E-mail Subject Lines: Think Like a Marketer

Running a strategic job search means that sometimes you need to send cold e-mails to people that you don’t know asking for a networking meeting.

When you send cold messages, you want to be thoughtful about your subject line and the body of your message.

You want to encourage the unsuspecting person to open the email and respond.

47% of people open emails based on the subject line alone, according to research done by Business 2 Community.


Email subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long, particularly on mobile devices. According to the website EmailMonday, 77% of email opens are now taking place on mobile. HubSpot recommends subject lines with fewer than 50 characters to make sure the people scanning your emails read the entire subject line.

LeadGenius tested e-mail subject lines and found that the subject “I found you through <insert first and last name>” got an 86% open rate.

Here are some other non-spammy subject lines:

▪️Loved your recent article in <insert publication>

▪️Fellow Georgia grad looking to connect <insert university of choice/or hometown if it’s smaller>

▪️ HubSpot claims that the subject line “Needs your advice” got a 96% response rate.

▪️ <insert name> suggested that I reach out to you

Austin Belcak, founder of Cultivated Culture, shared that his go-to is “Quick Question” – it’s short, it’s concise, and it sparks some curiosity. I’ve been using it for years, it got me in touch with my contacts at Google and it helped me get a reply from Arianna Huffington to write for HuffPo!”

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  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

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