9 Simple Tricks to Get People to Respond to Your Emails

I had spent the entire week updating my résumé and writing the perfect cover letter, the day tweaking my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to be just right for the job I was applying to, and HOURS crafting the email I hoped would get me the job.

And then…crickets.

I’m sure you’ve been in that position too—refreshing your email inbox every 15 minutes hoping for a response that just never comes.

Whether you’re applying for a job or just trying to get your boss to answer a question, a lot can hang on a simple email. Getting people to open, read, and answer your emails could mean the difference between staying stuck at your boring job with the fluorescent lights and the copy machine and getting hired as a Ruby developer. Or going unnoticed for your hard work and getting a raise.

As annoying as it is when people ignore your emails, it goes both ways. How many times have you received an email and let it sit unread in your inbox all afternoon, and then all week, until it finally disappears into the abyss of your inbox? Heck, right at this moment I’m staring down the barrel of an inbox with 13 emails I want to read and answer, but just haven’t gotten to yet. And that’s not even including the newsletters. (::gulp::)

But I have a secret weapon that can get you out of that waiting game: subject lines.

Think about it. Before someone can even think about answering your email, they have to open it. And before they open it? They see your subject line.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to open an email that says “Free stuff inside just for you! (time sensitive)” than I am to open one that says “2 quick favors please.”

It might seem strange to focus on subject lines, but in reality, they’re a lot like headlines on blog posts and news articles—the subject line or headline is all you see before you decide to read a post or email, or ignore it....more