The Door Opener: How to Use Your Email Subject Line as a Mini-Resume

email subject lineHow can you use your email subject line to win a job interview?

Whenever you find the name of a headhunter or hiring manager, email is likely going to be your first line of approach. But we all flounder in oceans of unwanted communications.

To a recruiter or hiring manager you are an unknown correspondent, so your email subject line can make the difference between a careful reading of your message and instant deletion.

With e-mail, the subject Line is your attention grabber because it acts as your headline and your advertising pitch. You know how headlines on blogs, articles, books, and movies are used to grab readers’ attention and draw them into the story? In the same way, your subject line is what draws the reader into your e-mail.

It needs to be intriguing and concise. And it should also allow the recipient to immediately recognize who you are and what you want. The hard part? You have to achieve this goal with limited space.

Using the Email Subject Line

The subject line in an email inbox typically reveal about 60 characters, you need to take advantage of this advertising space and can do better than settle for subject lines that state, “Resume” or “Jim Smith’s Resume.” If you are responding to a job posting, the job title and job posting number are useful as a start, you can add the credentials that you know are important from your reading of the job posting. For example:

  • Financial Analyst posting #MB450—CPA/MBA/8 yrs exp
  • Posting # 2314—MIT Grad is interested
  • Job #6745—Top performing sales professional wants to talk

If there is no job posting to refer to:

  • IT Manager—7 yrs IT Consulting
  • Benefits Consultant—Nonprofit Exp in NY
  • Referral from Tony Banks—Product Management Job

The Email Subject Line Resume

You actually have enough space to turn your subject line into a condensed two-part resume.

The subject line of an unopened email in the average inbox will typically reveal a maximum of 60 characters. You want to get the most compelling information into less than 60 characters. This example uses 48 characters, with spaces:

  • Your next Reg HR Manager—EEOC, FLSA, & ADA exp

An opened message will show usually show up to 150 characters. So, an expanded email subject line that captures more critical skills can act as a condensed resume. This example has an expanded subject line that comes in at 148 characters, including spaces.

  • Your next Reg HR Manager—EEOC, FLSA, ADA, OSHA. 10 years experience includes arbitration, campus recruitment, selection, compensation, T&D

Take full advantage of the available space in your email subject line. Send the reader a mini-resume. Only then can you draw the reader into the message of your email… and win the job interview.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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