Speculative applications

Applying "speculatively" means sending a CV and covering letter to an employer asking whether they can offer jobs or work experience.

How does this work?

Identify what type of work or organisation you want to apply for, why do you need to apply to them speculatively?

  • You want to target smaller organisations who do not recruit regularly
  • You have identified a popular area of work that you need to be more proactive about applying to, such as the media
  • You are looking for work in a specific geographical area
  • You want work where you are able to use specialised skills and knowledge

Research what organisations exist that offer the work that you are looking for. You can do this by using:

  • Professional organisations, that produce lists of individuals and corporate members
  • The search employers function on the Careers Service vacancies listings
  • The University of Bristol Alumni Linkedin group and the Careers Service Careers Network
  • Friends and family, and speaking with them about the organisations they work for
  • Newspapers, journals, blogs, by listening to radio, watching TV - take notice of organisations that get mentioned  

Speak to the organisations you identify to find out more. Picking up the phone can be a daunting experience but once you have identified an organisation you would like to work for, call them to find out who is the best person to send your CV to. If they tell you that they won't accept speculative applications, ask them for some advice on getting started in that industry or if they could recommend any other similar organisations for you to approach

Write a targeted CV and cover letter to a "named" person stating why you are interested in working for them. CVs and cover letters follow the same format as for advertised positions and should be targeted to that one organisation.

Check out our video resources for information direct from employers about how to write a great CV, what to put in a cover letter and how to make your applications stand out.

ALWAYS follow up your application. Do this by emailing or calling the person you sent your CV to, asking them whether they have had a chance to look at your application

Can we help?

Application reviews - book online

CV/application reviews take place throughout the week. Log in to mycareer to find out when they're happening and to book.

You can book from 8am on the day and please bring a paper copy with you.