Many job candidates spend more time on the subject line than the email message. There is so much on the line with a subject line that it can lead a candidate to analysis paralysis. This can turn a fifteen-minute activity into a dreaded task. Ideally, your subject line will beacon the recipient to open your message.
A blank subject line is asking for the message to be deleted or marked as Spam. Step up and write a professional subject line. If a colleague referred you, you might write, “Chris Jones referred me to you” as a subject. When responding to a job posting, write the name of the job and your name in the subject line. If there is a job posting number, include that too. (Software Engineer, #60398). After the interview, you could write “Thank You – Software Engineer Interview.” Be specific and concise so the recipient can quickly process who you are and why they want to read your message.
Demanding subject lines, such as “Open ASAP” or “Second Request,” are often a turn-off. Similarly, don’t shout at the reader with all capital letters (MARKETING VP AVAILABLE). Avoid glib lines because you do not know the reader and you do not have a sense of how your non-traditional style will be received. Dramatic pleas, such as “Hire me” or “Help,” may seem desperate. Instead keep your subject line professional and informative.
The subject line is a factor when the recipient decides to open, ignore, or delete a message. There is no guarantee that your email will be opened or your resume will be read. However, like any aspect of your life, if you make good choices it can make a difference over time. One hamburger or one serving of broccoli may not change your health. However, a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise can be physically and mentally rewarding. In a job search a series of good choices will lead to greater success. The subject line of your email is one of the little things among many other things that can lead to success.