With hundreds of resumes sent for a single opening, you want to stand out from the crowd. Emailing your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager is one of the most effective ways to land an interview.
Note: if you’re sending an email unprompted, most emailed resumes are still going to be sent through an ATS of some sort. Check out our tips for passing ATS scans.
Since this is the first contact you’ll have with your potential employer you want to ensure it’s done right. With hiring managers and recruiters receiving tons of resumes through email, the subject line could be the difference between getting your email opened or deleted.
Studies have also found that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open an email based on the subject line.
Not to worry, we’ve got your back! We’ll show you how to write the perfect subject lines to send your resume in 3 specific scenarios, plus examples for other situations.
Remember that brevity is important when writing your subject line. Most of the text in the subject line gets cut off so ensure the first few words capture attention.
Hubspot recommends keeping the subject line under 50 characters so that when scanning emails, the receiver pretty much knows what the email is about. It’s okay to go over this a bit, but ensure you get the important details in the first few words.
You shouldn’t put anything in the subject line that sounds like a marketing email. Avoid soft skill phrases like dedicated or passionate. This is a major turnoff for hiring managers and will likely get your email in the trash folder.
You should also always be direct and never leave the hiring manager to wonder what the email is about. If you’re crafting a cold email to someone you’ve never been in touch with before, here is a good post on crafting the perfect cold email for a job.
If you’re following up on an interview or job application, state it directly. For example:
“Following up on the accounting position – John Doe”
“Following up on the interview – Tom Nash”
You can read more on following up on a resume submission here.
If you’re emailing about a specific job post, you should always check the listing for instructions regarding submitting an application. Sometimes you’ll find clear instructions on what they want in the subject line. For example, if they simply ask for the position, Job ID # and your name, you would simply write:
“ Marketing manager, Job ID # 2283, John Doe”
Don’t add anything else if instructions have been provided.
Did someone in the company refer you? If so, this is possibly the best way to capture the attention of a hiring manager. Ensure you use the name of the person who referred you in the subject line. Here is a job referral subject line example:
“Referral from Tom Nash: John Doe, candidate for senior accounting position”
Most positions filled today come through some sort of referral as there is already a trust factor established when an employee, or someone associated with the company refers you. Hiring managers love referrals so be sure to mention their name and “referral” in the first few words of the email subject.
If tips #2 or #3 above don’t really apply to you, here is what you should include in the subject line for the standard job search email.
“Job application – Accountant, Job ID #4453 – John Doe”
If you’re just sending your resume without applying for a specific position, you can just write:
“Marketing manager resume, Tom Nash”
If there are certifications or major qualifications you possess you should include it. If the position requires a CPA certification, list it after your name. This could really help you stand out to the hiring manager. For example:
“Job application – Accountant, Job Id #4453 – John Doe, CPA”
Not having a professional email is one of the worst mistakes you can make as a job seeker. Hiring managers and recruiters will usually reject an email if it sounds unprofessional. Emails like “Knicksfan11” or “MichaelB229283” will not be taken seriously.
Your email should be a combination of your name or your name and the job title you’re after. Having a few numbers in your email is fine but try to keep it short and professional. Here are examples of acceptable emails:
Snagajob has a good article about the importance of having a professional email.
There is no excuse for this as there are tons of email combinations you can use which are acceptable.
The tips above should help you craft the perfect email subject when submitting a job application or following up. Always cut straight to the point and leave out the fluff. Using tricks and keywords that hook someone into opening an email will not work with hiring managers and recruiters.
Remember that once you capture the attention of the employer, you want to have a solid resume that clearly and effectively portrays why you’re a good fit for the position.
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