Job applications and follow-up emails can be tricky. If you’re looking to make these emails stand out, then make sure to use an attention-grabbing subject line.
Here are examples of subject lines that should help you get noticed, as recommended by career experts:
Career Expert & Hiring Manager, CV Genius
“Application for Clinical Social Worker position – Louise Barrow, LISW, LPC & LCDC II”
When reaching out to apply for a new position, candidates often overlook the importance of a good subject line. However, this short statement serves as a critical first impression and can tell an employer a lot about a candidate.
Are they professional? Do they make careless mistakes? Is their tone overly informal? Can they get to the point?
Making a favorable impression with an email subject line takes just a little extra effort and can set a positive tone for the job application process.
Writing subject lines for submitting an application
If you’re sending an email to submit an application, what’s most important is to make sure your subject line is clear, concise, and includes only essential information. Hiring managers often have to wade through hundreds of applicant emails and are grateful for candidates that understand and respect their time restraints by being brief and direct.
Make sure to include these crucial elements:
- Purpose of your email
- Job title you are applying for
- Your name
- Any referrals
Some jobs may require some additional information, such as:
- Location, if you’re applying to a large company
- Job ID number or posting number, if provided
You can also include your credentials or top qualifications if they are relevant and don’t take up too much space. Just remember – the shorter, the better.
Here are some examples of the best email subject lines for submitting an application:
- Application for Sales Associate position, John Ramirez
- Applying for Associate Director of Outreach and Events position, Stephanie Lemond
- Referred by James Taylor for Financial Advisor opening – Stanley Harris
- Job application for Branch Manager position – Los Angeles – Emma Wright
- Applying for Instructor Lead position, ID# 7844, Jenny Lewis
- Application for Clinical Social Worker position – Louise Barrow, LISW, LPC & LCDC II
Writing subject lines for follow-up emails
If candidates receive an email in response to an application, then it is best to leave the subject heading the same when replying. This way, a hiring manager can instantly recognize the email thread and is more likely to open it and issue a quick response.
There are a few circumstances, however, in which a candidate might send the first follow-up email:
When a candidate hasn’t received a response
If candidates haven’t received a response after submitting an application, they should send a follow-up email to give the hiring manager a gentle nudge. Subject lines should be professional, courteous, and to the point.
Here are some examples of the best subject lines for follow-up emails:
- Following up regarding Sales Associate position – Lena James
- Follow-up on an application for Online Community Ambassador position, Sally Jones
- Amy Lee following up regarding job application for the Customer Service Associate position
- Checking on job application status for Senior Management position, Jenna Garner
After an interview
It’s considered a professional courtesy to send a thank you email after an interview. In this case, your subject line doesn’t need to include all of the details listed above but must remain professional in tone.
Here are some examples of the best subject lines for interview courtesy emails:
- Thank you so much for your time
- Thank you for taking the time to speak with me
- I enjoyed our conversation
- Thank you for the consideration
- Thank you for the opportunity
If candidates don’t hear back from a hiring manager, they should send a follow-up email. When they do this depends on whether the hiring manager provided a timeline for a response after the interview. If so, candidates should wait until after this time to send a follow-up email. If not, waiting about a week is customary.
In the absence of a response, it’s important to practice some self-restraint. If candidates send too many emails, they run the risk of annoying a hiring manager and harming their chances of landing the job.
Vice President of Career and Professional Development, St. Catherine University
“Marketing Assistant, Job ID #: [Job Seeker Name]”
A first impression is a lasting impression when it comes to the subject line of an email for a job application and follow-up emails. The subject line can distinguish between an email being opened or not since recruiters receive hundreds of emails.
Below are some best practices for job seekers:
- The job seeker should prepare by knowing something about the company – Before sending an email to a recruiter, the job seeker should prepare by knowing something about the company and reading thoroughly through the position description. The preparation can help the job seeker customize their email to the recruiter and show they know the company. If the job seeker knows the specific recruiter’s name, taking time to connect with them on LinkedIn is also helpful.
- Keep it concise and to the point – While there is no perfect subject line, a job seeker needs to keep it concise and to the point. Use the job position title and Job ID followed by the job seeker’s name in the subject line.
- Example: “Marketing Assistant, Job ID #: Job Seeker Name.”
- The email should be brief and customized – The body of the email should be brief and customized based on what the job seeker learned about the company and the job description. The job seeker should include these details in the message:
- The job seeker’s intent and why they are contacting the recruiter
- Identify a few sentences about their experiences that align with the job description
- Show appreciation
- Let the recruiter know if you are intending on following up with the recruiter within a specific timeframe
- Also, if someone referred the job seeker to the recruiter, state that information in the message, including the referral information.
- Use specific keywords – Along with being concise with the subject line and follow-up email message, the job seeker must use specific keywords that are easy to search by the recruiter and avoid capitalizing the subject line.
- Use a professional email address – A job seeker should use a professional email address rather than an informal email address such as cutiepie123@xxx.
- Use spell check to ensure no errors on the subject line and follow-up email.
The best subject line for job applications and follow-up emails should highlight something that makes you stand out. The subject line needs to grab the hiring manager’s attention and convince them to open your email. Here are a few examples:
“Referred by John Doe for Director of People role”
Mention the person who referred you as well as the role: “Referred by John Doe for Director of People role”
Referrals are powerful when it comes to getting a job, so if you have someone internally in the company who has referred you, lead with that in the subject line. Even if the hiring manager doesn’t directly know the person who referred you, a referral is a sign of trust, so they’re likely to open your email and look at your application.
“Jane Doe SHRM-CP Application for Director of People role”
Mention any relevant credentials you have: “Jane Doe SHRM-CP Application for Director of People role”
Leading with your qualifications makes the hiring manager more likely to open your email because they know you’re qualified for the role. Listing this can be the difference between getting an interview and having your email left unread.
“Re: Director of People Interview on 11/2 – Additional References”
For follow-up emails, reference why you’re following up. “Re: Director of People Interview on 11/2 – Additional References”
The hiring manager has likely conducted dozens of interviews and will be receiving multiple follow-ups. Stand out by reminding them why you’re sending them an email right in the subject line. They’ll appreciate the reference, and by mentioning this, it can get your email read more quickly.
Co-Founder and CMO, DoorLoop
“Business Analyst with five years of experience – Your Name”
The subject line for job applications should be:
- Professional: No informal words or phrases should be included in the subject line to ensure that the hiring manager takes your job application seriously. Also, avoid using all caps or exclamation points in the subject line.
- Purposeful: The subject line should indicate the email’s purpose so that the hiring manager instantly understands what the email is about. Doing so enhances the likelihood that they will read your email.
- Descriptive: Make your subject line as specific as possible. Include the job title you’re applying for so the recruiter recognizes the position you’re interested in. The easier the hiring manager can categorize your email, the quicker they can respond.
Here are some examples of good job application subject lines:
- “Your Name – Information Technology Specialist”
- “Application for the Position of Executive Accountant – Your Name”
- “Business Analyst with five years of experience – Your Name”
Here are some examples of subject lines to avoid:
- “Hello there! I’m writing to inquire about a job opening.”
- “APPLYING FOR A JOB – HR SPECIALIST”
- “Could you please contact me regarding the job vacancy you advertised?”
- No subject line at all
The subject line for follow-up emails should be:
- Conversational: Choosing a conversational subject line demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in keeping the discussion going. Use open-ended queries to stimulate the recipient’s interest.
- Short and to-the-point: Keep the subject line brief and to-the-point so the receiver can read it, especially if they read emails on their phone. Aim for a subject line of six to ten words roughly.
- Personalized: Include your recipient’s name, company name, or a mutual connection. It demonstrates attention to detail and adds a personal touch to your email, increasing the receiver’s likelihood of reading it.
- Relevant: Avoid choosing a misleading subject line that has nothing to do with your topic. Doing so will evoke a negative response from the recipient.
The following are some examples of successful follow-up subject lines:
- “Follow up on the role of Executive Assistant.”
- “I appreciate your time.”
- “What are your thoughts?”
- “It was a pleasure meeting you, (Recipient’s name).”
“Meeting Follow Up | Sales Associate Position”
Get to the point straight away
To ensure your email message is received and read, I would recommend getting to the point straight away. Include in the subject line the job title and a short description of what your message is about.
Watch for length
Be mindful that most people will be checking their emails on their phones, and many email platforms will cut the subject line off if it exceeds 25 characters.
Double-check grammar and spelling
Be sure your subject line is free of any grammatical or spelling errors. If not, you can bet the receiver will disregard your message straight away. It is unprofessional and shows a lack of care and interest in the position if you are not willing to spend the time to make sure your subject line is grammatically correct.
Follow the instructions
Follow the instructions in the job application. It sounds like a no-brainer, but we often see many entry-level candidates make minor mistakes in the job application process that cost them big time down the road.
If the job application says to include your name in the subject line or the job posting number, make sure you do it.
Hiring managers are sifting through hundreds of job applications. An easy way to filter a candidate out of the process is to delete any candidates who do not follow the directions correctly.
A follow-up email can be a way to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other job applicants. However, the decision on whether the recipient opens the email relies greatly on the subject line. Hiring managers are bombarded with junk mail and spam every day. There are many emails that go unread or straight into the trash.
Examples of email subject lines:
- Executive Manager Opening: John Doe
- Job Posting #321
- Application for Customer Service Representative
- Meeting Follow Up | Sales Associate Position
Senior Employment Advisor, MintResume
“Job Title – Applicant’s Name”
A recruiter receives and sees hundreds of resumes every day. How would an applicant set himself apart from his competitors for resumes sent through emails? The answer is to keep subject lines professional, short and simple.
Here are possible subject lines for sending resumes via email:
- Job Title – Applicant’s Name
- Job Title – Short Overview of Experience (e.g., 10 years in Project Management)
- Application for (Name of Position)
- Position – Can Start ASAP
You might be tempted to write a witty or unique subject line, like “Is it me you are looking for?” or “I am available at your service,” but trust me, it won’t matter. Using very unique subject lines can make your email be tagged as spam.
Recruiters usually spend a couple of seconds per email. Having the most useful information – “Position Title” in the subject line would be more beneficial for the applicant.
Head of People, PhotoAiD
“Institute Director CV + Cover letter – Jess Briggs (Booker Prize nominee 2019)”
It’s important you include information that jumps to the eye. As a rule of thumb, your subject line should follow the RESI model: it should be Relatable, Exciting, Short, and Identifiable. Here’s what each segment of RESI can bring to your subject line.
- Relatable: This means that the subject line immediately connects with the recipient and knows this relates to a job application and a specific position within their organization.
- Exciting: If you have the means to be exciting, do it. If someone referred you, has an impressive amount of years of experience, is the creator of some impressive software/app, or the recipient of some prize or great achievement, you can include one of those pieces of information.
- Short: This is an obvious one, as the subject line needs to be short and concise if anyone is to read it, or even if it is to fit in one line on Gmail or Outlook.
- Identifiable: What needs to be identifiable is you. Whenever possible, you should include your name, as this will allow the recipient to create an association with your application or prior exchanges if you’ve had any.
So now let us try some examples:
- Office Manager Job Inquiry – Ed Bain, 10+ years of experience
- Copywriter Lead Application – Emma Knight (Referred by L. Stones)
- Institute Director CV + Cover letter – Jess Briggs (Booker Prize nominee 2019)
These examples capture the essence of RESI and a subject line that will surely catch the eye of the recruiter. If you follow these steps, you’ll eventually be successful with open rates on those emails.
Follow-up emails can typically be sent as “Re: [email subject line],” though you can try different tactics with more appealing subject lines that don’t follow RESI to the line.
For example, you can use more attention-grabbing tones:
- Have You Received my Email? Office Manager Inquiry (E. Bain)
- Lost in the Pipeline? (E. Knight, Referred by L. Stones)
- One Last Attempt 🙂 Institute Director Job, (J. Briggs)
HR Manager, ResumeLab
“Job inquiry — John Smith, 5+ years of experience in UX/UI”
Subject lines can make or break your application. After all, if the application doesn’t get opened, it doesn’t matter how qualified for the role you might be.
So with no further ado, here are a few professional and attention-grabbing subject lines that might help you stand out in the crowd.
At a minimum, always try to include your first and last name, full job title, role # (if it was provided), and a short tidbit about why you’re a strong candidate or who recommended you. The more info that makes you unique, the better, without going overboard and making the title a paragraph long run-on sentence.
So, for example:
- “Job inquiry — John Smith, 5+ years of experience in UX/UI”
- “Job Application: Jane Adams – Operations Assistant”
- “Data Entry Specialist; Job ID# 2345 – Paul Rivers”
- “Senior Director of Marketing – referred by Daniel Jackson”
Follow-up emails are somewhat easier. You can always go with the classics such as:
- “RE: original subject line”
- “Follow-up regarding job (title or #)”
Or if you’re feeling bold and direct:
- “What did you think of my application?”
- “Next steps regarding the (job title) positon”
Principal and CEO, True North HR
“Meeting/Interview Follow Up – Subject of the meeting.”
When applying for a job, one of the most important ways to get the employer’s attention is by including the job title in the subject line. This is helpful if there is an automated filter to categorize the email in a specific folder.
- If the job posting has particular requirements when emailing in your application, make sure you follow the instructions as it could impact your chances of getting hired.
- If the posting does not have any specific requirements, the job position and your name would be the best subject line option.
- If you follow up after an interview/meeting, the best subject line to write is “Meeting/Interview Follow Up – Subject of the meeting.”
This gives the employers a clearer idea of the information in the email, increasing the chances of you hearing back from them.
Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Bayt.com
Include the job title, your intent, and maybe even your name
Running an online recruiting business means that I have learned quite a bit about the hiring process. Not only do I receive job applications myself, but I am in direct contact with thousands of hiring managers using our platform.
Here is my tip for subject lines:
You could have the perfect resume and cover letter, but if you do not include a subject line, it is very likely your email will not even be read. Hiring managers are busy and have an influx of emails coming into their inbox every day.
You need a subject line that will drive the receiver to open your email.
If the application does not provide explicit directions on the subject line, then the best advice is to keep it simple and clear. A good idea is to include the job title, your intent, and maybe even your name.
Director of Operations, MyCorporation
Follow any guidelines set in the job description
My advice for the best subject lines to use when sending an email job application is to follow any guidelines set in the job description. Some job descriptions will note the subject line format for applicants emailing their job applications and cover letter.
For example, the description may request writing the title of the position and the applicant’s name in the email subject header. Follow any guidelines mentioned in the job description.
If there are none, simply writing the position name in the subject header along with your name or the name of the company should suffice.
Founder, Scott Keever SEO
“Following up on my application”
This is a good subject line for a follow-up email. It is short and to the point. Moreover, words like ‘following up’ and ‘application’ clearly let the receiver know what you are emailing them about.
Having a concise subject line that also indicates the content of your email is professional. It also saves the reader a lot of time.
“Regarding my application”
Such a subject line immediately gives the other person your message. They would instantly know that you already applied for a certain position, and the email is regarding your application.
It is important to have a clear subject line. If not, there are also chances that your email gets lost in the inbox or is sent to junk.
“Checking for updates: [job title] application”
Adding your job title in the subject line makes it easy for the company to know what position you applied for. This results in a smooth communication and hiring process.
It is also helpful if you mention that you are only checking for updates. The company might have previous data regarding your application and will give you updates accordingly.
“Application for [job title] – [your name]”
Adding both the job title and your name in the subject line makes it even more precise. Moreover, the organization will know your name and position.
This subject line is also very professional and conveys maximum information in minimum words. Thus, resulting in an effortless recruiting process.
“Referred by [first name] [last name]”
It is important to mention the name of the person who referred you. It helps the company know which of their employees guided you to apply. Moreover, in some cases, the company might even prefer you.
This makes your case even more strong and increases your chances of being selected for the position.
Founder, and CEO, TrumpExcel
Following an interview, send a “Thank You” email
I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for your time earlier today. I appreciated our discussion about __ (particular subject), and the role seems fascinating. I’m looking forward to any updates you may provide, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.”
It’s preferable to focus your email on a specific topic you talked about with the person rather than just stating that you enjoyed discussing the position in general.
It will serve as a reminder of the talk you had and demonstrate that you were paying attention. Additionally, if you interviewed numerous employees at the organization, they may compare correspondence. Therefore, send something slightly unique to each recipient.
Perhaps one individual informed you extensively about the team structure and daily work. Thus, in your follow-up email, you could include the following:
“I loved our discussion on the group’s day-to-day operations and activities, and the role sounded fascinating.”
Perhaps a second individual informed you more about the program and how you would begin. Your follow-up email to that individual could include the following:
“I loved our discussion regarding the training and the process for ramping up for this role, and it sounds like a wonderful opportunity.”
In the majority of interviews, you’ll discuss a variety of topics with each person you speak with. Avoid becoming overwhelmed with follow-up. Simply choose one and mention it. Something that struck out or appeared to be of interest to them that they would recall discussing with you.
Additionally, choose something that is relevant to the other person’s area of interest. If you interviewed the Training Manager, you’ll want to tickle their ego by writing something about training.
Emphasize one of your most relevant attributes
As a job seeker, you need to make every effort to make your email stand out because that’s the first thing a hiring manager sees, and it sets the tone for the rest of the hiring journey.
Remember that your resume is going to an actual person, not a robot, so you want to make it specific and compelling enough to catch their attention. Simply putting your name and “resume” doesn’t tell the recipient much and say anything about you.
One of the ways to differentiate is by calling out an attribute or qualification that makes you a strong candidate for the job.
For instance, if you’re applying for a software engineer position, the subject line might read: “Applying for Software Engineer Job – Mary Smith – Verified Code Contributor.”
Or, if you’re pursuing a job with a fast-growth startup where you have to wear a lot of hats, your attribute might be related to your ability to lead, such as: “Software Engineer Job Application – Mary Smith, Demonstrated Entrepreneurial Spirit.”
The subject line is the prime place to start showing your value, the attributes that you can bring to the role, as well as making your application stand out in a hiring manager’s crowded inbox.
When you follow up after having the interview, make sure to include “thank you” in the subject line and include some detail about the interview so they can easily connect the dots.
A good subject line when circling back might read: “Mary Smith — Software Engineer Interview Follow-up and Thank You.”
CTO, Spreadsheet Planet
“In reference to my application”
If you recently applied for a job, this subject line might be used to follow up with the hiring manager or your interviewer. This subject line is succinct and informs the recipient that you’ve applied for a position at their organization.
“Have you visited [name of restaurant] in [city]?”
This subject line initiates contact with the recipient. Because many individuals enjoy exploring new restaurants, this personalizes your email and makes it stand out from the other messages in their inbox.
Even if you’ve never visited the restaurant, you might state that you’ve heard wonderful things about it or ask your receiver if they believe it’s worth visiting.
“It’s a pleasure to speak with you, [name]”
The subject line of this follow-up email demonstrates your sincerity and reminds the recipient that you previously communicated or met. Additionally, you can modify this subject line by including the recipient’s name.
In general, this subject line helps to make you memorable, which enhances the likelihood of them opening and replying to your email.
Job Enquiry- Assistant Manager (or any other job position)
Here are some subject lines that should help you write emails for job applications:
- Job Enquiry- Assistant Manager (or any other job position)
- Job Application- Assistant manager
- Job Posting #100 (if you are contacting the employer from a job-finding website, add the platform name here)
- Referred by __ for (Job Title)
Here are some subject lines for follow-up emails:
- Checking for Updates- Job Application
- Looking for Update Regarding Job Application
These subject lines help the employer understand what the email is all about. This way, you can get a positive update without annoying the employer.
Co-Founder, Up Shift Work
Job Application: Technical Content Specialist, Job ID #—(Your Name)
The key to a great subject line is using the appropriate keywords. Your subject line should be concise, direct, and as professional as possible. This helps the recruiters identify people who can fit in the working environment.
Also, the subject line does not give you leverage over creativity, so following the above template is your best shot at an email that catches the company’s attention.
Include the job title, so your purpose is clear, and to make it easy to identify your application, add your name and job ID if provided by the company at the time of the interview.
This method is tried out by job applicants who want to highlight the attention to their strong CVs and make a case for themselves. Subject lines are overlooked, but they serve a solid purpose of establishing your credibility on the job position.
Companies receive thousands of resumes; the only ones that stand out are applicants who take out the time to craft a creative and concise email to the recruiters.
Founder, Ask April
“Referred by (Name): (Your Name), job candidate for (Job Title)”
When you send an email to someone, one of the first things they will see is your email’s subject line. And that is why it is crucial to create a compelling subject line for your emails. A good subject line will help you encourage your recipients to open and read your email.
When sending job application and follow-up emails, as a business owner, here are some subject lines you can use:
Job application emails
When it comes to the subject line of your job application email, make sure to keep it concise and professional. And do not forget to mention the job title you are applying for.
- Job Application: (Job Title) – (Your Name)
- Applying for (Job Title) – (Your Name)
- Referred by (Name): (Your Name), job candidate for (Job Title)
For your follow-up email’s subject line, it is also crucial to keep it brief. And try to make it natural and conversational and personalize your subject line as well.
- Next steps…
- Pleasure chatting with you, (Name).
- Regarding my application…
Community Manager, LiveCareer
“Application for a Marketing Coordinator (78867) at [company name]”
Recruiters get tons of emails from candidates and need effective ways to organize them in their HR systems. As an applicant, you have control over how your job application is structured and can gain bonus points when applying for a job.
Your number one goal should be to make a hiring manager’s life easier and simplify the application process as much as you can. That’s why your subject line for a job application should be straightforward. Include the name of the position you’re applying for, job number, and company’s name.
For example, you can write: “Application for a Marketing Coordinator (78867) at [company name]”
“Really enjoyed our conversation about digital marketing yesterday!”
While it’s better to keep your email subject line simple when sending your application documents, be more creative with your follow-up email. In this case, your email subject line should help you to stand, grab the attention of a recruiter, and show that you care.
One of the ideas is to mention the experience you have with the recipient in the subject line. Did you have a vivid discussion about the future of digital marketing with an SEO expert?
Use this to your advantage and formulate your subject line in the following way: “Really enjoyed our conversation about digital marketing yesterday!”
However, remember to stay professional and humble when creating your follow-up email. You want to show your interest and build the first connection with your contact, but don’t go overboard. It’s better not to exaggerate and avoid trying to make friends when it’s not the right place and time for that.
Co-Founder, Academia Labs LLC
“Application for ____ Position (Surname, current designation or title)”
You can use the subject line: “Application for _ Position (Surname, current designation or title)”. For example, “Application for Chief Financial Officer Position (Miller, CFA).”
This subject line has all the necessary information a recruiter needs while only taking a quick look at the emails received. Since it has the position you are applying for, the recruiter will no longer get confused and won’t need to open the email just to identify the position involved.
This subject line also gives a glimpse of your qualifications, increasing your chances for an interview. Basically, this is a sure way to increase your hiring chances.
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