Speculative Applications - What are they and how should you approach them?

Updated: Oct 10

A speculative application is when you approach an employer who hasn't advertised a role in the hope that they may have something suitable available, either now or in the near future.

Why would you bother? Wouldn't they just advertise? Maybe, but it could be that they do really need someone but don't want the hassle of sifting through 500 applicants right now. Maybe they know that they need to recruit soon but haven't done anything about it. Maybe they are much busier than expected. They may have changed the way that they operate since Covid and be in the process of thinking what they do about that from a staffing point of view. They may have had someone come in this morning and announce that they are leaving. The point is, you don't know unless you ask.

The best way to approach these is to only send to a few chosen companies that you would really like to work for.

Open with something relating to their business that tells them why you want to work for them SPECIFICALLY, as opposed to you just looking for any job with any employer.

Here are some examples:

  • 'As a loyal customer, I was delighted to hear that you are planning to open new stores.'

  • 'Having discovered your service during lockdown, I found it really helpful and was impressed with the concept.'

  • 'Having had a traumatic birth experience myself, I was pleased to see that you are offering a service which will ensure that the same thing does not happen to others.'

  • 'I was really impressed with the way you operated during lockdown and the way you looked after your staff.'

  • 'Having worked in renewables for the last 10 years, I would very much like to work for the market leader in the field who are known for innovation and investing in their people.'

Find something out about the company and use that, approach a company you already like and buy from or relate what they do to your personal experience so that they will remember you. This first paragraph should be about THE COMPANY and why you want to work there.

Only then should you go on to tell them about you. Do your research and echo their language. Lots of fluff and flowers? Be more fluffy. Grey and corporate? Keep very much to the facts. This second paragraph should be about YOU and your suitability for upcoming roles. Give them some juicy quantifiables:

  • Are you an HR Director who created a new e-learning site instead of buying one off the shelf and saved £50,000?

  • Are you a social media manager who increased a clients sales by 50% last year?

  • Are you a finance manager who spotted a way to save the business £10,000?

Shout about your achievements and see how you go. There are NO guarantees with this method but it's another way to get your name out there and it's a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained. It could lead to a conversation at the very least.

I'd use this method if you have time and won't get attached to the outcome ONLY, as the success rate is low but it's worth a go.

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