How To Write the Subject Line in an Email for a Job Application

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 1, 2022 | Published August 17, 2021

Updated October 1, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

By using the appropriate subject line in an email with your cover letter or job application, you increase the chances of your message being opened and read by a hiring manager. Your subject line is your first opportunity to catch a recruiter's attention. If you're applying for jobs, knowing which subject lines make a good impression can help you get an invitation to interview. In this article, we discuss why the subject line is important, how to write a good subject line, and helpful examples.

Why is the subject line in an email for a job application important?

Subject lines are important because recipients notice them first, and their reaction may determine whether they open it. Many people delete messages in their inbox that seem irrelevant or spam-like. A good email subject for a job application can catch the reader's attention and encourage them to read the email.

Since the subject line for an email is often the first impression that employers get from an applicant, ensure it is attention-getting, well-written, and free from spelling or grammatical errors. Use the subject line as an opportunity to introduce yourself to recruiters and hiring managers. You can also encourage people to remember your name after they read your email by including it in the subject line.

Read more: The Best Ways To Start an Email for the Desired Response

How to write the subject line in an email for a job application

When you create a subject line for a job application email, consider using these steps:

1. Create and use a professional email address

To create a professional email address, base it on your first and last name, or your first initials and your last name. Avoid nicknames and any language that could be impolite or unprofessional. For example, someone named John Jacob Smith could choose “JJSmith@email.com.” A professional email makes your name more memorable, and it can make identifying you as the sender easier for recipients. It can also make focusing on your job search easier. If you only use your email for professional purposes, you can avoid distraction from personal emails.

Read more: 20 Best Practices for Professional Email Etiquette

2. Read the application instructions.

Many employers provide clear instructions on how to apply for jobs. If there are directions on what to include in the subject line, follow them without adding any additional details. For example, the application instructions could ask you to provide the job title, the job ID number, and your name.

The ability to follow directions without making mistakes is very important for most positions, and many hiring managers could decide to disqualify applicants who don't follow instructions. Before you send your email, review the directions to ensure you are aware of everything, and look for any misspellings or other errors in the email address. You can also review the company's website or their HR information.

3. Write the purpose of your email.

Make it easy for readers to see that you're interested in a position. If specific application instructions about the subject line are absent, you can include a standard subject like, "Subject: Application for [Job title], [Job ID number (if applicable)], [Your Name]"

Including the word "application" and the job title can help the hiring manager identify your email's intention or purpose immediately. That way, you can ensure that your application gets to the appropriate folder and the right people read it. If you send your resume to applying for a general position with the company, rather than a specific one, you can write your current job title, the word "resume", and your name. For example: "Subject: Senior accountant resume, Mark Smith".

4. Include keywords

Busy recruiters often use automatic email filters to move less relevant messages to another folder. Including keywords related to the position you're interested in can help you ensure that your email gets to the recipient's inbox. Mention the name of the position in the subject along with a phrase like “job application” or “job candidate”. It is also a good idea to include additional keywords in your cover letter and resume. When possible, use the same words and phrases as you see in the potential employer's job description.

5. Mention any referrals

Mentioning any referrals can make you more trustworthy to hiring managers. If someone you know recommended that you apply for a position, ask the person if you can mention their name to recruiters. A referral from someone already working at the company is a great way to make your job recommendation email get noticed. Add “referred by” and the person's name to the subject line. You can also ask the person for a letter of recommendation and include it with your cover letter and resume.

6. Personalize the subject

Personalizing the email subject line for a job inquiry can help you catch readers' attention and ensure they remember your message. If you know the name of the recipient, you can include it in the subject line. Otherwise, you can use the name of the company and the hiring manager's job title. If you have qualifications that the job requires, mention them. You can also place the initials for any academic degrees you received, such as MBA, Ph.D., BA, or BSc, after your name.

If you've spoken to the email recipient before, you can use less formal language like “Hi” and the person's name. If you're sending a thank you email after a job interview, you can use a subject like “Thank you for a great interview” and the name of the position. Avoid any language that could be offensive or unprofessional.

7. Keep the subject concise

A subject line for a job application that's short, specific, and easy to read is usually most effective. It makes seeing what your email is about and responding quickly easier for recipients. Most mobile devices only display 20 to 30 characters of an email subject line, and many employers use their smartphones to check their emails when they're away from the office. Be direct, and place the most important words, like the name of the position and your name, near the beginning. You can provide plenty of additional information after recruiters and other recipients open your email.

8. Proofread your email

Before you send your email, read it carefully and make sure that the subject line is free of errors. Remember, the subject for a job application email is the first impression many people give to a future employer. To make your email looks less like a spam message, avoid capitalizing every letter of the subject. Instead, only capitalize the first word, your name, and other words that are usually capitalized, like the name of the company.

Since some devices are unable to display all emojis correctly, avoid them. Remove any exclamation points as well. They may make your email seem less professional. Before you send your email, read it carefully and correct any mistakes. It is also a good idea to ask a friend or mentor to read your email and any attachments. That way, they can tell you their opinion. A different perspective is often useful for catching subtle errors and making your email sound more professional.

Email subject line examples

Review the following examples of job application subject lines that can help you write emails to recruiters or hiring managers:

When you send your application email

Here are some examples of an application email subject line:

  • Job application: financial analyst, job ID #22335-Jane Cole

  • Application for executive assistant-Pamela Dim

  • Job posting #855: sales associate-Jacob Callum

  • Sales manager seeking new opportunity-Laura Adams

  • Job application: HR manager with over 20 years of experience-Paul Thompson

  • Job application-business analyst-Mark Apo, MBA

Related: 11 Steps on How to Email a Cover Letter (With Example)

When you email your application and you know the recipient personally

Here are some examples of subject lines you can use if you know the recipient personally:

  • Hi Jane. I have attached my veterinary resume.

  • Good morning, Tom. Here is my resume for the sales associate position.

  • Sales associate resume from Jane Cole. Thank you for your time, Wendy.

  • Bank teller job application–Victor Smith. Thanks for speaking with me last week.

When you send your application email with a referral

Here are some examples of subject lines for application emails with referrals:

  • Referred by Sally Thomson, software developer: John Doe, candidate for the web developer position

  • Referral from Dana Morrow: Jeanette Black, candidate for the accountant position

  • Referral from Darren Price: Jane Cole, candidate for shift supervisor

  • Referred by John Smith: Michael O'Brien, financial analyst candidate, job ID # 22884

  • Referred by Jill Teller: Dan L. Jackson, accountant job ID # 87230

Read more: How To Write a Job Application Email (With Templates and Tips)

When you follow up with an email after an interview

Use these examples to help you write your own subject lines if you have completed your interview:

  • Following up on the financial analyst position–Michael O'Brien

  • Thank you for a great marketing manager interview-Herbert Walker

  • Meeting request for the sales associate position- Jean Moore

  • Following up on the sales associate interview-Janet Kelly

  • Thank you for answering my questions in the marketing manager interview last week-Victoria Black


Explore more articles