January 11, 2015

Attention Grabbing Email Subject Lines

According to Business Insider, there are over 89 billion business emails sent every day. When you’re applying for a job, you’re a unknown and undiscovered talent. So how do you make sure that your email gets opened by a recruiter? It’s all about the email subject line.

Email subject lines are an often overlooked element of the job search. Resumes, cover letters, applications are all covered in great detail, but subject lines are super important too.

Email is the main communication tool for the professional world. It’s often your first point of contact with a recruiter. Recruiters get hundreds of emails every day so be sure to take the time to write an attention grabbing, clear, concise email subject line. That’s your ticket to getting your email read.

Email subject lines are tricky to write. Login to your email right now. Take a look at any unopened emails. Most unopened emails show between 50 to 70 characters in the subject line – that’s half a Tweet. Almost 50% of all emails are read on mobile devices. Mobile devices may only provide 30 characters for subject lines. That’s not much space to work with!

This means you have about six to eight words to grab a recruiters attention and draw them into your email. Use your space and word choice wisely. Be specific and avoid any generic subject lines like “Resume” or “Smith – Resume”. These are boring and will quickly be overlooked. Whatever you do, don’t leave the subject line blank unless you want it to be deleted or filtered into the junk folder.

Here are a few tips from BI to make sure the recruiter opens your emails right away:

  • Use Space Wisely – Try to keep your subject line around 30 characters. Eliminate unnecessary words.
    • Example: GTNP Park Ranger Application
  • Place Important Words First – People are quick to delete an email especially if it looks like junk. Get to the point right away.
    • Example: Able Bodied Seaman – Experienced
  • Use Keywords – Keywords are important in resumes and also in subject lines. Recruiters will often notice them right away. It also makes your email searchable.
    • Example: Job Candidate: Johnny Monkey for Border Patrol Agent
  • Use Job Title and/or Number – If there is a specific job title and/or number, mention it. Make it easy for the recruiter to understand what you are emailing about.
    • Example: Bartender, Job #12345 – Jane Monkey’s Job Application
  • Mention Referrals – Did someone refer you to the job? It may be someone that the recruiter knows. If so, they will certainly open it quickly.
    • Example: Referred by J. Smith for Social Media Manager Job
  • Reference Your Credentials – If you’re certified, experienced, or an award winner highlight this. It will make you stand out from the competition.
    • Example: Lifeguard Application: J. Doe, EMT

Get more subject line tips and examples from Business Insider’s post. Email subject lines literally may be the first interaction you have with a recruiter. They can often pave the way to a job interview and ultimately your dream job. Take the time to write one that will grab their attention.

Whether you’re sending in an application, making initial contact, emailing a thank you, following up, or just writing an email – do not overlook the email subject line. Find more email etiquette tips on JobMonkey.

Are you ready to apply for a job?


About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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