The Subject Line is the Most Important Facet of Your Emails
Every job seeker knows that they have approximately 20 seconds or less to impress a hiring manager with their resume and attending cover letter.
It is equally well known that Recruiters & internal HR professionals are inundated with unsolicited emails on a daily basis, a large percentage of which are from those seeking employment, businesses trying to market their new products, etc. In other words, something is ‘wanted or needed’ from the recipient.
Unfortunately, many of these unsolicited emails end up in the spam folders because of incorrect punctuation such as exclamation points, and ineffective subject lines.
As an example, I have seen ‘please see attached resume’, which of course tells me nothing – not even what type of position the individual is applying for, or what experience they have to offer my firm.
Naturally, putting something like ‘please see attached resume’ or ‘stop, I’m the right one’ in your subject line guarantees that the spam filters will capture it, or worse, the intended recipient will receive the email and have to take their time to put it in the spam folder themselves – making a mental note of the sender’s name, I might add.
Conversely, if you put something such as ‘B2B Marketing Expert’ or ‘Vice President, Special Non-Profit Projects in Ottawa’, you will likely be successful in dispatching your email to the intended party, and have a much better chance that your email will indeed be opened and read.
Personalizing Your Email – Full Contact Name
It is an entirely different matter if your job search emails are ‘solicited’ for specific positions where you are told what to enter into the subject line, and are either given a direct email address, and/or given the individual’s name to direct your correspondence to.
However when this information is not readily available to you, it is your responsibility to learn whom the email should be directed to by performing a little research on the firm you are targeting. You may be able to quickly Google the company name and learn the contact names quickly or perhaps take a wee bit longer to find they are listed on a professional network such as LinkedIn.
Attention Grabbing Details – Use Bullet Points
Now that you have piqued their curiosity, it is imperative that your email content grabs them and holds them long enough to quickly read your first body of text, which would ideally be your major career accomplishments.
Remember you are competing with literally hundreds of others in this individual’s overflowing email inbox, so it is imperative that you are very efficient and powerful in communicating your value.
Make it easy for the recipient to see what it is you have to offer, whether you are conducting a job search, or marketing a new product or tool for your firm. Using bullet points, you can quickly highlight five or so items that will appeal to your specific target audience.
Make it Brief & Succinct
I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to keep in mind that your ‘email’ should be a brief and succinct message, versus a ‘cover letter’ in your job search toolkit.
Simply follow the instructions laid out in the job advertisement and act accordingly, as there will be instances where you will be asked to provide a ‘cover letter email’ rather than ‘attaching’ a cover letter in Word or RTF (rich text format).
Make your best effort to make your emails as short as possible, while still holding a powerful impact, highlighting your major achievements and accomplishments, and clearly stating what it is you are ‘offering’ and ultimately seeking from the recipients.
Complete Contact Info
Although this seems rather obvious, you do want to give the party as many avenues as possible to contact you, aside from your return email and telephone number.
If you have a strong professional portfolio set up on the Internet, share that link, just as you would do with your professional LinkedIn Profile. If you have a career website, be sure the URL is active and working properly when you add it to your closing.
I do not suggest including the more ‘personal’ social networking URLs such as your Twitter or Facebook page, as you want your target audience to see your ‘professional’ side, versus the more intimate side of your personality profile.