Sending a speculative application can be a very effective method of securing a new job and may convince an employer to create a position for the right person - if you do it right. If you've identified the company that you want to work for, then here are some tips for succeeding with speculative applications.
Tap into the hidden market
Sometimes you have to look beyond advertised vacancies to find the job that you want. The vast majority of jobs never get advertised and sending a speculative application allows you to tap into this hidden job market.
Identify who has the power to hire you and personalise your letter accordingly. You may already know their name but, if you don't, make sure that you find out by looking at the company's website or simply telephone to ask for their details.
Do your homework
Most job hunters fall into the trap of treating a speculative application in the same way as an application for a specific advertised position.
However, this blanket approach alienates prospective employers because applications are de-personalised, untailored and fail to address the requirements that that particular company looks for.
Therefore, find out everything you can about the organisation from the internet, previous job adverts, networking or simply by telephoning the company themselves and talking informally with a member of the staff.
Then, clarify in your letter the reasons why you have specifically targeted the company as your employer of choice. Be as enthusiastic as possible about their products, services and general company demeanour – employers want to employ people who are passionate about their brand so you'll immediately be ahead of the rest.
Your application is designed to unearth jobs that are likely to become available, before they are advertised internally or externally. Therefore, your letter has to be constructed in a hard-hitting way that will keep your details at the forefront of an employers mind when a position eventually arises.
Give employers a reason to take note of you and tell them what kind of position you are seeking and what you can offer them. Sell yourself on the basis of your skills, expertise, knowledge and experience and don't limit yourself to one specific role. You're trying to get a foot in the door and if you take one role within a company, it's much easier to move internally to your real preferred position internally.
Don't wait for an employer to respond to your application. It is possible that they will receive several CV's every day and they may not have time to respond on an individual basis.
Telephone or email the employer a week later to establish personal contact and gauge if you are likely to be considered should a suitable position arise. If not, then use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback which will help improve your chances for future applications.
Your targeted speculative application is designed to position you as a valuable addition to their company, not a ‘job-beggar'. By actively seeking out new opportunities, you will be demonstrating your initiative and motivation to work for the company and differentiating yourself from your potential competition.
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