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I'd like to use the following subject in the emails I will use to try reaching companies, looking for a job:

Introducing myself as an aspiring <job position> at <company name>
  • How idiomatic is it to use a gerund phrase?
  • Does the at <company name> part make sense? I want to reflect that I want to work at the contacted company in particular.

2 Answers 2

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There is nothing grammatically wrong with your sentence, but I would very much suggest not using it. Jay gives some excellent suggestions in his answer, which I wholeheartedly endorse, but I take a stronger position that you shouldn't use the sentence in your question. My thoughts:

This is your proposed subject line:

Introducing myself as an aspiring [job position] at [company name]

For clarity's sake, let's presume you're a writer applying to work at the New York Times. Taken literally, what this sentence means is:

I am introducing myself as a person who hopes to be a writer (but is not yet) and who works at the New York Times.

This is obviously not the case. The problems with your sentence are these:

  1. Calling yourself an aspiring writer means that you are not yet a writer but hope to become one. It does not mean that you hope to become a writer at their company. This is not parsed in people's minds as aspiring [writer at the New York Times]. It's parsed as [aspiring writer] at the New York Times.

  2. Given #1, you can see that the last part of your sentence is parsed as at the New York Times. That means you're saying that you currently are at the New York Times. This isn't true of course; you're hoping to get a job at the New York Times. But the way you've written it, that isn't what it says.

A sample context in which this subject line might make sense: you are a recent college graduate who has been hired for a 3-month internship by the New York Times. Your supervisor has asked you to send out a welcome email to the rest of your team with a small description of yourself. Your job isn't in writing yet, but you hope to work up to that position with hard work and dedication. So you introduce yourself as an aspiring writer, who is at the New York Times.

Now, let me say this: if you did use your proposed subject line in an email to a recruiter, you would likely not be misunderstood. Presumably the recipient of the email knows their own staff, and knows that you don't already work for them. The rest can be easily figured out from there, in the right context. But I feel it generally makes a better first impression to say what you mean and say it properly, so I would stay away from anything that isn't exactly correct. If you don't want to use Jay's simple suggestion of just Writing Position, you might revise your subject line to something like:

Introducing myself as a candidate for the Writing position at the New York Times.

That could not possibly be misunderstood, and has the added bonus of clearly announcing your intent to ask for the job; casting yourself as a candidate for the job itself is a much stronger position than aspiring to work in the field in general.

NB: This might also be an interesting question to post at The Workplace. We don't generally encourage duplicate questions on SE, but if you tailor your question to the site it shouldn't be a problem. Here you were asking about the grammatical correctness of the proposed phrase; I know my answer went into both subjects, but at the Workplace you could ask what subject line would make the best impression on potential employers, which is probably what you really want to know. I'd be interested to see a link to that question if you do post it there. Anyway, good luck!

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There's nothing wrong with it.

Personally, when I'm sending such emails I generally just say something like "engineer position".

If you're writing to the company itself, and not to an employment agency, it's probably superfluous to say "at ". Like, why would I write to General Motors telling them that I'm applying for a job at Ford? Of course I'm applying for a job at the company I'm writing to. If it's an employment agency, then that's different, they're presumably taking applications for jobs at many companies.

And of course I'm introducing myself. It's pretty rare to introduce someone else. I suppose if I already worked there and was trying to help a friend get a job, I might send an email recommending my friend, in which case I'd probably put on a subject line like "recommendation for engineer position".

But that said, it's all a matter of your personal style. There's nothing wrong with adding some information that may be considered redundant or superfluous. It makes it sound a little more formal, which may be good or may be bad, it all just depends.

Oh, I would say: If it's a big company and they have specific titles, like "janitor level 3-B", or if they attach some identifier to the position, like "opening 1193834", I'd include that in the subject line.

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  • Thanks for validating my phrase. Both redundancies have a purpose: "introducing myself" intends to indicate that you aren't just passing a CV, but rather, actually introducing yourself (like, writing a custom text in the email body). I think it makes opening the mail likelier. The "at (company name)" part indicates immediately to the reader that the email wasn't just copy-pasted.
    – deprecated
    Jul 11, 2013 at 13:53
  • OTOH, "engineer position" sounds ridiculously effective - might try it in a future.
    – deprecated
    Jul 11, 2013 at 13:56
  • Side note: When I'm sending resumes, I usually put a "cover page" on them -- usually email these days, paper letter back in the old days -- that connects my resume to something specific from the want ad. That way they know that I didn't just blast out 600 copies of my resume to every company within 500 miles.
    – Jay
    Jul 12, 2013 at 14:01

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