As a student or graduate during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic, things are going to be a bit different for you when looking for a job. As a result, it might be worth thinking about adapting your job-search style and perhaps consider the ‘speculative approach’.
In essence what the speculative approach enables you to do is to take control of the situation and rather than be passively waiting for jobs to be advertised, it enables you to be pro-active and seek out a job role for yourself.
This approach is particularly appropriate for:
- Work in sectors where not all vacancies are advertised (eg: journalism, broadcasting, publishing, television and film)
- Contacting an organisation that you are interested in but which is not currently recruiting
- Vacation work
- Work experience or work shadowing
So how should you go about doing this?
Firstly, think about who you know – friends, family, lecturers, a previous contact from work experience – in fact anybody who might help you get in touch with someone in the organisation or sector of interest. You might want to use LinkedIn to make contacts in your chosen sector or company. The Hallam Collective can help you access alumni, as their experiences can be very helpful.
If you are looking for work experience or internships, it might also be worth contacting the recruiting or HR team of the company you are interested in to find out whether they offer this.
A speculative application usually consists of a CV and Cover Letter, but could be preceded or followed up with a telephone call.
So here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Write to a named individual if possible. Review an Example Speculative Cover Letter for ideas.
- Match the tone of the letter to the organisation. For example, a media company may appreciate a less formal approach than perhaps a law firm, which is more likely to appreciate a more traditional approach.
- Careful targeting is far more likely to lead to success than sending out numerous near-identical applications.
- Research the role, organisation and sector; demonstrate understanding in your letter. Allow your motivation and interest to come through and you will stand out as a knowledgeable applicant.
- Clearly and quickly establish what you want and why. If your goal is work experience, try to be open to the type of work experience (work shadowing, internship, having an online meeting with someone from the organisation). Be clear about what you would be interested in, and don’t close any doors!
- Make it clear what you have to offer them. You are making a business proposition and must prepare your case carefully and research the organisation. Follow our advice for writing CVs and Cover Letters. For example, tailor each speculative application to the organisation, and demonstrate how your experience and achievements are relevant.
- The more research you do about the person you are sending the email or letter to, about the organisation and their competitors and the sector overall, the better you will tailor the cv and cover letter into their language and to resonate with their values and ethos. To understand how much research is possible, please watch Edward Druce’s TED Talk: “How to land your dream job with one email”
- You may wish to follow up with a phone call (1-2 weeks after you have sent it) to check that it was received, and if there is any feedback. This type of personal approach is much more likely to be effective.
Best of luck with this and remember if you need help we are here for you.