Although the most popular way of applying for graduate jobs is to apply for vacancies, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way. Some companies don’t advertise their vacancies, so it’s worth applying speculatively to the companies that you are really keen to work for but that aren’t advertising at the moment.
Rejection is one of the biggest fears that people experience during job searches, but the reality is that trying and getting only a few responses is better than just doing nothing. When considering a speculative application, you need to put a bit more effort in than just sending your CV to the HR department.
Here are 5 ways to plan and carry out a great speculative application for your dream job.
Decide which companies you want to apply for
You might be looking to work in a certain industry or do a job in sales or management. This means that you can target employers that work in this area. Remember to find out if they have any current vacancies before applying, otherwise your application will look vague amongst those who are applying against a specification.
Start with research
It’s great to have some companies in mind that you want to apply for, but it’s important to make sure that your letter and CV shows how you can help them instead of why you want to work there, so you match your skills and experience to the kind of positions available at the company.
The best way to do this is to have a look at job specifications for similar companies, or perhaps past job advertisements and use those to base your application on. That way you’ll be showing them what an asset you’ll be to the company. You can also look at their general website and about us page, which will help you to understand the culture of the company and get an insight into the people who already work there.
Get familiar with your skills
You might really love a company because of their products or services, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right place to develop your career. You need to carefully assess your strengths and be comfortable discussing any weaknesses, and how your previous experience could help you to turn them into strengths.
If it looks like your skills don’t match the company, then you should consider targeting your applications at other companies.
Make a connection
When it comes to speculative applications, you need the name of the person you are going to be sending your application. Ideally, you should attend industry events or use personal contacts to make this connection.
If this is proving difficult then you should at the very least phone up the HR department at the company and find out the name and email address of the person you are contacting. Sending it to an information email address, it will probably end up in the spam folder and get deleted. Consider sending a letter, as they always get opened.
Keep your options open
Before you contact an employer, you need to be open to options outside full-time, permanent positions. It could be that they have some temporary positions, part-time jobs or even paid internships available. If this is a company you really want to work for, then it’s worth considering other possibilities, as these could turn into a permanent job once you’ve got your foot in the door.
Remember that these people are very busy and may not be expecting your application. The best thing to do is to pick up the phone and give them a ring. You’ll get a better response when you make the extra effort, although you should expect rejections.
If you do get your contact on the phone, take it as an opportunity to find out more about the recruitment process and the opportunities that could be coming up.