Rule number one of searching for a job: always make a good first impression.

If your initial contact with a hiring agent or prospective employer is a personal meeting, it is essential to dress well, act courteously, and do whatever else it takes to demonstrate your poise and professionalism.

The same is true of your online job search process. Often, before there is a resume, a cover letter, or a verbal conversation, there is an email. Your positive image begins with the very first words in that message: the subject line.

How to “Get the Open”
HR professionals and recruiters are besieged with email messages every day. As a decision maker scans his or her mailbox, make sure that one of the messages opened and read is yours. Here are some tips for creating subject lines that are dynamic, interesting and professional – and take your job search to the next level:

  • Be Specific.
    Using as much detail as possible, use full words, not acronyms or slang, and list the full position you’re interested in. Some examples include “Materials Management Director Position” and “Human Resources Specialist Position #12345/Your Name.” If you’re seeking an exploratory interview, your subject line might read “Exploratory Interview Request – Communications Manager.”
  • Be Professional.
    Avoid silly remarks and stay away from statements which may seem catchy or humorous on the surface, but could be misconstrued. Likewise, avoid exclamation points. Do not use capital letters, which make text harder to read and are considered “shouting” at your reader.
  • Be Concise.
    A recent study found that subject lines of 35 characters or less received 52 percent higher open rates. So choose your words carefully and be detail oriented, but keep your subject line clear and on point.
  • Be Nice.
    Personalize your message and avoid bragging or appearing pompous or overly assertive. If you’ve been referred to a job or recruiter by a contact person, leverage that information appropriately, but don’t just name drop.


Remember, your goal in crafting the best possible subject line is to incite the reader to open and read your message. From there, the content of that message and the ensuing steps you take will set you on the path to career progress. But, if you miss that first step, you could take quite a stumble.

Building the right tools and the best plan for your job search takes strategy and hard work. Contact the professionals at Alternative Staffing if you need an experienced partner on your career pathway.

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