Applying for a job via email is a great way to get direct contact with recruiters and hiring managers.
But how do you write a job application email that will capture their attention and land the interview?
This step-by-step guide will show you how to craft the perfect job-winning email.
Email subject line
When crafting a job application email, it’s crucial to understand that your initial objective is to get the hiring manager to read your email.
This means grabbing their attention with an attractive subject line and providing a compelling reason for them to click on your message.
Instead of using a generic subject line like most applicants, seize this opportunity to start promoting your selling points right off the bat.
Use the subject line to showcase your abilities and experience in a succinct, screen-compact title. Identify your major strength as a candidate and devise a way to incorporate it into your subject line. For instance:
- “Seasoned Digital Copywriter with a 7-year Marketing Background”
- “Experienced Solicitor Specialising in Property Law “
Bear in mind that subject lines are brief, offering only about 30-35 characters for you to use effectively.
CV files labelled as “CV”, “new CV” or, even worse, an arbitrary set of letters and numbers (like CV_778778.pdf) will appear disorganised and risk being overlooked among the numerous other CVs that a recruiter receives daily.
You should incorporate your first and last name when naming your CV file, and also add a brief word or phrase to showcase your profession or professional title.
“John Jones CV”
“John Jones CV SEO Consultant”
This will give a professional first impression, whilst also giving recruiters an early indication of your talents.
Addressing the recipient
Establishing an early personal connection with a prospective employer is best achieved by addressing the recipient personally.
However, this will require a bit of investigation…you should be able to find the names of recruitment managers on the company’s website, LinkedIn, or within the job advertisement itself.
If the recruiter‘s name isn’t accessible, opt for a genial ‘Hi‘, and don’t use excessively formal, antiquated phrases like “Dear Sir or Madam.” For instance:
“Hi [recruiter name]”
To make a favourable impression on the recruiter and motivate them to open your CV, it’s advisable to come across as personable and friendly with a warm introduction – the recruiter likely opens hundreds of cold and robotic-sounding job application emails daily, so a personalised touch will be highly appreciated, and help you start building rapport with them.
Try a brief greeting, such as:
- “Hope you’re enjoying a pleasant week”
- “Trust this email finds you in good spirits”
But remember to keep it professional and avoid being excessively personal.
State the job you are applying for
Following your personalised opening, it’s crucial to tell the reader which job you’re applying for. Given that recruiters manage numerous job openings, you want to ensure your application is directed to the right role.
State the complete job title, and if the job title is common or ambiguous, you may also want to include the job reference number. For instance:
“I am applying for the role of [precise job title], as advertised on [company website/recruitment website]”
“I would like to put forward my application for the role of [job title] as advertised on [company website/recruitment website]. Job reference number: [XXXXX].”
It’s not mandatory to add the job reference number, but it can really help the recruiter out if the company is advertising a variety of similar roles within the same department.
Show your suitability
Now it’s time to introduce yourself and explain why you are suitable for the job – one of the most crucial parts of the job application email.
Write between 2-4 sentences that succinctly show the recruiter why you are a good match for the job, and why it’s worth opening your CV.
You don’t need to repeat every word from your CV, just provide an overview of the highlights and your key selling points in relation to the job being applied for. Aim for something similar to your CV profile, but slightly more condensed.
Example suitability 1 – Experienced candidate
“With over 10 years of experience working in fast-paced, results-driven SEO environments, I have developed a skillset ideal for the role of [job title]. In a daily workday, I liaise with several B2B clients, providing digital strategy to companies both local and global as a marketing consultant.
I have proven to be successful in my work, having [give a recent example of success], and it would be a privilege to help grow [company name] in the same way.”
This example piques the recruiter’s interest by demonstrating value – the recruiter isn’t subjected to reading a list of qualifications or generic degrees – instead, they receive tangible information about how this individual could benefit their company. This will inspire them to open the CV to learn more about the candidate.
Even if you lack extensive professional experience, you can still create a strong impression with your email introduction. The secret is to showcase value – merely listing your A-levels isn’t beneficial as it doesn’t differentiate your candidacy from others who may have similar results.
Rather, leverage the skills you’ve acquired throughout your academic and professional journey, tailoring them to fit the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you were applying for a position in an online news agency or social media company, you could use the following example:
Example suitability 2 – Student with no experience
“With 2 years working as an editor for my university newspaper [Name], I developed a rich understanding of the editorial process and experienced first-hand the demands of a fast-paced newsroom. During my period as editor, we broke various stories about university staff pay cuts and student living standards, while increasing our online subscriptions by 250%.”
Although this example doesn’t exhibit a professional employment record, it illustrates the positive influence you exerted in an organisation where you initiated engagement and demonstrated initiative.
If you lack work experience, you can apply this to any extracurricular activity or volunteer programme, but be sure to research how this experience will benefit you in the role you’re applying for.
Even as a student without any experience, you can still craft a compelling job application email if you are creative and think outside of the box.
Give your reasons for applying to the job
Employers are always keen to know why you are applying for a job with them, so you need to meet this query head-on in your application email.
Most companies and recruiters prefer to know that their employees are committed for the long-term: hence, it’s important to project both knowledge and passion about the role, and the company itself, demonstrating your enthusiasm.
You can briefly mention the company’s principles, the allure of the job itself, and your overall suitability for the role as factors driving your application. For example:
“My expertise in [field], combined with my resonance with [company’s] ethos, impel me to apply for this role. I am confident that I possess both the requisite skillset and the personal motivation necessary to excel in this position.”
“I am applying for this role as I perceive [company] as a progressive and open-minded environment to work in, and I am certain that I could make a substantial contribution to its success.”
By discussing key values of the company, the recruiter will acknowledge that you either invested time in conducting research (which indicates initiative and keenness) or that you’re already familiar with the company – an aspect employers greatly appreciate.
Your availability to interview
Towards the end of your email, you need to give the reader an indication of when you are available to meet with them for an interview.
You want to appear positive and enthusiastic, so you should give the impression that you are flexible and available to interview soon. Don’t come across negative by giving a list of days or times that you can’t attend.
Here are some examples – you can also add a call-to-action that nudges them towards reading your CV.
“Please find attached a copy of my CV. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience.”
“I have attached my CV for your consideration, and I am free for an interview at short notice.”
To round up your job application email, you’ll want to provide the recruiter with multiple options for contacting you (mainly phone and email) in a professional looking way.
The optimal method for this is to add a professional signature to the bottom of your email, like the ones below.
Always ensure you use a professional looking email address in your signature.
A recruiter is far more inclined to consider an applicant seriously if they have a professional email address, and less likely to contact someone requesting them to reach them on an address like; “email@example.com”
If you are still using an embarrassing sounding email address that you’ve had since you were a teenager, consider setting up a new one for your job search.
Example job application emails
Check out some examples of effective job application emails below for inspiration and guidance: