With 250+ resumes sent for a single job opening, you want your resume to stand out from the crowd. Emailing your resume directly to the relevant recruiter or hiring manager when applying for a job is one of the most effective ways to land an interview!
However, you need to do this correctly: starting with the subject line. When selecting an email subject for sending a resume, make sure to keep it short, follow any provided directions, and/or use the power of a name to get your email open.
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 job application subject line could be the difference between getting your email opened or deleted.
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
Studies have found that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open an email based on the subject line. 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 fine 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 you’re trying to sell something. 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.
Subject line examples:
- “Following up on the accounting position – John Doe”
- “Following up on the interview – Tom Nash”
💡ZipTip: Most emailed resumes are still going through an applicant tracking system (or ATS) of some sort. Here are some tips on passing the ATS resume test.
2. Follow instructions
If you’re emailing about a specific job posting, 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 specifically 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.
3. Use a 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 line!
Related read: How to Ask for a Job Referral + 5 Templates
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
- “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”
3 more expert tips for a job application email subject
1. 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:
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!
2. Choose your opening line carefully
Many people scan the first line of an email along with the subject line. You want to explain who you are and why you’re emailing right off the bat.
Read more tips for sending a cold email here: 7 Tips for Writing A Cold Email for a Job (+ Examples)
3. Keep your subject line focused
You want your subject line to be short and relevant. You’re not trying to trick people into opening your email–that won’t make a good first impression!
Instead, opt for a subject line that easily fits on a phone screen. Hubspot reports that 46% of emails are opened on mobile devices in 2020. That means you have less than 40 characters to earn someone’s time–and this trend is expected to continue in 2021.
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 or company. For an expert’s opinion of your resume, try out Zipjob’s free resume review:
What to read next: