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A strong subject line for your cover letter

Tips for choosing an effective subject line.

Learn to choose an effective subject line.

A first impression is often a lasting impression. But how do you make a strong impression on your first attempt? Well, when applying for a job, a simple way is to use a great subject line in your cover letter. This not only adds weight to the letter but also increases your chance of being noticed and shortlisted. The tips below explain how a good subject line can make your job application more effective.

Make the most of the subject line

Do not leave the subject line on your cover letter blank. It is a small space, but one that can make a huge difference—provided you use the right words. So, rather than write only the job code, try to squeeze in as much info as possible. Only, remember to keep it short. A good example of this would be, ‘Experienced Research Fellow Applying for the Position of Librarian (Job #123)’.

Keep it short and simple

Stick to the basics and do not try anything fancy here. A brief and to-the-point subject line is the key to success. Avoid using any informal words or salutations and keep the humour away. Remember that the employer has very little time to scan through letters. Should he find something inappropriate in your subject line, he might just brush aside your entire application.

Use the right keywords

Nowadays, many employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS scans CVs and cover letters for specific keywords. Insert the right keywords in your subject line to ensure that your application reaches the next round of (human) short-listing. For instance, you could write, ‘Experienced Teacher for Third-Grade Teaching Position.”


Finally, in your hurry to send out multiple job applications, do not make an error in the subject line. Proofread and crosscheck to ensure that your subject line is perfect. If you are applying for two jobs simultaneously, the biggest blunder would be to mix up the subject lines of the two cover letters! This could lead to your application being rejected at both places without your CV even being considered. So, be very careful.

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