5 Keys To A Speculative Job Application That Unlocks ‘No Job Vacancies’

careers Aug 10, 2018

Your ideal company doesn’t have any job vacancies – but you’re available.

That just means you should try a better way, with a speculative job application…


So the company you REALLY want to work for don’t seem to have any positions vacant. That means you’re out of luck right? Just gotta bide your time, see what comes up, play it cool, right?



What if you just need another key?


Enter: The Speculative Application.

Quite simply it means getting in touch with a company or organization to ask if they have any suitable positions. This demands an excellent cover letter to quickly explain who you are, why you’re writing, and what you can offer them.

It needs to be tailored, as any application should be, but to an imagined role rather than one that has been advertised.

Why would you make a Speculative Job Application?

It turns out as many as 80% of jobs aren’t even advertisedHow crazy is that? 80% of all jobs are ones you won’t know about unless you ask, and ask the right peopleWell, it doesn’t hurt to ask, so what have you got to lose? Employers want a proactive employer, someone who’ll take action, and this is a great way to show that’s you.  It’s also the single best way to get work experience, internships, or job shadowing (beyond having your favourite uncle work there).

We’ll cover networking another time, and this is part of building your professional network, so let’s do


5 Steps to Making a Successful Speculative Job Application

This is not like applying for a standard job where you know what they want; this involves some research and educated guesses as to what they need and positioning yourself to be that person.

5 steps to a speculative job application with 1 cover letter & 1 CV:

  1. The Research
  2. The CV
  3. The Approach
  4. The Delivery
  5. The Follow Up



This is incredibly important and will take up a big chunk of the process; choose your organisation – and choose wisely. If there’re downsizing massively then it’s probably not the right time, unless you want unpaid work in a stressful environment. Find out who they are and what they do, learn what roles they currently employ, learn about their culture, products and services – you’ll need this to pitch yourself at the right level and to the right person. Get a name for the Head of Department/Manager you want to apply to ideally, or the HR Manager, or if it’s a really small company go straight to the CEO/Managing Director.

Get on all their social media to get a name to address your letter to – LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – and follow the company on every channel they are on.

It’s not stalking, it’s applying!



Now that you know all about the company – what can you offer them? What have you done for other organisations that you could do for them? Where do your key strengths lie? If you had to summarise your CV into 3 key points what would they be?

These will be going in the cover letter of your speculative job application. Give examples rather than simply stating what you did. The aim of the letter is to get them to read your CV, and invite you in for a meeting.

Next match your knowledge, skills, and experience to the position you think they need or want and tweak your CV accordingly.



Keep your speculative job application formal. You got a name, so start with ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Mx Surname’.


Paragraph 1:  You need to hook them and fast. Tell them why you are interested in working for them – this should tie in with their values. Move on to how you are going to help them, why you’d be a valuable member of the team and what value you will add. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, while keeping it formal. A bit of charm can work wonders here.

Paragraph 2/3: Time to use your experience to back up the claims made in paragraph 1. Link it back to what you found out in your research; what are the company’s current aims/goals/mission?

Paragraph 4: End with a clear Call to Action  – CTA (note – this is very different to GTA). Tell them what you want them to do as a result of reading your cover letter. Tell them that your CV is enclosed and you look forward to meeting them to discuss any job opportunities.

For example: “My CV is enclosed and I would be interested in discussing how my experience could help your…” and end with what you learned in your research.

Make it clear what you’re asking for and what you can offer them.

Make it obvious that you know what they do and how you might fit in – too vague and they won’t know what to do with you, too specific and they might not have anything that exactly matches it, so find a balance.

Sign off: Yours sincerely

[your name]



Send a letter. Letters are always opened. Emails are not.

If you know someone who works there, see if they will hand deliver it.



Follow up your speculative job application by email to check that they got it, that they read it, and if they’re interested.  If you’re feeling especially bold, a phone call can help emphasise your qualities – If they can’t take your call then send the email. It shows your tenacious nature and might be just the reminder a busy workplace needs.


Final tips:

Don’t forget to include your contact details on the letter.

Spell check it! And check it again. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies and fix them.

You have nothing to lose by making a speculative job application and who knows? The perfect job may be made just for you.



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