image as it is part of your communication that you send off with your email.
Set a Professional Signature
Just as important as the profile picture, your signature is equally important. People like to do different things with their signatures, but no matter what, you really do need more than you name.
If you have any titles, include those and the organization or company it is with. If not, you can either get some by getting involved or just include your major, your email and your phone number.
Whatever you do, be professional, make sure the structure looks nice, and send the right message at the end of your email. Set it up so it is added automatically with a new email to save you time as well!
I remember thinking in high school that email was dead and social media was taking over. That is still not true today. Email is still incredibly important, and being professional and managing your inbox are as well.
Using these tips, along with your own creative ideas, you can do both and your inbox will remain a tame, stress-free part of your life as you transition into your career.