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Speculative job application advice

Sending your CV to a company speculatively i.e. when they don’t appear to be actively hiring, can be tricky. Some companies don’t accept speculative applications at all, so it’s worth checking out the careers section of your chosen company’s website before sending. If they accept speculative CVs or don’t mention them at all, there’s no harm in contacting them. Follow our guide to speculative applications below and you might just end up working for your dream company!

If a potential employer receives your application and thinks you’re a suitable fit for the company but doesn’t have any positions open at that time, they'll usually keep your CV on file. Once a job vacancy becomes open, they will check their speculative applications before spending valuable time and money on recruitment advertising.

Before you begin writing…do your research! Use the internet and trade press to find out as much as you can about the company you’ve chosen. Look into its organisational structure, its financial results, trends in its industry and history. Use the internet or get on the phone to find out the name and contact details of the person you should send your application to.

The covering letter is arguably the most important aspect of a speculative application. Try to keep the covering letter as short and to the point as possible. They don’t need to know your life story – they just want to know why you think you’re the kind of person they’re looking for. Outline your skills and achievements and explain what kind of role you’re looking for in their company. State your reasons for being attracted to the company and make the reader aware that you’ve done your research before applying. Explain what you feel you could bring to the company as succinctly as you can and request that they keep your application on file so they can contact you if a suitable job arises.

Using your knowledge of the company, tailor your CV as much as possible to ensure it fits with their requirements. For example, if it is a small company with low staff turnover, demonstrate strongly that you are genuine team player and loyal employee.

It’s worth following up your application with a phone call to make sure it’s been received and viewed by the relevant person. If so, try to arrange an interview or informal chat to discuss potential options.

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