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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Conquer Your Company’s Overflowing Inbox

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 14 Ways to Conquer Your Company’s Overflowing Inbox


    Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What’s your number-one tip for keeping email communication manageable in your business?

    1. Keep Customers Separate

      Aggregate all of your customer-related requests into one software system such as ZenDesk or FuseDesk. Keeping all of this information in one place allows the owner to get a bird’s eye view of all requests and answers, as well as keeping a large category of emails out of individual inboxes.

      Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

      2. Just Pick Up the Phone!

      Matt Mickiewicz

        When email conversions and discussions between team members start flying back and forth on the same topic, usually the best thing to do is to switch the medium to phone. It’s infinitely faster than having a lengthy debate over email, which can often evolve into a thread of 20, 30 or 40 messages.

        Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

        3. Allowing Instant Messages

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          No more lengthy emails that never get to the point. Instead, my team makes sure we’re always available via IM so we can have conversations about what’s on our mind and get instant feedback. We’ve found this to be more efficient than letting emails sit in our inbox for hours or days — or get lost forever.

          Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

          4. Let Someone In

          Louis Lautman

            You need to figure out what emails that YOU must respond to, versus emails that must be responded to. Who can you delegate other emails to? Create a new email address or have them login to your email to answer some. Also, do these emails even need to come in, or can you create an FAQ on your site?

            Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

            5. Spontaneous Video Chats

              Instead of allowing threads of never-ending emails, encourage the use of Skype to chat and call team members whenever needed. Email can get out of hand sometimes so it’s important to resort to direct communication to get things done.

              Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

              6. Now, Not Later

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                I have found that when I let my emails pile up, not only does it take me more time to go through them later on, but it also psychologically creates a mental block when I see more than I can handle at one time. And instead of working through them, I just continue to leave them unread and unopened. I highly recommend keeping on top of them at all times, responding and marking down what I need to do.

                Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr

                7. Start Batching

                Lawrence Watkins

                  I learned this trick while reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” a few years ago. Try to only answer emails two to three times per day– for me, it’s 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. This makes me more productive in other parts of the day because I am not being constantly interrupted by incoming messages.

                  Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

                  8. Scrape the Important Stuff

                    Move your actionable items and important data off of email and in it’s own place. Utilize a business class email that will allow you to easily add contacts, create reminders, set appointments, and store documents while also being able to easily share those items with the rest of your team.

                    Jennifer Donogh, Young Female Entrepreneurs

                    9. Labels, Filters, Stars

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                    Arjun Arora

                      If you’re using Gmail, make the most of the various organizational tools at your disposal to help tame your inbox. Filters automatically routes emails and sorts your inbox before you even open it. Labels are a good for grouping together similar messages and making them easy to find later. Stars help make your inbox actionable by highlighting urgent messages and setting priorities.

                      Arjun Arora, ReTargeter

                      10. Throw the Boomerang

                      Michael Margolis

                        Stop using your inbox as a ToDo list and a WaitingOn list. The awesome Gmail plugin called Boomerang allows you to send emails, with reminders for that email to boomerang back after a set period if it goes unanswered. A priceless productivity tool for letting go.

                        Michael Margolis, Get Storied

                        11. Keep Clients at the ‘Camp’

                          We route all client emails via Basecamp, which allows the right person on the team to reply and run with it. It also keeps everything organized per project, so we don’t have to scratch our head wondering where that piece of communication was.

                          Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media

                          12. Minimize the Overload

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                          Derek Shanahan

                            We’re not fans of having long email chains, especially internally — we use intranets, chat rooms (with recorded history) and deliberately short face-to-face meetings to circumvent long email exchanges. But there’s only so much you can do to minimize email with outside parties, so we use customer service forums to avoid repetitive email inquiries.

                            Derek Shanahan, Foodtree

                            13. Don’t Forget to FollowUp.cc

                            Garrett Neiman

                              Without question, Followup.cc is the best way to take control of your inbox. With Followup.cc, you can send messages away to return at a pre-specified time. This has enabled me to send myself reminders, and also remind myself to ping people after an appropriate window of time. Most significantly, it takes all not-so-urgent email out of my inbox so I can focus on what’s most important.

                              Garrett Neiman, CollegeSpring

                              14. Break the Chain!

                              Devesh Dwivedi

                                Email is part of your business culture! Encourage picking up the phone, talking in person, texting and IM-ing. By spending less time writing and sending emails, you will help other people to spend less time reading them, and if everyone uses emails that wisely in your organization, you’ll have less emails and more real communication.

                                Devesh Dwivedi, Breaking The 9 To 5 Jail

                                (Featured photo credit: Overflowing Inbox via Shutterstock)

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                                Last Updated on August 19, 2019

                                20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

                                20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

                                A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

                                And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

                                Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


                                Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

                                Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

                                1. Leadership Ability

                                Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

                                Example:

                                “Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

                                2. Problem-Solving Ability

                                Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

                                Example:

                                “Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

                                3. Perseverance

                                Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

                                4. Technical Skills

                                Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

                                Example:

                                “Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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                                5. Quantified Results

                                Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

                                Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

                                Example:

                                “Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

                                6. People Skills

                                Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

                                Example:

                                “Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

                                7. Passion in the Field

                                Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

                                The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

                                8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

                                Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

                                9. Your Adaptability

                                Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

                                Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

                                10. Confirming Your Expertise

                                Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


                                While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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                                Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

                                11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

                                If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

                                12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

                                If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

                                13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

                                From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

                                14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

                                If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

                                15. Specifying All Accolades

                                Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

                                16. Transferable Skills

                                You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


                                Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

                                Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

                                Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

                                Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

                                17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

                                Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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                                18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

                                Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

                                Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

                                19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

                                Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

                                Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

                                20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

                                You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

                                Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

                                Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

                                You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

                                Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

                                If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

                                Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

                                Starting at the Top

                                The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

                                For example:

                                Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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                                If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

                                For example:

                                Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

                                Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

                                And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

                                Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

                                Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

                                If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

                                Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

                                Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

                                Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

                                Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

                                Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

                                Putting It All Together

                                A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

                                Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

                                More About Work Skills

                                Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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