Email Subject Lines for Resumes and Job Applications
These days, a lot of your job search, networking, and other business communication is conducted via email. Employers receive tons of emails a day, and many times, whether or not an email gets opened depends entirely on its subject line. To make sure your emails are read, you need a clear, professional subject line. It's especially important when you're emailing a resume to apply for a job.
Why the Subject Line Is Important
The subject line (along with the name or email address of the sender) is the first thing people see while scanning their inboxes.
Because emails can contain viruses, as well as irrelevant information, busy people rarely open all their email. The decision to open — or delete — an email is made based mainly on the subject line and the sender. When you leave the subject line blank, your email may likely end up marked as spam or deleted.
Recipients may not be familiar with your name when you send a job search, networking, or other business emails. Therefore, the subject line is your opportunity to introduce yourself. This is the first step to making a strong first impression so that your resume is opened and read.
Tips for Writing an Effective Email Subject Line
Keep it professional. This goes for both your subject line and your email address. The subject line shouldn’t include any informal words or phrases like “Hey” or “What’s Up.” Use only professional, polite language.
Also make sure that your email address is appropriately professional – firstname.lastname@example.org could make the hiring manager wonder how serious a contribution you would make to their company.
Note why you are writing. You need to make sure that your subject line will be of interest and considered relevant in order to get your email read. Make it relevant by including keywords related to your reason for writing.
When you are networking, state what you are interested in, or why you are contacting the person, in your subject line.
You might be asking for information, or requesting a meeting, advice, or referral.
If someone recommended the contact, definitely include their name in the subject line. Networking emails can be the most difficult to get noticed, because the person emailing isn’t seeking to solve a specific problem or fill a position. Your subject line is your opportunity to grab their attention and make them want to know more about you.
Mention the job title. In an email applying for a job, use the job title as the subject line, so the employer knows what position you are interested in. That helps busy hiring managers who are recruiting for multiple positions see at a glance which job you are applying for.
Mentioning the job title is also helpful in case there is an automated filter that categorizes the hiring manager’s email. With the right subject line, you’ll be sure that your application is placed in the appropriate folder to be seen in a timely manner. You can include your name as well, or “referred by” if someone recommended that you apply.
In your follow-up correspondence (particularly a thank you email after an interview), “Thank You” can precede the title of the job.
Keep it short and specific. The more specific you can make your subject line, the easier it will be for the recipient to categorize your email quickly, and respond appropriately.
Be as succinct as possible though, as lengthy subject lines may be cut off, and could lose the most important information.
Many people check their email on mobile devices that display only 25-30 characters of the subject line. You’ll have much more space if they are reading on a computer, and when they open the email they will see the whole subject. Use the first few words to get to the point, and leave the extra information like your credentials and experience for the end.
Edit, edit, edit. When editing your email before sending it, also be sure to proofread your subject line. Since the subject line is your first impression, you want to be sure that your writing is clear and free of errors.
Email Subject Line Examples
For inspiration, here are several examples of clear, to-the-point subject lines:
- Administrative Assistant Job - Your Name
- Job Inquiry - Your Name
- Managing Director Position
- Job Posting #321: District Sales Manager
- Communications Director Position - Your Name
- Application for Sales Associate
- Inquiry - Your Name
- Social Media Expert Seeking New Opportunity
- Marketing Director Looking for Next Role - 10 years experience
- Research Assistant Resume
- Referral - Your Name
- Referred by FirstName LastName
- Informational Interview Request - XYZ College Student
- Thank You - Job Title Interview
- Meeting Follow Up - Subject of Meeting
- Meeting Request - Your Name
What Else to Include in Your Email
The subject line is just one aspect of an email cover letter. In order to make the best impression, your email message needs to be professionally written and carefully proofread. You'll also need to consider how to address the letter's recipient, use an appropriate sign-off, and which font and font size to opt for. Here is more advice on job search email etiquette, and some sample email cover letters to review before sending your own.
Cover Letter Referred by a Contact Examples
Cover Letters and Email Samples to Use for a Referral
When you are applying for jobs, it’s always helpful to have a referral. Being able to mention a mutual acquaintance when writing to a hiring manager gives you an immediate connection, and can help get your resume noticed.
Your cover letter is the ideal place to mention your referral’s name, and the context you know them in. Including a referral, if you have one, is one of the best ways to get your cover letter noticed - and read.
What to Include in the Letter
Your cover letter should be written as a formal business letter, whether it is sent as an attachment, via post or email. An attachment or posted letter should begin with your contact information, the date, and the hiring manager’s contact information. An email cover letter should include the referral in the subject line of the message.
Begin your letter with a salutation followed by the hiring manager’s name. Mention your referral in the first paragraph of your cover letter, with a brief explanation of your connection.
You can then mention what interests you about the position, and how you are qualified for the job. Make sure you thank the person for their time and consideration, and use an appropriate cover letter closing, followed by your signature and/or typed full name. In an email, your contact information would follow your typed name.
Here are examples of cover letters which mention that you were referred by a contact.
Cover Letter Example With a Referral
Your Firstname Lastname
City, State, Zip
City, State, Zip
Dear Mr. Maximillian,
I am writing to express my interest in the International Sales position open at Rubymax, Inc. I am very familiar with your products, and would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I could help increase your International presence.
My colleague Joe Smith recommended that I contact you directly about this position. Joe and I have worked closely in the industry for many years, and he thought that I would be a good match for Rubymax.
My ten years of experience marketing widgets internationally have given me an overall knowledge of the business, directly applicable to your interest in increasing sales abroad.
In my previous position as International Sales Rep with ZQR Company, I successfully increased our revenue in each of my territories by over 50% within my first year. In the five years I spent at ZQR, I helped to establish sales bases in an additional five countries, while continuing to increase revenue in all.
Please take the time to review my resume. I believe that I am an excellent candidate for the position you have advertised, and would very much like the opportunity to meet with you discuss what I have to offer Rubymax, Inc. I truly appreciate your consideration.
Email Cover Letter With a Referral
Subject: Referred by Sloane Greene
Dear Ms. Future,
I am writing to you in regard to the position of billing manager that you have posted on your company website. I worked with Sloane Greene in the billing department of XYZ Enterprises for several years before taking a hiatus to raise my children.
When I mentioned I was returning to the workforce, she recommended I contact you about this position, as she felt that I would be an excellent fit for your organization.
At XYZ, I worked closely with Sloane to convert our billing system to handle the increase in sales volume the company was experiencing. I oversaw the seamless transition when our deliverables doubled in less than 6 months. I have successfully managed both small and large billing departments, but am most comfortable in an environment like that at your company. I feel that my experience would be an asset to Bright Enterprises, and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you regarding the open position.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Additional Cover Letter Samples
Review sample cover letters for a variety of scenarios including a follow-up letter, inquiry letters, job/industry specific sample cover letters, cold contact and referral letter samples.