At some point in your job hunting journey you may have wondered if it’s possible to apply and get a job, work experience or internship at a company even if they’re not advertising any positions through speculative job applications, or if this is a cruel myth made up by a select few lucky ones.
We’re here to tell you… speculative job applications work, and are completely worth the effort!
Often employers don’t even bother listing jobs online and instead go with internal hires or recommended people to save time and money – so there’s more of a chance than you may think of getting in there.
In fact, a member of The Grad Soc team secured an internship this way during university, so you can definitely do the same. (Read Shona’s experience of landing an internship through cold emailing here!)
Deciding Which Companies To Contact
First things first, you’re going to want to work out which companies to contact. Maybe you have a list of dream companies but no vacancies have come up within the past year. Perhaps there’s an office right down the road that suits your area of expertise right down to the ground – write a list of 10 or so companies you’d like to contact and do your research.
Have they taken on interns before, do you know anyone there, are they within commuting distance or would you be able to work remotely? Once you’ve got your list, it’s time to start your application even if they’re not advertising…
Sending Your Speculative Application If They’re Not Advertising
The term ‘cold-emailing’ sounds, well… cold. But it can be the way to go when reaching out. If you’ve not built up any relationships on LinkedIn, we don’t recommend messaging someone out of the blue going ‘give me a job pls’, as tempting as it sounds. An email can be a great professional introduction and you can attach a CV and cover letter alongside your application.
You’ll need to find a company email to send your speculative application to (obviously) or even better the email of their hiring manager if it’s a large company, or CEO if it’s a small one. As you would with any other job role, tailor your CV to the company based on what you think they value most, or the sector they’re in. There’s no point sending a fashion design based CV to a strictly PR focused firm.
Personalise and tailor your email, introduce yourself and ask nicely if there’s any opportunities at any level within the company (job, internship, work experience etc) and highlight some key skills or experience you can bring to their team. If you’re feeling impressive, suggest some light changes or additions you could make to the company if you were taken on (but make sure it’s not too drastic or insulting to the work they’re already doing).
Most importantly show ENTHUSIASM for the specific company you’re emailing, make it clear why you’ve chosen them.
Finally, include contact details and suggest a Zoom meeting, phone call or face to face interview if it’s local.
Keeping Track Of Your Job Applications
If you’ve sent off a few applications, it might be handy to create a spreadsheet and list of everywhere you’ve applied so you know when to follow up and where you’ve applied, particularly if they weren’t advertising a position so you don’t have a job description or deadline to refer to.
When To Follow Up
Now, it’s crap but it’s likely that the majority either won’t be hiring or won’t get back to you. However, it’s always a good shout to follow up after a week if you don’t receive a reply, with a polite email or request them on LinkedIn, mentioning that you’ve sent them an application and thought it best to connect as another point of contact.
Applying for a job or internship even if they’re not advertising a position is always worth a shot – you never know what could come of it! If this is something you’re interested in, check out our article on how to ask for work experience for extra tips, or book a 1-1 application strategy session to make sure you nail your approach.