It should come as no surprise that job recruiters and placement agencies use email to solicit interest in their available jobs. They have their candidate contacts, which they use to cast as broad a net as possible to find quality potential employees.

Today, however, a new level of sophistication is necessary to get those emails opened by the recipients. With as many as 60% of emails getting identified as spam by filtering software, as well as the highest-ever level of competition for recipients’ attention, recruiters need to take their game to the next level.

Taking a cue from email marketing strategies, recruiters need to remember they are not simply alerting candidates to available jobs. Instead, they are selling their placement services. The same techniques that email marketers have been using can improve recruiter email open rates.

Here are five tips for writing effective emails that generate higher responses:

1. Don’t Look Like Spam

Email filters have become sophisticated in identifying likely spam. Take some time to understand how these spam filters work and what triggers them. A few obvious things to avoid include:

  • exclamation points: they are a weak enthusiasm generator
  • sending too many emails: filters see volume as junk
  • limit internal links: filters considering this a gaming factor for attention
  • images instead of text: use words to get your message out
  • all caps: filters see all capitalized words as clear spam signals


Different email systems have their own specifications for spam filtering. Research the major platforms like Outlook or Gmail to understand what they consider spam.

On the other side of the coin, make sure to use an email verifier tool. Sending out emails that won’t land in an inbox is not only a waste of your resources, time and money, but can also affect your open rates and sender reputation.

2. Create Compelling Subject Lines

The first thing people see in their inbox is the subject line. Hook the reader with strong descriptives that make them want to know more. Don’t tease: it looks cheap and is easily dismissed. Instead, be upfront about the subject matter of the email. For example, “Challenging Financial Position” will get more attention than “New Job Opportunity.”

Also, most email interfaces display the first line or two of the email text. Use this space to your advantage as well by adding more visible detail before the email is even opened.

3. Write Great Content

It’s easy to mistake emails as simple announcements or FYI text. Don’t just tell people your news; make it exciting and intriguing. Bring some style to your message that keeps people reading.

The most effective emails are short, but packed with information. Avoid pasting in long job and benefit descriptions. Instead, presenting a few compelling highlights will make readers want to know more.

Most importantly, make it obvious what the next step interested parties need to take to connect with you. A good “call to action” link or button should be easy to find in order to effortlessly connect you and your candidate.

4. Format For Mobile Devices

Over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Keep this in mind when writing and formatting emails.

Keep sentences short and use headers to group together common elements. Also, larger fonts work better than smaller ones. If you want to use images, be sure to include alternate text since many mobile users block images. And finally, remember to include that all-important call-to-action in a prominent place and make it easy to click.

5. Review Your Success Rates

Email analytics will also tell you what’s working and what’s not. Review your email metrics for ideas to experiment with. This could be anything from changing up subject lines, varying the length of content, and playing with keywords that spark interest.

Your goal is to get your email opened and read. Using established marketing techniques can increase open and response rates.

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.