Making Speculative Approaches | Making Speculative Approaches – Oxford University Careers Service
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Overview

A speculative application involves proactively approaching an employer to seek out opportunities that have not been advertised.

These may be necessary for:

  • Work in employment areas in which vacancies are rarely advertised (eg journalism, broadcasting, publishing)
  • Vacation work
  • Unpaid work experience or work shadowing

 

Who to contact

Think about who you know – friends, family, tutors – that might help you get in touch with someone in the organisation or sector of interest. At Oxford you also have access to alumni contacts that can be very helpful in this regard – for example through your college alumni office and department. For more ideas about how to develop your network and find contacts, see our webpage on Networking.

Some sectors and organisations may have different recruitment timelines from the traditional “milkround” (which is typically from September – December), so ensure that you do some research on the ideal time to apply.  eg: contact the organisation or try to find out from contacts at what time of year your application is most likely to get noticed.

Top tips

Example Speculative Cover Letter

A speculative application usually consists of a CV and Cover Letter, but could be preceded or followed up with a telephone call. A few pointers:

  • Write to a named individual if at all possible.
  • Download an example speculative cover letter for ideas.
  • Match the tone of the letter to the organisation. For example, a media company may appreciate a less formal approach than a law firm, which is more likely to appreciate a more traditional approach.
  • Careful targeting is far more likely to lead to success than sending out numerous near-identical applications.
  • Research the role, organisation and sector and demonstrate your understanding in your letter. Allow your motivation and interest to come through and you will stand out as a knowledgeable applicant.
  • Clearly and quickly establish what you want and why. If your goal is work experience, don’t cut out any chance that the recipient may be able to offer, say, a work shadowing opportunity. Be clear about what you would be interested in, but don’t close any doors!
  • Make it clear what you have to offer them. You are making a business proposition, and must prepare your case carefully and research the organisation.
  • Suggest that you will follow up your letter by telephone within, say, a week.
  • Follow our standard advice for writing CVs and Cover Letters. For example, tailor each speculative application to the organisation, and demonstrate how your experience and achievements are relevant.
Our resources
This information was last updated on 08 September 2015.
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Recent blogs about Making Speculative Approaches

Exciting Marketing Internship available for Oxford students!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on May 27, 2016.

The Internship Programme is offering an exciting marketing internship with a new deadline, exclusively to Oxford students.

Excellence in Learning (Career Connect Job ID 22526) is a company based in Amersham that specialises in high quality training courses, delivered at top prestigious venues, such as the London Grosvenor Hotel and the Crowne Plaza NEC Birmingham.

The company is seeking marketing interns to explore new international markets, and to devise new approaches to expanding sales within the UK. Interns will work on all aspects of a marketing project life cycle from planning through to implementation. This internship provides the opportunity for creative and outgoing interns to take ownership of a project from start to finish and steer its direction.

For further details and to apply please see CareerConnect before the new deadline of June 5th.

Career Options for Maths Postgrads & Postdocs

Posted on behalf of Deptartments of Statistics, Computer Science & Mathematics . Blogged by Rachel Bray on May 26, 2016.
  • When: Thursday 16th June, 1.00 – 6.00 pm
  • Where: Dept of Statistics, 24-29 St Giles’

Pursuing research in mathematical sciences? Wondering what career choices lie ahead in academia or industry?

Come along to a full afternoon of experience and insights from careers advisers and two panels of Oxford alumni, the first comprising people who pursued academic careers and the second those who took their research experience into industry of various kinds. Each panel member will share their career path stories, what they learnt along the way and top tips for pursuing a similar route today.

Ample time for questions and networking… lunch, coffee and a drinks reception are all complimentary!

See the Statistics Department website for biographies of panel members, event details and to sign up.

This is a collaborative event organised by the Department of Statistics,  the Mathematical Institute and the Department of Computer Science. It is aimed at postgraduate students and postdocs.

Sustainable Urban Development Internship in Chile!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on May 26, 2016.

The Internship Programme is offering a unique opportunity for an Oxford student to take part in a research project into the Smart Cities Concept in Chile.

Exxacon Desarrollo Inmobiliario (Opportunity ID 23190 on CareerConnect) is a real estate company in the city of Santiago de Chile. The company is offering an internship involving research into major trends relating to the ‘Smart Cities’ concept, especially the idea of ‘Smart Living’. The successful candidate will research how the Smart Cities and Smart Living concepts are brought into practice in other parts of the world (Barcelona, Tokyo and New York are strong examples). Based on the research, the intern will produce a report including a set of recommendations that they will present to the Company’s Director at the end of the internship. This position would be particularly suited to a student with research skills and an interest in sustainable urban development. Some knowledge of Spanish would be useful.

For further details and to apply please visit CareerConnect before the deadline of June 5th 2016.

The Times / Kingsley Napley Student Advocacy Competition

Posted on behalf of The Times and Kingsley Napley. Blogged by Juliet Tomlinson on May 26, 2016.

The Times and Kingsley Napley have just launched their student advocacy competition for 2016.  This year the competition title is:

‘Is it time to give anonymity to defendants accused of rape and other sexual crimes?’

The competition final on 19 September 2016 will be an exciting event held at the exclusive News Corporation building in London.  The finalists will present to a panel of judges led by Dame Anne Rafferty (a Court of Appeal judge) and questions from the judging panel and audience.

Cash prizes totalling £7,000 are available and in addition the winner will be offered a week of work experience at Kingsley Napley.  The competition details can be found on the Kingsley Napley website.

Entrants will need to submit a skeleton argument (maximum 800 words) and upload a 90 second You Tube video capturing all or part of their written argument.

Closing date is noon on 21st July 2016 – entries welcomed from law and non law students.

 

Insight into Teaching – Last Few Places

Blogged by Abby Evans on May 26, 2016.

Apply now for the last few places on the Insight into Teaching programme this term. We only have places left in secondary schools in music, modern foreign languages and chemistry, available on a first come, first served basis.

Insight into Teaching offers the opportunity to spend three days in a UK school with a full programme of lesson observation, getting involved with activities and possibly the chance to try out some teaching. The programme last three days and takes place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of 9th week this term.

The final closing date for applications is Thursday of 6th week, but placements are offered on a rolling basis as applications are received.

The programme is open to all students at Oxford University.

Find out more – including how to apply – on the Insight Into Teaching webpage.

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