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 and LinkedIn. 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, try to be open to the type of work experience (work shadowing, internship, visiting the organisation) you are willing to do. 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 06 September 2017.
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Recent blogs about Making Speculative Approaches

Civil Service Fast Stream applications

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on September 22, 2017.

About the Fast Stream

The Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme develops people from all kinds of backgrounds to be leaders of the future. Applications are open now, with a deadline on 26th October.

The Fast Stream offers a dynamic career path for people with the imagination to see things not just as they are, but how they could be, and who want to make a real difference to the world. There are 15 different schemes, so visit the Fast Stream website to learn more and make your application by the closing date of 26 October: the information on the site is comprehensive.

The Civil Service consistently is striving to reflect the communities they serve and Fast Stream recruitment has a strong commitment to open competition and talented individuals living with a disability or health condition are supported during the assessment process, and throughout their Civil Service career. In addition, they operate a Guaranteed Interview Scheme: for candidates that have a disability and meet the minimum qualifying criteria for their chosen scheme, it may be possible to skip part of the first stage of the assessment process.

Michaelmas events

To learn more, why not come to one of the following events organised by the Careers Service:

  • Monday 9 October, 14:15-15:30: Civil Service Fast Stream Panel at the Careers Service*, 56 Banbury Road
  • Saturday 14 October: 13:20-14:05: Making a Difference – Graduate Schemes and Careers with Social Impact at the Oxford Career Fair, Examination Schools.

*Anyone who may need help to access this event at the Careers Service should contact us in advance either by email to  reception@careers.ox.ac.uk or telephone 01865 274646. 

Deadline

Apply to the Fast Stream by 26 October 2017.

 

Columbia Law School – Admission Q&A

Posted on behalf of Columbia Law School. Blogged by Juliet Tomlinson on September 21, 2017.

Columbia Law School are hosting an online Q&A information session on Tuesday 3 October, 13.00 EST (18.00 BST). The session will cover the admissions process, the curriculum, student life and careers. Register online to take part.

 

The Careers Service needs your help!

Blogged by Timothy Collins on September 21, 2017.

We need your help to unload this years Careers Guide!

If you are interesting in getting paid for assisting at the Careers Service for a couple of hours on the morning of Thursday 28 September, please contact timothy.collins@careers.ox.ac.uk for details of payment and schedule. Email us no later than Monday 25 September at 17.00 with your full name, area of study and college/department if you’re interested!

 

 

 

The Oxford Careers Fair 2017

Blogged by John Gilbert on September 12, 2017.
  • When: Saturday 14 October, Exhibitors from 11.00-14.30
  • Where: Exam Schools

Find a job or internship at our main fair of the year!

  • Meet over 60 recruiters at our fair for all sectors
  • Find graduate schemes and internships in all the main career sectors that Oxford graduates enter – and dozens not included in our other fairs
  • Explore a huge range of careers from teaching to technology, and from social care to sport!

Learn about careers at our fair talks

  • Engaging with Organisations as a Disabled Student (10.00-10.45 – pre-fair talk – register in advance on CareerConnect)
  • How Can the Careers Service Help Me? And How to Make the Most of the Fair! (11.15-11.35, repeated at 12.15-12.35 and 13.15-13.35)
  • Getting Started with your Career (11.15-11.45)
  • Internships and Work Experience: Timeline of What to Do and When (12.00-12.30)
  • Business Career Alternatives to Management Consultancy (12.35-13.20)
  • Making a Difference – Graduate Schemes & Careers with Social Impact (13.20-14.05)

Get your CV checked at our CV clinic

  • Get one-to-one feedback from visiting recruiters
  • Just bring your CV and turn up! Appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meet over 60 recruiters!

Visiting employers include:

  • Amazon
  • Ark Teacher Training
  • ATASS Sports
  • BAE Systems
  • Baillie Gifford
  • Brainlabs Digital
  • Cancer Research UK
  • City Football Group
  • Cognita Schools
  • Dyson
  • EF Education First
  • Frontline
  • GSK
  • IBM UK Ltd
  • Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Kraft Heinz
  • London Business School
  • Mars Inc.
  • Metaswitch
  • National Audit Office
  • Newton Europe
  • NHS Leadership Academy
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Oxford Hub
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Sanctuary Group
  • SCG Chemicals Co.
  • SEO London
  • Shell
  • Softwire
  • Sparx
  • Susquehanna
  • Teach First
  • Think Ahead
  • TPP
  • Unilever
  • Unlocked Graduates
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