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Speculative applications

You are interested in a particular role or organisation but unfortunately no jobs have been advertised. This does not have to stop you from reaching out to the organisation with a speculative application. 

A speculative application is when you reach out to an organisation directly (not through a job advert) and provide them with your CV/Cover letter to bear in mind for any opportunities not yet advertised. A speculative application can show that you’re proactive, determined and really want to work for their organisation. 

“It’s […] great if people just contact us out of the blue – it doesn’t have to be in response to an advert – because again it just shows that real interest and proactivity. I love it when you get that email or call from someone saying ‘I scanned your website and I’m looking for a career in this – can I come and have a chat with you?’”

Kate Whelan, CEO, Notch Communications

Tips on how to submit a speculative application

  • Do your research – be armed with a list of organisations that offer the role you are interested in and find out more about them. Arm yourself with as much information to enable you to tailor your CV/Cover Letter. 
  • Find the right person – find the details of the contact at the organisation who may be best placed to know more about the role that you’re interested in and any future opportunities. This may be the team leader or someone in HR. LinkedIn is a useful tool for this. 
  • Make contact – email the relevant person, introducing yourself and explaining exactly what it is you’re looking for. Give them a reason to reply by showing what you can bring to the organisation and why you want to work there.
  • Follow up – a couple of weeks after sending, follow up your application with a phone call. Making personal contact is very important as people are more likely to respond over the phone and remember you.

Sending a speculative application can provide a direct route into the company, potentially leading to temporary or permanent work, work-shadowing and more professional connections. Even if there are no job roles available your approach may impress the contact and they’ll bear you in mind for future opportunities.

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“At Alderley Park we have lots of companies doing some really exciting work, literally just turning up at Alderley Park and figuring out, who’s there, and who might I like to work for, and then making a speculative approach. Go and knock on the door and ask to speak to the CEO, and have a chat with him or her, and find out a bit more about the company, and then see if there’s any opportunities. Because if you’ve met face-to-face and you have a bit of a chat, often that person makes a real impression.  
The best way to get a job is to do that networking, that face-to-face talking, even just ten minutes, ‘can you help me with my career, I’m looking for something, I don’t really know where I want to go but I know I want to be in this particular area, tell me about it.’ That’s often a good way of getting those contacts.”

Jane Theaker, CEO, Kinomica Ltd  

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