Making Speculative Approaches | The Careers Service 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 sectors where vacancies are rarely advertised (eg: journalism, broadcasting, publishing, television and film)
  • 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, you can contact people through the Oxford Careers Network (for current students only), the university and/or your college alumni office. 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 which time of year is best to submit your application.

If you are looking for work experience or internships, it might also be worth contacting the recruiting or HR team of the company you are interested in to find out whether they offer this.

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  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.
  • 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.
  • You may wish to follow up your letter with a phone call (1-2 weeks after you have sent it) to check that it was received and if there is any feedback.
Our resources
This information was last updated on 14 September 2016.
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Recent blogs about Making Speculative Approaches

New internships in Laos

Blogged by Caroline Thurston on March 27, 2017.

The Internship Office is now advertising its first ever internships in Laos (the Laos People’s Democratic Republic). The two opportunities are available with Phongsavanh Bank, the first commercial private bank to be established in socialist-governed Laos.

Positions available:

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  2. New Product Strategy Planner – designing and conducting a feasibility study; designing a market entry strategy for a leasing scheme which offers ‘micro-loans’ for high-value personal goods such as cars

Both positions offer unique opportunities to gain professional, high-level experience in the banking sector in SE Asia, and to explore a fascinating and little-known country at a time of unprecedented growth and change.

The compensation package for both positions includes a generous monthly stipend, free accommodation, and return travel from the UK.

See CareerConnect for full details of both positions. If, having read this information, you have further queries, please contact the Internship Office Manager: caroline.thurston@careers.ox.ac.uk.

The OX– Postcode Fair 2017

Blogged by John Gilbert on March 27, 2017.
  • When: Thursday 4 May, Exhibitors from 15.00-18.00
  • Where: The Careers Service (56 Banbury Road, OX2 6PA)

Explore local opportunities…

Looking to stay in Oxford after you graduate, or over the summer? This fair – for students at Oxford University and Oxford Brookes – brings together employers from across Oxfordshire, all with vacancies for full-time jobs or internships!

… in a wide range of sectors

Attending organisations are drawn from many different industries, reflecting the array of opportunities on offer around Oxford – including Education, Computing, Retail, Finance, Health & Social Care, Science, Not-for-Profits and more…

Meet 30 employers

Full details of employers attending will be in the booklet released online one week before the fair. Already confirmed are:

  • 2degrees
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IG Charity Hackathon: Applications open now

Posted on behalf of IG and Teens Unite. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on March 24, 2017.
  • Where: Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, London, EC4R 2YA
  • When: Saturday 22 April, 10.00-20.00

Make a difference through technology

Do you have experience in IT development? This is a chance for you to show off your programming skills and challenge yourself – while helping a charity to solve a real-life problem.

Get involved

Sign up in a team of 3-5 and join IG’s charity hack in aid of Teens Unite, at our headquarters in the City of London. Applications will be open until Friday 14 April, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first- served basis. Please apply for 1 ticket per team at IG Charity Hackathon

 

Timetable:

  • Introduction
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Use our 3D Printer for Free!

Blogged by Karan Karasinska on March 24, 2017.
  • See our 3D printing page for full information!
  • You can send us a 3D file from one of the many collections of 3D designs that are available to download from online websites such as Thingiverse.
  • Or, check out the ‘Popular’ tab: 3D + Animation at Lynda to find out how you can build your own 3D design models.
  • Send your STL or OBJ file to: 3dprinting@careers.ox.ac.uk

It’s free!

Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Endorsement – apply now!

Posted on behalf of Tim Collins. Blogged by Timothy Collins on March 22, 2017.

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 our 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 Monday 12 June 2017 at 12 noon. Applications are now open, and you must apply via Symplicity (for Said Business School students) or CareerConnect (for all other students/alumni) 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 or emailed to timothy.collins@careers.ox.ac.uk by Monday 12 June 2017 at 12 noon.

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