Top tips for successful speculative job searching

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What is the best way to find a job? For a start, you have to develop an effective strategy that will enable you to find a suitable job as quickly as possible and with the least amount of trouble and effort. If your strategy is not working, you need to review the way youre looking for a particular job It is said that only 30% of job vacancies are openly advertised to the public. This leaves an amazing 70% of jobs that are left to be found in the hidden job market! The question that arises is: with the limited time you have got, where do you look for a job? Is there a best method or strategy when conducting a job-search? Experts say that one in every three job hunters become unsuccessful because they abandoned their job hunt prematurely. When asked why, many would say: I never thought that this would take so long and I ran out of energy. As a result, its wise to invest what energy you do have into a job-hunting strategy where the odds are more favourable! Which strategy should you adopt for job hunting? The answer is: a varied approach.


  • 1. Want2get on? is a unique career coaching service that offers 1:1 support for those whowant to draw upon their Christian faith and apply it in a practical way to their job Tel: 07503 177126 tips for successful speculative job searching opIn a previous blog I suggested that the job market is like one mother of an iceberg mostof it being out of site under the waterline. Depending on the job sector that you want toaccess, anything up to 70% of available jobs are going to be hidden under water andarent going to be advertised where most of us would normally start looking such as inrecruitment agencies or the job pages of a national newspaper.One of the best ways of accessing this hidden job market the large bit of the job marketunder the waterline is to bypass the competition and approach companies directly. A andnote of caution, taking a speculative approach may not be so effective with larger andorganisations that have a defined structure for their application process.Here are a few tips to hopefully make your speculative job hunt fruitful!1. Locate your employer If you are looking for graduate jobs within a specific industry or profession a good place to start is This site is a must for tracking down graduate employers in a specific industry or sector, eg. Charities, engineering, market research etc. Local and national newspapers ocal Specialist business and trade publications also available at libraries pecialist Magazines belonging to professional associations Online business directories such as, Kompass UK and Kellysearch nline Use your local knowledge of local businesses, try walking around a business park or trading estate to identify potential employers Careers fairs and recruitment events are an excellent way to select employers to y follow. However, dont waste your time applying speculatively if the company already f has a formal graduate programmeCopyright protected. All rights belong to Charles Humphreys harles
  • 2. 2. When in Rome.The more you discover about a particular organisation and use the same language / jargonas they do, the more chance you will have of speaking and communicating at their wavelength. If this you are able to do this then it will give you a head start when looking for a jobwith particular organisations.First of all, once you have identified an employer, make sure that you do a thoroughcompany research. Try to get a real feel about what they do and look at their currentvacancies if advertised on line. From this research you can make an educated guessabout their values, the types of roles, areas or work and skills used within the organisation.Each company will have its own culture, so make a serious effort to understand what thislooks like from what they say on their website and the key words they use to expressthemselves. Within reason, replicate these words and traits within your CV or application.If they feel you would fit into their organisation especially if its small then it willincrease the chances of a job offer.3. Its all about who you knowThere can be no doubt that some people get lucky due to favours and preferentialattention given to them from those in influence. This certainly applies to searching for ajob!Your speculative job search will be made a whole lot easier if you know someone withinthe organisation to which youre applying. Whatever you do, avoid addressing your letterwithout a specific name: to HR manager or General Manager. As a minimum, call theorganisation and discover the name of the person to address you letter. In a smallerorganisation, you can write directly to the owner / director, whereas in larger organisationyou will need to find out a relevant person in HR. Make sure you get the correct spelling ofthe persons name.Ideally, what you need to do is to discover someone you can trust within the organisationto which youre applying to be your insider, who could put in a positive word for you andcould place your CV at the top of the pile! Remember, work the system intelligently andwith cunning so that it goes in your favour.Ideas for developing insiders: Attend local events laid on by: o Chambers of Commerce o Federation of Small Businesses o Employment fairs e.g. local council, graduate fairs etc. Use online networking communities such as and Business Biscoti Check your own personal contacts from Facebook, Linked In, church, gym, or other organisation membershipCopyright protected. All rights belong to Charles Humphreys
  • 3. Is there a local pub / bar or restaurant that employees visit either a lunch or after work? If so, try and rub shoulders with them, start a conversation and see where it goes.4. Keep your options openWhen approaching companies speculatively its important to keep one eye on your long-term goal and another eye on your immediate and current situation. Ideally, you may wantto find a permanent full-time job, however, dont disregard part-time or contract work as itmay offer an eventual route to your long-term goal.A good way to approach a company is necessarily to ask for a job but, rather, to ask tomeet up for a brief chat (or on the phone) so that they can give you some advice on how toaccess a job in their industry. That way, they wont necessarily feel under pressure butcould even be flattered at being asked to give advice. Once you been able to meet up youwill have hopefully been able to make a positive impression and have placed yourselffirmly on their radar for future jobs.You could even enquire about opportunities to complete some voluntary work which youcould view as an extended job interview. All these options could give you a springboard toyou eventually getting to your ultimate prize if a permanent job is yet available.5. Tailor your covering letter and CVMake sure that the CV and the covering letter that you leave with a named person withinthe organisation is either tailored to a specific job or where this is not possible then it istailored to the sort of job that youre looking for, e.g. a website designer.Its essential that your speculative covering letter is concise and that it emphasises whatyou can do for the employer rather than what you want from them. This is your chance tolet yourself shine and highlight your qualities, including relevant skills, experience andqualifications. A CV is the place where you give the facts about yourself, whereas thecovering letter is where you can show your enthusiasm (dont go over the top!) for workingfor their company stating specific reasons why. Flattery, if done well, can have a positiveeffect.Dont forget, its all about selling yourself and presenting yourself as a potential asset totheir organisation.6. Make sure to follow up with a callYou can never underestimate the value of communication make sure you take theinitiative in calling back the employer for feedback. Give them approximately a week toreview your CV and covering letter and find out a convenient time to have a chat. Even ifCopyright protected. All rights belong to Charles Humphreys
  • 4. the employer cannot offer you a job, if you suitably impress them they will hopefully keepyou on file and /or recommend you to a contact in another organisation.A speculative approach wont work every time, but you only need for it to work once, andyouve got a job!Want2get on? is a unique career coaching service that offers 1:1 support for those whowant to draw upon their Christian faith and apply it in a practical way to their job Tel: 07503 177126 protected. All rights belong to Charles Humphreys