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 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

Careers with a PhD: Your interest in a possible new event?

Blogged by Rachel Bray on December 2, 2016.

We are looking at specific ways to extend our services to DPhil students and postdocs/research staff.

Please help us understand your interest by completing our short survey as soon as possible

Thank you and best wishes,

Dr Rachel Bray, Careers Adviser for research students and research staff

 

Entrepreneurship and your intellectual property: Training opportunity

Posted on behalf of Anne Millar, MPLS. Blogged by Rachel Bray on December 2, 2016.
  • What: Tuesday 13 December, 9:30 to 12:30
  • Where: The Library, Sherrington Building

Has your research produced an idea for a new product or business?

Come and learn about patenting and how to protect your intellectual property from Prof Pete Dobson, highly successful academic and serial entrepreneur.

Visit Protecting your Intellectual Property for further details and to book your place.

Any queries, please contact: anne.miller@mpls.ox.ac.uk

Previous participants said:

“Peter was fantastic, both an interesting and highly useful talk. I will certainly be looking out for more of his lectures on IP/Business.”

“Highly recommend this course. One of the best I have ever attended in Oxford.”

 

Your PhD as a step into finance : Meet Deutsche Bank

Blogged by Rachel Bray on December 2, 2016.

Are you exploring options beyond your DPhil or post-doc, and keen to continue using your research skills? Ever wondered what a career in banking and finance could involve?

Come along on Wednesday evening to a casual networking session to meet and chat to Deutsche Bank employees about how they use their research background in Strategy or Research roles, and what opportunities are open to you.

As it is a closed event, please register in order to attend.

Further details

What and when? Networking drinks/snacks, Wednesday 7th December 6 – 8pm, 

Where? The Garden Room, Oxford Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road, OX2 6PA.

Deutsche Bank Strats

Deutsche Bank Strats is an integral part of the Global Markets business. Strategists are responsible for developing analytics to serve traders and senior management in all quantitative aspects of the business: product valuation, risk management, model development.

Deutsche Bank Research

Deutsche Bank’s Research team offers truly global and industry knowledge. Our comprehensive, in-depth, multi-asset-class research product means we consistently outperform competitors. Our teams deal with a range of functions from asset allocation to economic forecasting and cover all major global industry sectors.

The skills you’ll need

You will be a final or penultimate year PhD student. Strong quantitative, mathematical and programming skills and a keen interest in the financial markets. Beyond that, we’ll be looking for strong communication and influencing skills, along with a record of outstanding academic achievement, you’ll have the determination to build a long-term career in investment banking.

Get free start-up mentoring at the Saïd Business School!

Posted on behalf of Oxford VIEW. Blogged by John Gilbert on December 1, 2016.

The Oxford VIEW workshop programme from the Entrepreneurship Centre at Oxford Saïd offers FREE, hands-on peer learning with support from experts and mentors.

It runs over a 6-week period in both Hilary and Trinity terms, and  is open to any venture with at least one Oxford University student, alum or staff member on the founding team.

Applications to participate in VIEW in Hilary Term are now open, and will close on December 12th. 

The Hilary programme itself will start on January 30th.

You can see further information – including a short film explaining more about the programme, with testimonials from students who have previously participated – on the Oxford VIEW webpages.

2 days left to complete the Student Barometer survey

Posted on behalf of Oxford University Student Admin. Blogged by John Gilbert on December 1, 2016.

Just a reminder that the survey closes this Friday at midnight. The results of the survey are widely used by colleges, departments, the central University and OUSU so we do strongly encourage you to complete it, if you have not done so already. Each student receives a unique hyperlink to the survey (with some basic course data pre-populated) in an email sent from the Academic Registrar.

Final year undergraduates are not surveyed as they will be asked to do the NSS survey next term.

If you have any questions, please contact student.information@admin.ox.ac.uk

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