Making Speculative Applications

Not all opportunities are advertised, especially with small and medium size organisations (SMEs), so your job search strategy may involve making speculative applications to employers you would like to work for. It is essential that you research your chosen employer thoroughly so that you can tell them clearly why you want to work for them. Equally important is to be clear about why they should consider you. Be prepared to spend time thoroughly researching yourself and the employer before you approach them. Below are some tips on how to get started.

Emphasise what you have to offer

Speculative applications need to be focused, with emphasis on what you have to offer rather than what you want from the employer.  You need to be very clear about the type of work and type of organisation you are seeking and be able to produce specific evidence of your ability to do the job well.

Researching Yourself

Do you know what you have to offer a potential employer and what you are looking for? 

Useful resources:

  • Use the Self-awareness section from our Choosing My Career programme in the Online Careers Toolkit to help you decide what you'd like to do and what you can offer 
  • Take the Strengths assessment in the Online Careers Toolkit to help you understand and identify your strengths. This can help you to identify career areas that maximise use of your strengths and minimise use of weaknesses.
  • Identify what you are looking for in an employer - exploring your values can help you identify your priorities. The Motivation at Work assessment in the Online Careers Toolkit will give you an insight into your motivations and the Workplace Culture assessment will give you a summary of your preferred cultural style.
  • Understand how your skills and experience relate to what employers require

Researching Employers

Do you know which employers you are interested in working for?

  • Use the Prospects website to research sectors and exlore job profiles.
  • Use online employer directories such as Talent Scotland to identify SMEs.
  • If you do find an employer who is an SME (under 250 employees) and who is willing to offer you an internship, it may be possible for the employer to access funding from the Santander Internship Programme to pay part of your internship salary.
  • Use the Careers Service website: Employer & Business Information includes links to online employer directories 
  • Use Social Media to identify/follow employers of interest.
  • Research the organisations that previous graduates of your discipline have entered by using the LinkedIn Alumni tool and follow up those of interest to you. 
  • Understand the Graduate Labour Market.
  • Read the business pages of newspapers and contact organisations that are announcing expansions or developments that interest you.

Make sure you have a good CV and covering letter

  • Use a cover letter to tell your preferred employer why you want to work for them, what you think you can offer them by way of knowledge, skills/strengths and experience, and what you are looking for.
  • Tailor your CV to their organisation and the type of role you are hoping for.
  • Make the style and tone of your letter persuasive but not pushy. Use the section in our Online Careers Toolkit on writing covering letters for speculative applications.

Make and follow up your speculative applications

Other things I need to do 

  • Check out this blog Hey! Can I work for you? from Warwick Careers Service.
  • Login to MyCareer for up to date information on Employer Presentations on campus or in the city centre, Recruitment Fairs´╗┐ or Employer Skills Sessions.
  • If you are a first or second year undergraduate login to MyCareerHub Strathclyde for details of Spring Internships and Insight Days targeted at first and second year undergraduates.
  • Try registering with Recruitment Agencies who may be able to find work for you.
  • Networking - speak to family, friends, neighbours who may know of opportunities.