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What is a speculative application?

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Looking for a job or place of employment can be physically and mentally exhausting. Job seekers feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of searching for opportunities, filling out applications, and waiting for a response. Others may feel like they just can’t find the right opportunity for them.

Why is this important?

The hidden job market is reported to account for as much as 70% of all available vacancies

It is estimated that about 70% of job openings are not even advertised. So where are these vacancies? Some are hired by internal candidates, others are hired by word of mouth (for example, someone the recruiter knows). However, that still leaves a ton of jobs that might be available if you can find them.

It’s also worth remembering that some companies, especially small businesses and some industries (such as the creative sector) simply don’t have the resources to engage in the traditional hiring process.

How do I find these jobs?

The first thing to say is that you need to know what you want to do and understand the industry! For example, if you want a job as a medical practitioner in the surgical department, you should apply through the NHS Jobs portal. However, if you’re looking for film or television work, it’s quite normal to email people within the industry to demonstrate your suitability and availability for the job. This is called a “speculative application”.


Briefly, the speculative approach has three stages:

1. Shortlist: Who do you want to approach? Do you also do research and see if you can find a specific person to contact within your organization? Leverage your network and research via LinkedIn and his website for the company.

2. Application: Typically, this consists of a cover email with your resume attached. Remember they are not asking you to contact them. So target your application and make sure you demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the jobs they do and the skills they need.

3. Follow-up: It’s perfectly normal not to receive a response from a speculative application, so put a reminder in your calendar (2 weeks or so after the first email). Instead of asking why you didn’t get a reply, check to see if you received the original email and ask if there’s more information you need. This shows that you are still interested in working for them, but in a gentle and friendly way!

A customized and targeted resume will be more effective and easier to manage

Finally, Top Tips: “Finished without difficulty”. Sending 3 or 4 customized inquiries or applications is usually far more effective than adopting a sporadic approach where you send your resume to 10, 20, or more companies.

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