Recruiters should play by the rules!
No matter your job, email can be the biggest drain of our time. There is always something to send, pay attention to or send a response to. Apparently the average British worker spends 36 days a year answering work emails.
How can you work to process emails, spend less time in your inbox, and more time doing the rest of your job? Unless you are Luis Suarez and can just stop using email, your boss will probably be more than a little annoyed if you ignore your inbox. Instead, use the power of rules available within Outlook to make your life easier.
Setting up rules
The easiest way to filter out some of the noise is to create some rules. There are so many possibilities but even just adding a few basic ones will help. From the top of Outlook, click on the Rules button, then click on Manage Rules & Alerts. If you click on Create Rule it will assume you wish to make a rule about the email you currently have selected in your Inbox. Once you are familiar with rules this is a great option to select.
From this screen, you will see all previous rules you may have added. Click on the New Rule option on the top left.
Now you have the Rules Wizard window open. There are some templates suggested, or you can start from a blank rule. Start from a blank rule for your first one. Once selected, click the Next button.
From there, you can start to add in the logic for the rule. We are telling Outlook, ‘If I get an email that meets this requirement, do this to it’. One of the most common uses would be if you are in an email group at work. Perhaps it’s a catch all account that several people are responsible for such as CV submissions or applications via your website. You need to review them, but perhaps it’s something you would prefer didn’t get jumbled up with the rest of your emails. In the Rules Wizard, tick the condition for ‘sent to people or public group’. This option will then become a link at the bottom which you can click on. Then, find the email group you are a member of. You can see in the example that it has added the email group that was selected. Click the Next button.
Now we need to decide what happens with the email once you receive it. There are many options available, so have fun with what you decide to do with it! To start with, using categories and/or folders makes the most sense. Assigning a category to the emails allows it to be flagged with a specific category. If you group your emails by category, even better (more on that later). You might be tempted to move the emails to another folder, but they can be easily forgotten. If you need to keep a copy of it, select to move a copy to another folder. That way, you see it in your inbox, can delete it, but always have a backup safely stored in your specified folder.
The next screen allows you to set any exceptions (such as if there is a specific word in the subject or body of the email). The last screen allows you to name the rule (if you don’t like the automatically assigned one), then you can run the rule for anything currently in your Inbox. Click Finish and you are done!
Keep in mind that the rules will only work when you have Outlook open. If you are checking your email on your phone, the same rules won’t apply.
Grouping your emails
Now you have some fancy rules in place, make them work for you even more. You have probably used the ‘sort by’ option to sort based on Date or From. Now you have categories, use it to sort by them to give you some nice grouping. If you don’t see Categories in your drop down list, you will need to add it as an option. Simply click on View Settings (this can also be found by right clicking on any one of your headers in the inbox).
Then, click on the ‘Group By’ option.
From there you can drill down up to four levels for your grouping, giving you exactly the format you need. You can also go back to the settings and click on the Columns button, then add or remove columns from your inbox. This will allow you to see more in depth information about each email before you even open it.
Other options for rules
There are so many ways you can use this functionality. Here are some examples that could prove useful:
Using an email pop up alert:
Using flags and level of importance:
Using a specific subject:
How do you try to combat some of the emails you receive each day? Do you have your own system? Are you using Rules already?