Best Email Subject Lines When Sending a Resume (Examples + Tips)

Jun 10, 2020

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

With hundreds of resumes sent for a single opening, you want to stand out from the crowd. Emailing your resume directly to a relevant recruiter or hiring manager is one of the most effective ways to land an interview. 

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 found that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open an email based on the subject line.

Importance of good subject line when sending an email

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.

Top 3 tips for the perfect subject line when emailing your resume

To get your email opened, you need to keep these tips from our career experts and former hiring managers in mind.

1. Keep it short and simple

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. That way, while scanning the inbox, your 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 earn your email a one way trip to the trash folder.

You should also be direct. Never leave the hiring manager to wonder what the email is about. 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”

2. Follow instructions

If you’re emailing about a specific job post, you should always check the job description for instructions regarding submitting an application. Sometimes you’ll find clear instructions on what the person wants in a subject line.

For example, if the job listing simply asks 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! This could weed you out as an applicant.

💡ZipTip: applying to jobs online is not as effective as reaching out to the company or hiring manager directly. Read our guide to sending a cold email (with examples).

3. Referral name

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.

💡ZipTip: if you’re attaching your resume in the email, you should know that most emailed resumes are still going to be sent through an ATS of some sort. Check out our tips for passing ATS scans.

What to include in the perfect cold job search email subject line

If the tips above don’t really apply to you, here is what you should include in the subject line for a standard job search email.

The reason for your email

  • “Job application”
  • Job title
  • Job ID (If there is one)
  • Your name

Example:

  • “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”

Your major qualifications or certifications

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”

Use a professional email address

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 first and last name or your name and the job title you’re after. Having a few numbers in your email is fine, but too many will make you look like a bot. Be careful with using numbers that allude to your age (year of birth) or location (zipcode).

Just like customizing your LinkedIn URL, your professional email address should stick to basic information like your name, job, or possibly your general location.

Here are examples of acceptable emails:

  • Tomshulz01@email.com
  • TomAccountant@email.com
  • BridgetRN@email.com

Newer email servers like Gmail come across as more professional than AOL, but your focus should be on the first part of your email address. Custom domains are another option for further personalization!

Summary

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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