Managing Mail: Using Filters

Organize your mail. When you’re at a point where you get hundreds of e-mails a day, you risk overlooking important pieces and people. You also may find you’re spending more time sorting your mail than you are reading it. Most of the major e-mail programs (Eudora Pro, Microsoft Outlook, Netscape Communicator, and Claris Mailer) let you create filing systems and filter your mail. Both are essential tools for the busy recruiter for two reasons. First, filtering saves you the time of manually sorting your mail. Second, organizing and filtering together, let you know where to find any particular piece with ease. Filters are useful if you get lots of mail from the same discussion list, the same person, or about the same subject. For instance, if you’ve posted several jobs but have only one e-mail address, don’t despair. Ask e-mail candidates to put the job title or number in the subject line. Then create a filter that first looks for that subject line, then files the corresponding e-mail into a mailbox you’ve set up to hold those messages. Do this for each job. Filters save an enormous amount of time because they organize your messages appropriately, without you having to read them first. Here’s how to set up files and filters in Eudora Pro. Other programs have similar features and abilities. Check your e-mail program’s help files to find specific instructions. TO CREATE A FILING SYSTEM, you need first to create folders and mailboxes:

  • Click on Mailbox in the tool bar
  • Click on New
  • For a mailbox, just type in a name
  • For a folder, which you can then organize into mailboxes, type in a name and check the “make it a folder” box


  • Drag the message to the mailbox you want to place it in
  • Or, click on Transfer in the tool bar; click the name of the mailbox where you want the message filed
  • You can also file multiple messages simultaneously. Hold down the “Ctrl” button while clicking your mouse on each message you want to file. Then, when you have highlighted all the messages you want to file, drag any one message to the mailbox you want to place it in. All of the highlighted messages will be filed there too


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  • Select Tools; click on Filters
  • In the filter window, click on New
  • Decide whether to filter incoming and/or outgoing mail or whether you want to manually filter
  • Define the criteria (more below)
  • Define what’s to be done when filtered (transfer, delete, forward, etc.)


  • Use the Header field to define which header items to search. This includes to, from, reply-to, etc.
  • Use the Match Type to set how Eudora will undertake the matching
  • Use the Conjunction Box to link two terms. This lets you require two types of matches for filtering, or just one match, or either a match of one term or another
  • Decide what action you want taken. Filters can transfer the mail to the appropriate mailbox, assign priorities and labels, send the message back, or even send an auto reply

A little time spent organizing your mail upfront can save you a lot of time organizing and reading later. Next week: A look at another free tool to save a little time on the Web.

Jennifer Hicks, a seasoned Internet researcher who writes extensively on the use of the Internet for job hunters and recruiters, is a contributor to AIRS research. The AIRS Search Guide acts as your personal trainer, guiding you through our Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS) in a highly illustrated offline magazine. Each issue is full of new sourcing strategies, search examples, step-by-step procedures, and AIRS latest research for finding high-value passive candidates on the Internet. Contact AIRS at