Making Speculative Approaches | Making Speculative Approaches – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
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.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about Making Speculative Approaches

Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Endorsement – Apply Now!

Posted on behalf of Tim Collins. Blogged by Timothy Collins on August 25, 2016.

If you have an idea for a business, have a venture currently in development, or are piloting a new concept, you may be eligible to apply for endorsement under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa scheme, which allows non-EEA nationals who are graduates or post-doctoral researchers to reside in the UK in order to develop their business.

Previously endorsed businesses have included:

  • Social enterprises and not-for-profits
  • Technology start-ups
  • Funding generation and investment organisations
  • Digital education tools
  • Energy research

The University of Oxford can endorse up to thirty applicants per year. Calls for applications are held four times a year: once in each term, and once during the Long Vacation. The next deadline for applications is Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 12 noon. Applications are now open, and you must apply via Symplicity (for Said Business School students) or CareerConnect (all other students/alum) using the following vacancy IDs:

  • for Students: CareerConnect opportunity ID 25400
  • for Alumni: CareerConnect opportunity ID 25392

You can find more information and details of how to apply on our visa page or on CareerConnect. Alternatively you can email timothy.collins@careers.ox.ac.uk.

All applications must be submitted through CareerConnect by Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 12 noon.

Re-insurance case study competition in London

Blogged by Bekki Shaw on August 23, 2016.

This October, for the second time, Munich Re invites Master and Bachelor students to its career event around reinsurance #IMMERSE, from 5 -7 October 2016 in London.

The topic at the heart of their second case study competition #IMMERSE is “Start-ups in risk management”.

For successful applicants Munich Re will cover the travel costs to and from London, as well as the accommodation for successful applicants.

If you are interested, apply now!

Consultancy event for DPhils and researchers

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on August 23, 2016.

The Careers Service is welcoming back recent DPhils now working as consultants with leading firms to share their experiences and advice on how to successfully negotiate the transition from researcher to consultant.

On Monday 26th September, 4-6pm, you can hear at first hand  from our panel of DPhils now working as consultants about:

  • What a consultant does and how they apply the skills they developed during their DPhil;
  • How they made the transition from researcher to consultant;
  • Ideas and advice on how and where to develop your skills and gain consultancy experience during your DPhil;
  • How different firms approach recruitment of DPhils, including opportunities to participate in internships, personal development and consultancy programmes with firms;
  • The best way to promote your skills and experience during the recruitment process.

 

Details

  • Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
  • When: Monday 26th September, 4-6pm
  • How to book: Please book your place via the event listing on CareerConnect.

 

DMA Breakthrough Award 2016

Blogged by Bekki Shaw on August 19, 2016.

The IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) is working with the Graeme Robertson Trust (GRT) and DMA Group to bring you the DMA Breakthrough Award 2016.

This year’s brief is provided by The Economist. They are looking for sparkling creative work that will help boost female readership and improve their overall brand awareness.

Entries will be judged by some of the country’s top Creative Directors and winners will be announced at the annual DMA Awards ceremony in December 2016.

First place winners will take home a cash prize of £1,000 and be rewarded with a paid internship at an agency. Second place will pocket £500 and third place will receive £250, respectively.

Closing date

The closing date for entries to the DMA Breakthrough Award is 28th October 2016.

 

Volunteer – Database work, Keep Britain Tidy

Posted on behalf of Keep Britain Tidy. Blogged by Claire Chesworth on August 9, 2016.

Keep Britain Tidy is in the process of organising an annual national litter pick on 3-5 March 2017, The Great British Spring Clean.  KBT already have on their database 24,000 primary and secondary schools and are looking for help to work on a database of email addresses of all 130 UK universities’ student wardens,  NUS contacts and ten HUB volunteer associations.  The database is needed by early October 2016, remuneration possible.

If  you are interested, please contact rosannebostock@btinternet.com, sending your CV with referee details.

This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.