How To Write a Subject Line for a Job Application in 9 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 31, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated May 31, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

An appropriate subject line for an emailed job application can increase the chance that your email to be opened and read. It is important to take time to consider your subject line as it's your first opportunity to catch the recruiter's attention. If you are currently applying for jobs, you might want to know what subject lines make a good impression.

In this article, we explain how to write a good subject line with examples.

Key takeaways:

  • If you’re emailing a job application, your subject line should make it easy for employers to find.

  • Include your full name, the job title and ID (if applicable)—for example, Job application—Frontend Developer, #84728—Juan Rivera

  • Send your application from a professional-looking email that includes some variation of your name.

Why is the subject line for a job application important?

The subject line of an email is the first thing recipients see and may determine if they open the message. Many people scan their inboxes and delete what seems to be irrelevant or spam-like so your subject line can make the difference and catch the reader's attention.

The subject line is also the first impression your employer will get from you. It should be well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Finally, the subject line is an opportunity to introduce yourself. As they might not know your name yet, making sure your name appears clearly in the subject line might increase your chances of being read.

Related: 7 Powerful Ways To Start a Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to write a subject line for a job application

Here are several steps you can consider when creating a subject line for a job application:

1. Create a professional email address

A professional email address clearly states your first and last name, or your first initial and last name. It will facilitate your identification by your recipient during the job application process and further correspondence. If you don't have one, you can easily create it.

2. Verify the instructions

The employer might have provided clear instructions on how to apply. If there are subject line directions, follow those and don't add additional details. For example, they may ask you to provide the position, Job ID # and your name.

If there are no specific instructions, you can use a standard subject line and include the following:

Subject: Job application—Job title, Job ID (if applicable)—Your Name

If you send your resume without applying for a specific position, you can write your job title, followed by the word resume and your name. For instance: Subject: Senior accountant resume, Mark Don

3. Write the purpose of your email

Include the term "job application" and the job title to help the hiring manager identify the intention of your email immediately. You will ensure your application gets in the appropriate folder and increase its chances to be read.

4. Include keywords

There might be automatic filters in the recipient's inbox. Including the keywords referring to the position you are applying for will make your email easily detectable by the search filter. Keywords can be "job candidate," or a job ID if the job description mentions one.

5. Write your name

Finally, add your name to facilitate the recruiters' identification task. Otherwise, they would need to open your email and look for your name. Since they usually don't have a lot of time, introducing yourself in the subject line will increase the chances for your email to be opened.

6. Referrals and follow-up

Referrals establish trust between you and your recipient. By mentioning the name of somebody who already works in the company you are applying to, you catch the recruiter's attention.

If someone referred you for this position, you could add: "referred by." When you follow-up after the interview with an email to thank the interviewer, you can add "thank you" before the job title.

7. Personalize it

Some details might catch the reader's attention when related to the job application, such as:

  • If you know the name of the recipient, you can write it in the subject line.

  • If you have major qualifications that the job requires, you can mention them.

  • If you possess academic degrees required by the position, such as an MBA, Ph.D. or BA, you can add the acronyms after your name.

8. Stay succinct

A specific subject line will make it easier for the recipient to categorize your email and respond quickly. Also, you should keep it short. Nowadays, many people read their emails on their smartphones. Since mobile devices only display 25-30 characters of email subject lines, use the first words to write the essential. Be direct to ensure the hiring manager immediately knows what the email is about.

9. Proofread

Make sure you edit your email text and verify your subject line is free of errors before you send your email. Remember, it is the first impression you give to your future employer.

Related: How To Make a Resume (With Examples)

What to avoid when writing your subject line

Here are things to avoid in your subject line:

  • An unprofessional email address

  • Informal words

  • Too long or complicated

  • Too generic

  • Capitalizing every word in the subject line

  • Not respecting specific subject line instructions

An unprofessional email address

Email addresses that don't state your name or include nicknames might not reflect the seriousness of your job application.

If the format first name-last name is not available anymore, there are many other combinations you can use to create your email address. Your email can be a combination of your name and the job title you are applying to. It can include a few numbers as long as it stays short and professional.

Informal words

Your subject line should not include any informal words like "Hey" or "What's up." You should also avoid any impolite language.

Too long or complicated

Your subject line should not be too long or complicated. State your intention clearly in the first words. Don't give too many details. The goal is to get your email opened. You will have the opportunity to provide additional information further in the application process.

Too generic

Subject lines that are not specific might not get the attention of hiring managers or stay undetected by their inbox filters. Emails with generic subject lines are more likely to be unnoticed or forgotten.

Capitalizing every word in the subject line

Don't capitalize every word in your job application subject line. It looks unprofessional or potentially could make your email look like spam. Instead, You should only capitalize the first word. Except for names, the rest should be written in lowercase.

Not respecting a specific subject line instruction

The recruiter cares about your ability to follow directions, so start by following those, especially if the employer instructed you on the specific subject line to use. Before you send your resume, you can review the job posting or the company's website or HR info to verify it.

Related: How to Write a Professional Email

Email subject line examples

Here are some example job application subject lines for your inspiration:

When you send your application

  • Job application: financial analyst, job ID #22576—Justin Cole

  • Application for executive assistant—Peter Dim

  • Job posting #852: sales associate—Justin Cole

  • Sales manager: seeking new opportunity

  • Job application: HR manager with 20 years of experience—Paul Tom

  • Job application—business analyst—Marc Apo, MBA

When you send your application and you personally know the recipient

  • "Hi Jane—I've attached my veterinary resume"

When you send your application with referrals

  • Referred by Sasha Thomson: John Doe, job candidate for accountant position

  • Referral from Dana Mae: Jean Moore, candidate for accountant position

When you follow up after an interview

  • Following up on the analyst position—Jean Moore

  • Meeting follow up—the subject of meeting

  • Thank you—marketing manager interview—Herbert Dan

  • Meeting request—sales associate position—Jean Moore

  • Following up on the sales associate interview—Jean Moore


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