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Making a speculative approach

If the type of job you want never seems to come up, you could contact relevant employers directly to ask about possible opportunities.

You could take this approach no matter what type of career opportunity you're interested in, including:

  • permanent vacancies
  • temporary or part-time vacancies
  • work experience
  • work shadowing
  • a brief visit to the site
  • a 30-minute chat
  • the opportunity to meet a recent graduate.

Tips for writing speculative letters

Find out who you should write to, including their title, name and position. A personally addressed letter will get more attention.

Write a formal, positive letter, but be yourself – a hard sell can be off-putting. We also advise that you write concisely, and clearly – you're more likely to get a response if your request is clear. Use words such as ‘opportunities’ or ‘openings’ rather than ‘jobs’ or ‘vacancies’.

They're more open-ended and may encourage the employer to think more about possibilities for using the skills and experience you have outlined in your letter and CV. If you ask for a job and they have none at that time, it will be easy for them to say a definite no.

Try to convey the message, ‘I have taken the trouble to find out about you and this is what I can offer you’ rather than ‘I am an amazing graduate; what can your company do for me?’

In the letter, offer yourself for a meeting and make sure you give your contact details.

Following up

Wait 10-14 days before following up your speculative letter by telephone. Ask if they have received your speculative application and if they have any openings available that you could be considered for.

Make clear your enthusiasm and availability to meet if they would like to discuss any possibilities with you. Be prepared to be knocked back – success isn’t guaranteed, but it does happen, and you have nothing to lose.

Contact us

To learn more about making a speculative approach:

Careers and Employability