Here’s a confession: If someone asked me how I was able to land two of the most exciting full-time marketing roles in my career, my first instinct would have been to say that I was just “lucky.”
A second later, though, I’d be much fairer to myself and admit that I was able to make the hiring manager interested in learning more about me. When you apply for an open role, this first impression usually happens when you send in your resume over email.
The biggest hurdle? Standing out among other applicants in the hiring manager’s inbox.
As I’ve been self-employed for over four years now, the last time I applied for any full-time role was years before ChatGPT came to the market.
Still, I wondered if AI is capable of creating an email that would be compelling and personal and, therefore, has the potential to intrigue a hiring company. Also, how much information would I have to include in my prompt to get a satisfactory outcome? I tested three different prompts to see — here’s what I learned.
Table of Contents
What is a job application email?
A job application email is a formal email sent to a recruiter or a hiring manager by someone who’s seeking employment. It aims to express interest in a specific position and to share relevant information on the applicant’s skills and experience.
How to Write a Job Application Email
1. Add a relevant subject line.
On top of applications from candidates, the hiring manager receives tens of other emails every single day.
And while you have no control over how much communication they receive, you can do a lot to boost your job application email visibility.
“Make your intentions clear in the subject line,” says Robert Kaskel, chief people officer at Checkr.“Mention it’s an application, the role in question, and your name. Also, remember that most email providers only display 20-30 characters of subject line text in the recipient’s inbox.”
Kaskel also underlines that you should steer clear of any “clickbait-y” text.
“Nor should you try to create a sense of urgency by using words like ‘Urgent,’ ‘Immediate,’ or ‘Time-sensitive.’ These tactics might work for marketers, but they’re more likely to alienate and irritate a recruiter who may view them as deceptive,” he said.
2. Adjust your tone of voice to the company.
As a marketer, you know that brands use a different tone of voice. Some are more relaxed than others. If you want to stand out from other applicants, try to use a tone of voice that matches the company you’re applying to.
Take a look at the job ad. Is it written in a friendly, humorous manner, or is it super professional? Write your email copy in a way that shows you ‘get’ their communication style.
This is especially important when applying for marketing positions. After all, an ability to adjust to a brand’s tone of voice is something to be expected from marketing pros. Right?
3. Keep it short and relevant.
Whenever I scroll through LinkedIn, the amount of people who apply for a job never fails to amaze me. There are hundreds of applicants within a few hours after posting a job ad. The job market has gotten incredibly competitive.
That said, recruiters have to go through tons of LinkedIn messages and emails. Their time is limited, so keep your email short and to the point.
Make sure that your opening paragraph is catchy. If you make it blunt and irrelevant, the recruiters won’t bother reading the rest.
Kimberley Tyler-Smith, executive at Resume Worded, says, “As a recruiter who‘s seen thousands of applications cross my desk, I can tell you one thing for sure: the generic, formulaic emails blur into a monotonous hum. But the ones that truly stand out? They’re the ones that tell a story.”
A story sparks curiosity, Tyler-Smith notes.
“A well-crafted story hooks me in, making me want to know more about the person behind the words. It‘s no longer just a resume on a screen. It’s a glimpse into your unique journey, your motivations, and your potential.
It reveals your passion, your humor, your resilience — all the qualities that make you, well, you. And in a world of faceless applications, authenticity is gold,” Tyler-Smith says.
She also says that it shows you’re a great fit for the company.
“A story that connects your experiences to the specific role and company paints a vivid picture of why you’re not just qualified, but perfectly suited for the job,” adds Tyler-Smith.
4. Include a personal salutation.
Starting your job application email with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Hiring Team” isn’t the best way to make a good first impression.
If the recruitment manager isn’t listed in the job ad, find out who is responsible for hiring in this specific company. It might require some digging, but it will be worth the effort.
The majority of candidates won’t bother to find out the person’s name, and if you do, you will stand out.
5. Attach your CV and label it correctly.
Remember to attach your CV to your email; if you forget to do it, high chances are your application will be ignored. Also, make sure it’s correctly labeled.
Daniel Kroytor, the founder of TailoredPay, explains why this is so important. “It is not unusual for a job application email to include attachments, but what many do not consider are their labels, and this is why they should look at them carefully before sending,” he says.
He adds that “it is important to remember that you are not the only person who is inquiring about a job opportunity, which means that potential employers will receive dozens if not hundreds of documents, and if they are mislabeled, they could be disregarded or cause HR headaches.”
Max Wesman, founder and COO at GoodHire, further emphasizes the importance of email attachments. He sees them as the most important element of a job application.
Wesman says that “not only do you need to attach the right documents, but they also need to be neatly designed, well-written, and free of any mistakes.”
Attachments allow you to attach documents and add information outside of the basic application format. Wesman notes, “So make sure to attach any fun, interesting, or qualifying documents that can help your case.”
6. Include a personalized section on why you fit the company.
Avoid statements like “I have years of experience” if you aren’t planning to prove how it ties with the company you’re applying to in the next couple of sentences.
Each sentence should help the hiring manager assess how exactly your presence could contribute to the business.
For example, if you’re applying for a social media manager position, you could share a story of a successful campaign that you came up with the idea for and how many leads or sales it generated.
Gianluca Ferruggia, general manager at DesignRush, has a great take on this, saying that candidates should showcase not only their professionalism but also their personal brand.
“This isn‘t simply about using formal language; it’s more about the way a candidate presents their capabilities and achievements. Relating past experiences to the job’s requirements helps connect their history with the future role,” Ferruggia notes.
Ferruggia says that the “personal” touch can be, as mentioned above, a company project example or even a professional value that you and the company both share. This will help set your application apart.
“It leaves an impression that the candidate is both proficient in their field and has done their homework, fitting seamlessly into the organization’s culture and vision,” Ferruggia says.
What ChatGPT Wrote Me
It’s time to have some fun! I’ve decided to run a little experiment to see if ChatGPT could be of any help when it comes to writing job application emails.
I used three different prompts to see how they would impact the output. Here is what I got.
The prompt: “Could you please write me a job application email for a Content Strategist position at Swooped?”
What I Think
It wasn’t an epic fail, given how generic the prompt was, but it wasn’t great either. First of all, it’s too long. The information about the work experience and achievements isn’t detailed enough. It doesn’t include any specific numbers.
For example, instead of just saying, “I successfully developed and executed content strategies that significantly increased brand visibility and engagement,” it could say, “I successfully developed and executed content strategies that boosted organic traffic by 50%.” This sounds a lot more impressive.
The tone of voice is a bit bland. Swooped has a friendly and relaxed communication style, but — to be fair — ChatGPT 3.5 couldn’t know it, as I didn’t mention it in the prompt, and it has no access to the company’s website.
Also, some information, such as “I am particularly impressed by Swooped’s commitment to innovation and its dynamic approach to content marketing,” seems to be made up. I didn’t tell ChatGPT that Swooped was innovative.
On a positive note, it suggested a relevant subject line. It included all elements that should appear in a job application email, like a personalized salutation, info about previous experience, a resume, and thanks for the consideration.
Overall, I could potentially treat it as a first draft.
The prompt: Write me an email for a job application as the Content Strategist at Swooped. Suggest a professional email subject line. Mention that I have five years of experience as a content marketer in the B2B industry. Use a professional but friendly tone of voice. Keep it within 120 words.”
What I Think
This time, I added more details to the prompt. Is the result much better? I don’t think so. The email is a lot shorter, which is good. Even though I asked for a more friendly tone of voice, it seems like it doesn’t differ from the first version – it’s still more on the formal side. Again, some of the information it uses is fictional.
What surprised me is that it used “Dear Hiring Manager” this time, instead of a manager’s name. The verdict? I would still have to put in quite a lot of work before sending it. It’s simply too generic and looks like an email that I could send to any company. It calls for a lot more personalization.
For the third version, I decided to give ChatGPT a very detailed brief, based on Swooped’s real-life job ad on LinkedIn.
The prompt: “Write me an email for a job application as the Content Strategist at Swooped. Suggest a professional email subject line. Take into consideration the following job requirements:
- A minimum of 3 years of work experience in a content marketing role across a variety of industry verticals.
- Proficiency in project management and project scheduling programs such as Asana.
- Familiarity with Ahrefs, Google Search Console, or other SEO tools.
- A persistent curiosity about how to improve processes or explore new tools.
- The propensity to view change as an opportunity.
- The courage to ask questions, make suggestions, and never settle for going with the flow when it doesn’t make sense to you.
- Published content and/or regular contributions to industry blogs and websites.
And my experience:
- I have five years of experience as a content marketer in the B2B industry.
- Increased organic traffic for my recent company by 75%.
- I was responsible for producing different content formats, including blog articles, reports, case studies, and landing page copy.
- I effectively managed and mentored a team of 3 content writers.
Use a professional, but friendly tone of voice. Keep it within 150 words. The hiring manager’s name is Nataly.”
What I Think
I like how all the information I’ve provided made it into the email, both those about the company’s requirements as well as those that relate to my experience.
The length of the email is slightly over the requested 150 words, but — since this isn’t a LinkedIn or Twitter post and I don’t have a character limit when sending an email — this isn’t an issue.
Unfortunately, I am still unhappy with the tone of voice. While the copy is professional, it’s too formal. I don’t see the “friendliness” I’ve asked for anywhere.
I feel that I would receive a very similar output even if I didn’t ask for the copy to be written in a friendly tone of voice.
All in all, while the contents of the email don’t require any more personalization, in my opinion, it doesn’t feel personal and calls for a rewrite.
This brings me to the next section.
Writing My Own Job Application Email
After reviewing all three versions of the email, I decided to write my own.
I refrained from any ChatGPT ideas and just wrote what, based on my experiences, felt like something that could grab the hiring manager’s interest.
Subject line: Saw you’re looking for a Content Strategist
I saw you’re searching for a Content Strategist, and I might be the perfect fit. I have five years of experience as a content marketer in the B2B industry, with recruitment and HR being one of my areas of expertise.
During my time as a content team member, I have:
- Helped grow organic traffic to the company’s website by 75%
- Managed a team of 3 content writers
- Produced a variety of different content formats, including blog posts, landing page copy, reports, and case studies.
I am familiar with all the tools mentioned in the position — I used Asana to manage content marketing projects, and I can’t imagine my life without Ahrefs anymore! I also feel that I’d be a good culture fit for the company. I constantly look for ways to optimize my work, and I’m not afraid to share my opinion.
My resume is in the attachment.
I’d love to jump on a call to learn more about the role and see if we’d be a good fit.
What I Did Here
I decided to start with a to-the-point email subject line, which mentions the role I’m interested in but skips the brand name.
In my opinion, naming the company in the email topic isn’t essential when emailing the hiring manager or an internal recruiter. After all, they aren’t hiring for anyone else but their company, unlike recruitment agencies.
Before writing the message itself, I checked on LinkedIn who the hiring manager is and featured their name in the salutation to make it feel more personal. It’s also a subtle signal that I did my research before applying for the job.
Throughout the email, I used a relaxed, friendly tone of voice, as that’s how the brand communicates on its website. This can make my application feel much more relatable and make me look like a potentially good fit for the team.
As far as length is concerned, I kept the copy fairly short. I addressed a few of the key requirements and relevant experiences, without overwhelming the hiring manager with information. To catch their attention, I used a couple of numbers to demonstrate my skills and ability to manage a team.
My goal for the email was to focus on my personality and work ethics, as these often determine whether you’re going to be a good fit for the company in the long run.
To sum up, while the output from ChatGPT was decent in certain areas, I feel that I would still decide to apply with my own email, written from scratch. You can use AI output for inspiration, but if you truly want to stand out, dedicate some time to writing a genuine message that has that inimitable, human “feel.”
Humans vs. AI
I think that this battle has been won by a human.
Was this a fair fight? Probably not entirely because ChatGPT3.5 didn’t have access to the same information that I did.
Unless I provided enough details about the position and the company I was applying to, it wouldn’t be able to generate a job application email appealing enough to the hiring manager. The copy was too generic.
To give it some credit — ChatGPT did pretty well with email structure, incorporating all necessary elements.
It seems handy for creating the first draft. While further personalization is essential, deciding on the structure to ensure the right flow is probably the hardest aspect, and it got it right.
Should you use ChatGPT to write your marketing job application emails? Absolutely! Just make sure to personalize the output before hitting send.
Have fun experimenting.