Speculative Cover Letter Subject

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.

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 that33% of email recipients decide whether or not they’ll open an email based on the subject line.

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ll show you how to write the perfect subject lines when emailing your resume as well as some good examples.

How to write the perfect subject line when sending your resume

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 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 also 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 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 aresume submission here.

Check for instructions

You should always check the job posting 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.

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.

What to include in the subject line

If #2 or #3 above don’t really apply to you, this is what you should include in the subject line for the standard job search 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”

Major Qualifications/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”

Professional email

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:

  • Tomshulz01
  • TomAccountant
  • BridgetRN

Snagajob has a good article about the importance of having aprofessional 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.

ZipJob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed. You can get aFree resume review here.

Out of the billions of emails that are sent every day, how can you make sure that yours stands out?

We asked career, email, and marketing experts to offer their best tips for crafting the perfect email subject line. Find out what they said, plus examples of great subject lines, below.

1. Always write a subject line.

Not including a subject line is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The subject line often determines whether an email is opened and how the recipient responds. An email with a blank subject line will likely get deleted, lost, or immediately irritate the recipient, who is forced to open the email to figure out what it’s about.

2. Write the subject line first.

For many professionals, the subject line is an afterthought that you add just before you hit send. But Amanda Augustine, career expert at professional job-matching service TheLadders, stresses that it can be the most important part of the email. Write the subject line first, so that it sets the tone and you don’t forget.

3. Keep it short.

A typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone shows just 25 to 30 characters, says Augustine. Get right to the point in about six to eight words.

4. Place the most important words at the beginning.

A whopping 50% of emails are read on mobile phones, says Dmitri Leonov, a VP at email management service SaneBox. Since you don’t know how much of the subject line will be viewable from a smartphone, it’s important to put the most important information at the beginning. Otherwise, compelling details could get cut off.

5. Eliminate filler words.

With such precious space, don’t waste it with unnecessary words like “hello,” “nice to meet you,” and “thanks,” which can easily be included in the email’s body.

6. Be clear and specific about the topic of the email.

The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about so that the recipient can prioritize the email’s importance without having to open it. For example, writing “Do you have a sec?” is vague, says Augustine, since the reader will have to open the email or reply to figure out what you want. If it’s a job application, she suggests including your name and the position, and if it’s to another coworker, you should identify the project that the email refers to.

[Related: Subject Lines That Will Get Your Emails Read]

7. Keep it simple and focused.

Especially if you’re sending a marketing email, Kipp Bodnar, a VP at marketing software platform HubSpot, says it should be focused on one action, which should be communicated in the subject line. Offer one takeaway, indicate how the reader can make use of it, and specify how you will deliver it.

8. Use logical keywords for search and filtering.

Most professionals have filters and folders set up to manage their email and probably won’t focus on your message when they first see it, says Leonov. That’s why it’s important to include keywords related to the topic of the email that will make it searchable later.

9. Indicate if you need a response.

“People want to know whether they really need to read this now and if they have to respond,” Augustine says. If you need a response, make it clear in the subject line by saying “please reply” or “thoughts needed on X topic.” If not, simply start the line with “Please read,” or tack on “no response needed” or “FYI” to the end.

10. Set a deadline in the subject line.

Especially if you have a lot of information to convey in the email itself, including a deadline right in the subject line exponentially increases the odds that readers will respond. For example, after the email’s topic, you could say: “Please reply by EOD Friday.”

11. If someone referred you, be sure to use their name.

If you’ve been referred by a mutual acquaintance, do not save that for the body of the email, says Augustine. Put it in the subject line to grab the reader’s attention right away. Moreover, she suggests beginning the subject line with the full name of the person who referred you.

12. Highlight the value you have to offer.

If sending a cold email to someone you don’t know, “you need a subject line that indicates value and communicates what they’re going to get,” Bodnar says. Pique the reader’s interest by offering them something that’s helpful. Whether you’re providing a speaking opportunity, a discount, or a service, make it clear in the subject line what’s in it for them.

13. Personalize it with the recipient’s name or company name.

You have to know who you’re sending the email to, and they have to recognize that it’s about them or a subject interesting to them, Bodnar says. Using their name or company name is one of the best ways to do that, he says, and makes the recipient much more likely to open the email. For example, you might write, “Increase Company’s sales by 25%,” or “John, see how you compare to competitors.”

14. Create urgency by limiting the timeframe.

To grab someone’s attention and persuade them to reply, consider creating a deadline for your proposition. Common ways of creating urgency include “respond now,” “register today,” and “limited space available—reply soon.”

15. Don’t start a sentence that you finish in the email’s body.

If you begin a thought or question that ends in the email, then the reader is forced to open the email. It’s annoying, and since clarity and being respectful of the recipient’s time is the goal, it’s not very helpful, Augustine says. Consider whether instant message, a call, or an in-person chat might be a better medium for your question.

16. Make sure you reread the subject line.

Augustine also warns against copy-and-paste errors. Sometimes when people are sending a similar email to multiple people, they forget to tailor it to each reader and end up with the wrong name or title in the subject line. The easiest way to avoid this is to reread the subject line before you hit send.

17. Don’t put words in ALL CAPS.

Using all caps may get someone’s attention, but in the wrong way. It’s the digital equivalent of yelling, and your job is to make the email as easy as possible for the recipient to read rather than giving them anxiety, says Leonov. Instead, use dashes or colons to separate thoughts, and avoid special characters like exclamation points.

Examples of excellent email subject lines:

For a job application:

Referred by Jane Brown for Technical Writer position

Human Resources Assistant Application—John Smith

For an interview follow up:

John Smith Following Up on Sales Position

Marketing Manager interview follow up

For a work request:

Requesting Project X idea submissions—Due Jan 15

Employee Survey: Please take by EOD Friday

For a meeting invitation:

Meet about social media strategy Tuesday?

Free to catch up over coffee next week?

For an introduction:

An Introduction: Jane Brown Meet John Smith

Potential collaboration on TV marketing plan

For a marketing pitch:

Mastering Digital Media Webinar—Register Today

John, see how you compare to competitors

For requesting information:

Inquiring about your design services

Request for information on NY venue

This article was originally published on Business Insider.

Photo: startupstockphotos / Pixabay

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