Your Email Resume Read
As a former editor at a magazine,
I have placed a few help wanted ads in my career. One small ad posted
on one job website easily elicits hundreds of cover letters and resumes
within a few days.
It is a daunting task to
open your email and have three hundred or more unread letters in your inbox
that you know you have to get through because you need to hire someone
for an available position. Then imagine how boring it is to see a
very long subject line of nothing but, “Re: Copyediting Job” or “Freelance
It is so very easy to submit
a resume via electronic media today that it seems few people take the time
to do a good job. In the old days of snail mail or faxes, you had
to make an effort to tailor a resume and cover letter to a particular employer
or job. Now with email so universal it is taken for granted as a
quick way to apply for a job. But the process of getting a job hasn’t
changed. To get a job offer you must do well in one or more interviews.
But before an interview can
take place, the employer must be impressed with your resume. And
how can you impress someone if your resume is never read? With
hundreds of resumes waiting in someone’s email box, why should your email
be read? Does your resume and cover letter stand out from the rest
of the competition in any way?
What many job hunters don’t
realize is that you can make a small change right at the beginning of your
email, and that can make all the difference.
The subject line of your
email is one way to get noticed and greatly increase the chance that your
resume will be read before the others.
As I open the first batch
of emails I am certain the right person has sent me their resume, but how
do I find it easily? Whose resume do I open first? The technique
that I have come to use is a small area of the email that many people don’t
realize can be used as an effective marketing tool: the subject line of
While reading the first batch
of resumes, I usually find several people who I feel are a good match for
the job and I contact them. If I don’t hire anyone, then I return
to the hundreds of resumes I still haven’t read. But if I do hire
someone from those initial contacts, then I no longer have a need to look
through any more resumes and I discard the resumes of qualified applicants
If there are hundreds of
resume waiting to be read, the first ones I open have an interesting subject
line which may read “Experienced Copyeditor” or “Copyeditor with 4 years
Experience.” It is extremely time consuming to read hundreds of resumes
when your job requires other responsibilities. Except for recruiters
whose job description involves reading hundreds of resumes daily, most
people who have to hire someone for a job in their department need shortcuts
to finding the right person. And one way I have found is to check
for subject lines that are interesting or at least different from the norm.
It is a simple thing, but
it can work wonders. Why write “Paralegal Job” when you can write
“Trained Litigation Paralegal Seeks Challenging Work." How about
“General Manager with Entrepreneurial Spirit” or “Sales Executive Brings
in $700,000 in Sales”.
Briefly describe your accomplishments
as they relate to the job. Mention your years of experience, your
training or relevant degrees. Try “Manager with MBA” or “Copywriter
Specializing in Pharmaceuticals” or “Promoted to Vice President of Marketing
In 3 Years.” Find one or two words to describe the job title you
are applying for. If you have never done the job before, mention
relevant skills or training.
If a job code is required,
spice it up. “Job Code 482: Civil Engineer with PhD” or “Job
Code GD2 Graphic Designer with HTML Expertise.” Anything except the
usual and the boring will do.
Even a bit of bragging or
humor can help. How about “Read this resume first” or “I am
the only person for the job.” But your resume must reinforce your claims.
Show imagination and creativity in something as simple as the subject line
and an employer will see you as someone who cares about the little things
and who makes the effort to be memorable.
In the electronic age you
have even less time to make a great first impression. So do what
you can to get your email noticed and your resume read. Little subject
lines do mean a lot.
here to find a career you can be passionate about
by Louise Banks
is the founder of Stories into Books, a manuscript evaluation service offering
detailed written critiques of unpublished books, articles, and short stories.
She is now working on the ebook, The Job Haters’ Club Guide to Starting
a Lucrative Editorial Services Business, to be published in early fall.
Visit her website at www.storiesintobooks.com
and subscribe to the Job Haters’ Club Newsletter at jobhatersclub-subscribe@
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