5 Guidelines for creating almost perfect email subject lines

Ah subject lines…

Those less than ten-word phrases that can entice your potential reader to actually chose your email out of the long list of email in the inbox.

Ah subject lines… aren’t they a joy to create?

I wish I could tell you that somewhere out there is the perfect subject line, one that could ensure your emails are opened.  However, I can tell you that creating almost perfect subject lines is possible and it starts with understanding certain guidelines about your readers 5 guidelines to be exact.

1. People do NOT like to have their time wasted

I don’t need to tell you how much people value their time. When it comes to your emails, you have at most, only a few minutes to get your message across. When it comes to your subject line, you have only a few seconds to capture their attention. It’s no surprise then that subject lines with less than 50 characters have open rates 12.5% higher than those with 50 or more, and click-through rates are 75% higher.

2. People won’t act unless told to do so

Before sending your email, stop and ask yourself: What action do I want the recipient to take?

Keep in mind your subject line will be the first impression you’re email has on your reader.   Making the subject it your first call-to-action will improve the likelihood of your email being opened and that action being taken.

3. People respond to numbers

Numbers help quantify any message and put the content people are receiving into terms they understand. Whether it’s a percentage (Learn how to grow your Facebook fan base by 400%) or a list (10 steps to getting more friends on Facebook) or a monetary value (How one business made $5,000 from marketing on Facebook)—numbers can take a complex problem like getting better results on Facebook and present it in a way people will respond to.

4. People are more likely to act when they feel a sense of urgency

Please do not take this as a call to add “ACT NOW!” or “LIMITED TIME OFFER!” to every one of your subject lines. But do take it as a call to consider using urgency to invigorate your customer base. This is especially true if you’re running a promotion, having a sale, or trying to drive attendance to an upcoming event. In these situations, the difference between using a subject line like: “Our annual end of summer sale is next week” or “Only 5 days until our end of summer sale begins” can be huge. One tells people you’re having a sale and the other tells people you’re having a sale and they better start getting ready.

5. People care more about the sender than the message

While the content of your email and the design of your subject line are important—nothing is more important than the relationship the recipient has with the sender (that’s you!). According to a recent Constant Contact study, 64% of people open emails because of the organization it is from; compared with 47% of people opening emails because of what is in the subject line.

Want the best results? Tell people who the email is from in the subject line.

Here are three ways to do that using my fictional business, Pinkham’s Pies:

[Pinkham’s Pies] We’re sharing our secret apple pie recipe

A secret pie recipe from Pinkham’s Pies

Pinkham’s Pies News: Our secret apple pie recipe revealed

The Bottom Line

Your e-mail competes with; other personal e-mails, e-mail marketing communications, work e-mail and those always welcomed joke emails!!!   To be heard above the noise your subject line must set you apart but at the same time you have to establish a connection with your readers that will compel them to open your email just because it is from you.  Ah those subject lines!!!!!

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

While LinkedIn represents a pure play on next generation online recruiting, Facebook is instead seeding numerous markets. Facebook has massive user activity and social data, but is still relegated to personal use and content sharing. Everyone knows that Facebook will look to disrupt major online marketplaces (recruiting, auctions, eCommerce, search) etc… but for right now, it seems much more focused on acquiring users and building traffic.

Facebook itself has not focused on recruiting, which leaves a lucrative white space open to technology startups. Recruiting technology companies are fighting to gain market share and traction before either: A. Facebook develops its own recruiting technology or B. Facebook entirely concedes professional networking to LinkedIn.

Technology companies approach recruiting with Facebook in very different ways. Each of these five types of technology have been receiving heavy interest and investment lately:

  • Social distribution: Recruiting technology that focuses on delivering the job through a normal channel, such as a career jobsite or job board, but then enables social distribution through Facebook and other services. These companies use the social graph of the employees at the company recruiting. For example, a job is posted through the company website and then “pushed” out through the company Facebook page and individual employee accounts for magnified and focused distribution.
  • Metadata Layering: Facebook has tons of personal data, but for professional data, it’s about as useful as eharmony. Entire companies are springing up based on the Facebook social graph, which focus on overlaying additional professional data (or metadata) on top of Facebook. These services trust that Facebook will be the de facto standard for user authentication on the web – all that is needed to recruit with Facebook is to add a professional contextual layer.
  • Recruitment Ad Distribution: Facebook is an incredibly efficient advertising platform. Services such as Facebook sponsored stories “socialize” advertisements through the endorsement of friends. These personal ads coming from a user’s own friends seem like an ideal platform for job referrals and recruitment marketing. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on Facebook advertising – delivering efficient ways to measure recruitment metrics, spend, and channel performance.
  • Facebook Page Optimization: Most large companies have begun using their Facebook page as a primary vehicle for branding and company communication. Delivering employment branding and actual jobs through the Facebook page is an obvious strategy – but one that requires expertise that most HR departments don’t have internally. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on the delivery of optimized Facebook pages for recruitment: improving employment brand, measuring engagement, building fans, and efficiently serving geo-specific jobs.
  • Talent Communities: Facebook provides an ideal way to build highly focused and engaged groups of people. However, it’s a bit harder to engage a large group in a systematized way with recruitment campaigns. Additionally, Facebook provides administrators of pages and groups with little user data. Some companies are focused on methods and technology to build large pools of focused talent to meet the recruitment needs of clients.

The potential market for recruitment on the word’s most popular website is obviously staggering. Investment dollars are flocking to support technology startups that promise efficiency of recruiting with Facebook. The incredible success of LinkedIn’s IPO will no doubt increase venture capital interest in social recruitment technology.

The Bottom Line

Unless Facebook itself becomes a job board, the opportunity for startups to leverage its massive social graph for recruiting is clear. Of course, it is not a zero sum game – more than one technological method for recruiting with Facebook may gain traction. Additionally, if any one particular startup emerges as the clear winner, they may include all of these types of services in their products.   Smart Job Searchers should center their social media job finding activities to LinkedIn until a Facebook solution comes online.

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Graduation 2012: Is it the most depressing time of the year?

This year nearly two million graduates will be vying for a limited number of jobs. A full-time salary with benefits sounds great however; few new grads will land one. A recent report from Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession found that just one in two college graduates earning diplomas during the years 2006 to 2011 is now employed full-time. And only 60 percent of 2011 graduates employed full-time are working in jobs that require four-year degrees.

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers paint an even bleaker picture for the class of 2012

High Student Loan Debt – USA Today

The average student debt load tops $25,000 in the U.S., while the job market for recent graduates continues to struggle. More than 95 U.S. colleges report that their 2010 graduates — the most recent data available — owed on average more than $35,000, and 73 colleges reported that more than 90% of the 2010 class had student loan debt, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt.

Underemployed – The Baltimore Sun

An analysis by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston estimates that last year, about 38 percent, or 760,000, of the 2 million employed young graduates with bachelor’s degrees were “Underemployed” — working jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
Is this really the most depressing time of the year?

With all of this bad news no wonder some consider college graduation normally one of the happiest times for hard working graduates and long suffering parents, the most depressing time of the year.

All is not lost

In light of the dismal jobs outlook, high student loan debt and slow economic recovery, all is not lost.  An employer survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicates that companies expect to hire 29,237 graduates this year, up 10.2 percent from 2011. Internship offerings are up 8.2 percent from a year ago. Job postings are triple what they were in 2010. The median starting salary for the class of 2012 jumped 4.5 percent to $42,569 from a year ago, the association reported.

 

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Bethy Hardeman who writes on credit, personal finance and the economy for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website has come up with 3 Smart Job Search tips for the class of 2012.

1. Clean up your online profiles and get networking.

Your future employer can — and probably will — use your social network profiles during the employment screening process. A recent study found that “69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles.”

The good news is that nearly as many recruiters responded that they have hired a prospect based on his or her positive social media presence. After you’ve cleaned up your social network profiles, start using them to network with companies you want to work for. If you don’t already have one, create a LinedIn profile. LinkedIn is the top network used by recruiters.

2. Perform a financial health check-up.

Now that you know employers might do a credit check, find out where you stand by getting a copy of your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and your free credit score at CreditKarma.com. For those looming student loan debt repayments, set up an account with ReadyForZero, which helps you prioritize your debt. Lastly, monitor your entire financial profile with a Mint.com account. You’ll be able to set up and adjust your budget based on your typical expenses.

3. Become a volunteer or an intern.

If you can’t find a full-time position right away, bolster your resume with some unpaid work. Students who completed an internship while in college reportedly earn nearly 15 percent more on average than those who did not. Check out VolunteerMatch and InternMatch to find a spot that fits with your schedule and skills set.

The Bottom Line

The Smart Job Searcher knows that graduation is truly one of the best times of the year!  As you receive your degree take your destiny into your own hands.  Yes you are competing in a difficult job market; yes you may have student loan debt and yes the outlook for the future may look depressing. But remember that you’re not alone you have a fabulous support system of your classmates, your college career center even +-your parents.  Use them, lean on them they all have a vested interest in you and want to see you employed.

Are You A Facebook Idiot?

No one wants to be an idiot, especially when it comes to Facebook where there’s the chance for thousands of people, including recruiters and potential employers, to see it.

I have been on Facebook since 2007 and have made my share of mistakes that have made me look like an idiot.  The social media and email marketing experts at Constant Contact recently compiled a list of mistakes that can make you look like an idiot on Facebook.  And so, as a public service, the Smart Job Blog presents the Top 5 Things That Can Make You Look An Idiot on Facebook.

Are you doing any of these things?

5. Not monitoring your Facebook Page.  When someone visits your page, are they going to find it full of links from Facebook spammers inviting your fans to college night at the local bar of to click to win a free iPad?

4. Liking your own post. Really?  That’s almost a cry for help. Maybe that’s why no one else is liking it.

3. Posting one thing right after another. Your fns may love you, but long post after post after post in the newsfeed can be a bit much.  Be sure to space out your updatesso there’s a better chance people will engage with them rather than pass them by.

2. Spelling errors. As small as they might be, spelling errors can really hurt your Page’s credibility.  A typo is okay, but lots of typos are not.  Watch for some common misspellings such as there/their/they’re; your/you’re/yore.

1. Not filling out necessary information: location, description, picture, etc. Facebook gives you the opportunity to add detailed information about yourself.  Be sure to fill it out fully so recruiters, hiring managers and that long lost friend that has the perfect lead for a job can find you.  Concerned about privacy?  You should be.  You can set the right balance by simply keeping the information you share on Facebook strictly professional.

Your Turn:  What Facebook idiot moves have you seen?

By no means is our list of idiot moves on Facebook complete.  I look forward to sharing with our readers the idiot Facebook moves you have witnessed.  I will post your responses in next week’s blog.

Bottom Line:  You don’t have to be an idiot on Facebook.  Smart Job Searchers are aware of the importance of a good Facebook image.  So be aware of those things that may make you look like an idiot on Facebook. Are you guilty of doing any of the top 5?  Well, as a Smart Job Searcher, now that you know it may be a good time to stop.

Can Your Resume Is Your Resume Passing The 6 Second Test?

Typically a hiring manager will skim your resume for a mere six to eight seconds. Can your resume pass the six second test? In six seconds how does your resume showcase your accomplishments, contributions and results?
It’s not just typos or poor formatting that sinks a resume. The biggest flaw for a resume is when it fails to showcase a person’s accomplishments, contributions and results.

Here are 3 tips to make sure your resume passes the 6 second test.

1. Think Big – What are your significant accomplishments?

hatever jobs you’ve held –whether assistant or CEO –think beyond the everyday tasks of your position. We often get bogged down in the day-to-day details of our jobs, however, when it comes to your resume, you’ve got to remove the clutter and think big. One way to think big is to simply ask yourself “What are the key accomplishments of the jobs I’ve had?” When writing resumes with my clients we partner to create a “Significant Accomplishment” section where clients can think big about their career achievements.

2. Be Clear, Concise and Correct – A resume format for passing the 6 second test?

In almost two decades of interviewing candidates, advising candidates and being interviewed as a candidate I have found the most effective resumes are clear, concise and correct. Click on this link  on the side of this post to download the 6 part resume format that I have used with great success in building resumes that are clear concise and correct and are guaranteed to pass the 6 second test.

3. Tell your Story – What do you bring to the table?

At the end of the day hiring managers want to know what you bring to the table. What would happen if you come up blank when trying to tell them what you can do for them? The resume is the starting point for building your story for interviews, elevator pitches and network encounters. Building a resume rich in significant accomplishments provides the raw information needed for you to craft compelling stories about your career and your impact…what you are bring to the table.

Think Big, Be Clear, Correct and Concise, Tell Your Story, and your resume will pass the six second scan test.

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on 4  interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding:  Increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting:  Finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching:  Providing solid solutions for finding a job
  4. Project Management: Bringing order to complex problems

Contact Marben:   marben@marbenbland.com