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Career Advice

5 Tips for Sending a Speculative CV

When in search of a job, people will try almost anything in order to get themselves noticed by a potential employer. This can lead people to somewhat extreme (and often ill advised) measures which, well intended as they are, can have a detrimental effect on their prospects for employment – just check out some of these posts for proof of that.cv image

When applying for a job we cannot express strongly enough the importance of adherence to the recruitment process guidelines set out by the employer. Any deviation from this, no matter how clever or original you think it is, can very quickly see you disqualified from the process and out of the running for the job. For legal reasons most companies are incrcv imageedibly strict when it comes to the recruitment of new staff and it is best not try and stand out from the crowd in a way that could reflect an inability to follow simple instruction.

But if an employer is not currently advertising a role and you feel very strongly that you would be a good asset for their business to have, you can make a speculative application by sending them a CV accompanied by a well written cover letter.

Sending Speculative CVs

cvimageAn employer reading this might begin to roll their eyes in dismay at the thought of receiving speculative CVs. This is probably because hey have never been sent a speculative CV which measured up to their expectations of what one should contain.

Speculative CVs should not simply be a mass mail dump, completed in the hope that out dozens of companies contacted, one at least might have a position for you.  They should be a well considered, well drafted and thoughtfully administered expression of your heartfelt desire to work for a particular company as well as a demonstration of your suitability for the kinds of roles for which they regularly recruit.


An important thing to remember though is that If you send a speculative CV to an employer, it is foolish to think that you will get an immediate response offering you to interview for a position. If they are not advertising vacancies at the time you send the application they probably don’t have any available.

Sending a speculative CV is not about immediate returns – it’s about planting a seed in the mind of the employer so that by the time that they actually do have a vacancy they will remember you and make contact.

To this end there are a few things that you can consider / keep in mind which should help ensure that your efforts have the desired effect.CV-Mistakes

  • Limit the number that you send – we recommend that you only send a few speculative CVs at any one time.  If you send more than this you risk spreading yourself thin and relying on generic templates rather than specifically tailoring your cv and cover letter to each individual company.
  • Pick companies that you really feel passionately about working for.  Creating a positive impact on the potential employer is the main purpose of the speculative CV and if you genuinely want to work for them then this will be easy to get across.
  • Focus on your skills – This can be difficult since you are not working alongside a specific  job description but the chances are you have a fair idea of the role you are hoping to have within the company.  If this is the case, try to see if you can access a previous job specification which they have released for the role and make sure that you demonstrate succinctly within your CV and cover letter that you fulfill all of the essential and desirable criteria.
  • Keep it brief –  Remember that the person to whom you have sent this CV will not be expecting it and will most likely be put off if they are confronted with a 3 page CV filled with dense text. You can be nearly certain that the employer is not going to read your entire CV but rather skim over it on the search for keywords and phrases.  That’s why it is important to be succinct and make sure that they employer sees the words which are most important within the context of the role you are applying for.
  • Create an amazing cover letter –  The temptation can be to put together a generic template which can then be amended for each application you make.  Whilst this can be a major time-saver, we reckon that what you gain in time, you often lose in quality. It is a really good idea to make sure that you create a unique cover letter for each job you apply for but this is many time more important when making a speculative application since you need to demonstrate that you have put significant time and effort into making the application.  Check out some of our tips on what to include and mistakes to avoid when writing a cover letter.

The main thing to keep in mind when sending speculative applications is that you should never expect to receive an immediate response.  You may well at some point in the future be contacted by the company but try not to let it damage your self- esteem if you are not.

Be sure to check out some of the other great tips and advice for writing CVs and completing application forms.    


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