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On the Subject of Subect Lines

Yesterday’s post was on the topic of when to move on. Here’s the subject line from the original email:

To Grow My Hair, Or Chop It Off And Start Fresh?

Now, that’s a lovely metaphor and everything, but seriously, this does not tell me what the email is about. I actually thought she was asking me for hair styling advice, for some reason. I mean, have you seen my logo?

No, that's steam from the coffee mug, doofus.
I look like a lesbian Harry Potter.

I’ve said this before, but I guess it bears repeating: The subject of the email goes in the subject line.

Simple. It’s the eponymy, stupid.1

A clever subject line might catch the reader’s attention, but a too clever subject will just get ignored. The aforementioned reader is lucky I wanted to see what kind of fool thought I knew anything about hair.

But when you’re applying for a job, you might not be so lucky. If the job notice says they need a PA who knows how to make sides, don’t write:

My “Sides” Are Splitting!!!

You’ll go straight to the spam folder. A very simple “Experienced Production Assistant” in the subject line will do nicely.

For any other email, write the subject clearly, with as little ambiguity as possible. The person on the receiving end will either open it or not; that’s out of your control. But you can at least make it easier for them to want to open it.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Like, one of you will laugh at that.
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5 Responses

  1. Not relevant to the blog content but I think you should write a blog entry on “Lunch, and catering” that PAs have to do. How the Producer wants X lunch from Y in Z amount of time. You find all these options and its peak lunch time EVERYWHERE and he wants all 20 orders (not the simplest of orders either) in 35-40min. A blog on what to say, what to do, how to overcome looking like an idiot and making sure everything goes smoothly. I think that is some crucial information PAs need to know and should learn.

    Thanks Love your stuff.

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