Table of Contents
1. Shortlist potential employers
If you are looking for experience/jobs within a specific location or sector, you need to look up employers
in these areas using resources such as, google, employer directories, professional bodies and LinkedIn.
Consider the size of the employer too, it is always worth checking what they already offer – if they offer
internships or have a work experience scheme already (more likely in larger employers), they are
unlikely to offer further opportunities and so applying speculatively would be a waste of time.
2. Do your research
Research is key to effective speculative job application, as you will need to tailor your applications.
You’ll need to find out further details about the employer and be able give a few reasons for why you
want to gain experience/work with them. In order to do this you will need to have a thorough look at
It can be useful to look at an employer’s current vacancies. You can get a feel for the what the employer
values, as well as skills/attributes they like to see in candidates.
3. Get the name of an individual
Finding a named contact is the number one rule of making a speculative job application. You will vastly
increase the likely success of your speculative applications by addressing your speculative applications
to a named contact – if you can’t find the name and e-mail address online (on LinkedIn, for example),
call the employer to find out who to contact.
Picking up the phone can be daunting, but by picking up the phone you are likely to be demonstrating
some of the attributes that the employer values, which can make a good impression. Make a note of
questions you want to ask and practice your opening introduction if you are nervous.
One can find the e-mail address of a professional using this website called hunter.
4. Tailor your speculative job application
Based on your research of the employer and the skills you think they would find attractive, you should
be able to put together a CV and covering letter that is tailored towards the needs of the employer.
Make sure you make it clear what you have to offer, and what is in it for the employer – emphasise what you can do for the employer rather than what you want from them. Make it clear what skills, knowledge and abilities and experience you have.
Be clear on what you’re asking for. This makes it easy for the individual reading your application to
know exactly where they could make best use of you. If you’re too general and vague, this can be off-putting. If you’re looking for experience and not 100% sure what you are looking for, try to focus on
your areas of interest and things you’d like to have experience of. In your covering letter, mention your
availability and/or any other constraints.
If you have got the person’s name as a result of a contact made from a phone call or a careers fair, for
example, then state this early in your letter.
5. Politely follow up
To improve your chances of success, follow up your speculative application with a phone call four or
five working days later. You will get rejections, but even if the employer cannot help with your main
request, talking enables you to explore if there are any future opportunities coming up, how the
organisation typically recruits and where you should look out for their job adverts.
Don’t take any rejections personally, move on to the next employer and keep the momentum going.
Example speculative job application
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to express my strong interest in the Research Assistant position in the field of microbiology at [company name]. Although I am aware that there may not be any current openings, I would like to submit my application for consideration in the event that a suitable position becomes available in the future.
As a recent graduate in Microbiology with a [degree/qualification], I have developed a strong foundation in the principles and techniques of microbiology research. During my academic career, I have gained experience in laboratory techniques such as [list relevant techniques], which I believe would be valuable in a research assistant role.
In addition, I have also completed [relevant coursework/project/internship] which provided me with a deeper understanding of microbiology research, and the importance of accurate data analysis and interpretation. I have excellent analytical skills and attention to detail, and I am comfortable working with statistical software programs such as [list programs].
I am excited about the possibility of joining your team and contributing to the advancement of microbiology research. I am drawn to [company’s area of research/strengths], and I am impressed by the dedication and expertise of the research team at [company name].
Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.