If I had a pound for every client who has completely ignored my advice and declined to write directly to companies I’d be thinking about buying a yacht and retiring. Approaching companies speculatively has grown significantly over the years to the point where it now accounts for a QUARTER of jobs found. Yes, that’s a quarter, one fourth, 25%, quite a lot. And, writing directly to companies allows you to target the 80 percent of jobs that are never advertised in the UK.
Extremely common in the media world where prospecting for work has always been the norm, it is now an accepted job search method across the board. Companies like it because they can by-pass expensive recruitment agencies, as well as complex and timely recruitment procedures.
It’s not the only method of job search but is just as, if not more, effective than trawling the internet and job websites.
Here are the top six rules to writing speculatively:
- Research the companies you would like to target. Start with your favourties, those where you have contacts, which meet other criteria such as location, sector, reputation. A targeted approach of five to ten key firms is much better than a blunderbuss approach.
- Locate a named person to send your email/letter. “To whom it may concern” will not cut it. This takes research also but will be much more impactful when it reaches the right recipient.
- Flatter the reader a bit / make connections/ show you’ve done your research/. “I’m a strong admirer of your company’s ethics” /” I recently read that ….”. The best door opener is a name drop – ” Jo Blogger suggested I drop you a line”.
- Say why you would love to be involved in that company , and not simply that you would love to be involved, add your relevant skills. Refer to your CV and draw attention to your key unique selling points.
- It’s about asking for opportunities or building a relationship for the future, so be prepared to simply write and request to meet for a coffee and a chat. What have you got to give that person in return? Information? Ideas from your Masters thesis, social media expertise for example? There will be something. Be canny.
- Follow up with a phone call.