Nearly 70 per cent of jobs aren’t advertised. One of the only ways to tap into this hidden job market is to write a speculative application.
A speculative application is when you contact a company directly to enquire if there are any potential opportunities.
This is often a successful method of gaining employment, particularly if you have specific skills. Some employers, for example in media-related industries, never need to advertise as competition is fierce. They often rely on a steady flow of speculative applicants. You might also use a speculative approach if you want to apply for jobs in a certain location and have heard that the organisation is setting up or expanding, or if you find an organisation or business you are interested in and consider that you could make a positive contribution.
HOW TO GET STARTED?
***Have a think about what type of job you could do and start to identify some local employers and create a list of them
You can do this through a combination of searches - by job role, by sector and by location (try Googling e.g. "bars Lincoln" etc)
If you know the geographical area you are focusing on, then www.yell.com may help you.
***Finding a named contact is the number one rule of making a speculative job application. ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ letters sent to HR departments have a high probability of being ignored. Find the name of someone appropriate in the organisation to write to. Not only is your letter more likely to be read, but more importantly, you can follow it up.
How do you get a name? Trawl their website, ring their switchboard and ask, or enquire through email.
A quick phone call to the company to ask for the name of whoever is responsible for recruiting will enable you to personalise your letter. Be sure to check the spelling.
HOW TO COMPLETE?
Target your CV and letter to that one specific company and aim it towards the job role you would ‘like’ within their company. Sending a generic CV and letter is not going to impress the employer, but targeting will show you have put the effort in and this could really help your applications.
*Who you are (studying etc)
Typically you should start with some brief information about yourself and why you are approaching the employer.
If you have got the person’s name as a result of a contact made from a phone call or a careers fair for example, then state this early in your letter.
*What you are looking for (part time or work experience or summer job etc)
What experience/skills you have and when you are available to and from. Emphasise your knowledge and skills but don’t forget your attitude, interest and motivation.
*What you can offer
Based on your research of the organisation and what skills you think they would find attractive, you should also point the reader to the skills, abilities and experience you have outlined on your CV.
It’s essential that your speculative covering letter is concise and that it emphasises what you can do for the employer rather than what you want from them.
IMPORTANT AREAS FOR CONSIDERATION…
***FOCUS YOUR APPROACH. You will need to sell yourself more in this type of letter than you would if applying for an advertised vacancy. It must not read like yet another mail shot.
***MATCH THE TONE of the letter to the organisation. For example, an advertising company may appreciate a flamboyant, individual approach, especially for creative positions. A law firm is more likely to appreciate a more traditional approach.
Make sure you follow up!
If you don‘t follow up with a call, the speculative approach is unlikely to work. Don‘t think that no reply means they‘re not interested in you, rather that they‘re busy on other things. You need to follow up and through the way you talk to them, persuade them to take your request further.
You might get some rebuffs but personal contact can be very useful. Even if the employer cannot help with your main request, talking enables you to explore if there are any future opportunities coming up, how the organisation typically recruits and where you should look out for their job ads.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE HELP WITH YOUR SPECULATIVE APPLICATIONS- PLEASE CONTACT THE JOB SHOP IN THE SAME WAY AS FOR A CV CHECK;
***COME TO A DROP-IN
***EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT