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Speculative application:
Secure your dream job

Have you heard of something called an “invisible” or “hidden” job market? No? Then you should look into it because it is the job market you are addressing with a speculative application (also called unsolicited application).  

A speculative application can raise a recruitment need in a company or organisation whose HR planning is not yet definite. Even if it you need a bit of hope, a speculative application and ideal preparation gives you enormous opportunities as a specialist to open the door wide to a job interview.  

What is a specualtive application?


What must be included in a speculative application?
Speculative application: Advantages and disadvantages of a speculative application
Preparation and research of a speculative application
Template for a speculative application: Three variants for you  
Introduction to a speculative application: Establish a catchy connection in your opening sentence 
Cover letter for a speculative application: Reinforce this in the main section with knowledge and ability
Conclusion for a speculative application: Be self-confident and optimistic when getting to the point  

Which companies are worth sending speculative applications to? Basically all those with positive growth prospects. Publications about new company sites or new project orders are good indicators for this development. Use a speculative application to refer to this information and link it to your own motivation and competencies.  

You will be particularly successful if the company invites speculative applications on its own website. If a company is experiencing economic difficulties, it makes little sense to send a speculative application as they will most likely not be hiring at the moment. This means that smart, diligent research is essential for a successful speculative application and to avoid wasted time and effort.   

What is a speculative application?

A speculative application is an application that is not aimed at a specific job offer. So, although there is no vacancy, you can still use your application to refer to a specific position in the company and create a requirements profile matching your competencies.

 

What must be included in a speculative application?

In terms of structure and individual components, a speculative application is very similar to a standard application. A speculative application should also include at least a cover letter and your CV. Making contact beforehand can clarify whether your preferred next employer expects letters of recommendation, references or even a motivational letter from you.

Therefore, it is advisable to contact the company before you swing into action and compile your application documents. It will help your contact remember you and draw a connection between you and your speculative application.

 

Speculative application: advantages and disadvantages

The chances of landing your dream job with a speculative application are good—for the following reasons:

  • You are not competing with other applicants for an advertised position.

  • Apart from self-initiative, you are showing a lot of commitment, ambition and also self-confidence: character traits that can benefit any company or organisation.

  • Since you are creating a fictional profile for a hidden position, you need to clearly highlight your skills and abilities. All companies will remember that. In addition, you have the opportunity of potentially defining your future position.

  • With a speculative application, you can give free reign to your creativity—in terms of layout and content. Show creativity and stand out from the crowd.

  • In all probability, you will be added to the company’s pool of a applicants.

Even if the advantages seem overwhelming at first, you should also consider the disadvantages of a speculative application.

  • You are entering unknown territory. You can only assume the kinds of skills required, but you cannot know for sure.

  • To find out more details, you need to do preparatory work, do a lot of research —and invest time.

  • Some companies are currently not looking for people, so a lack of job advertisements means you have little to go on when it comes to composing your speculative application.

  • Likewise, some companies reject speculative applications on principle. This is yet another reason why you should contact someone and ask them for details.

 

Speculative application: Preparation and research

Naturally, align your speculative application to the contact you were previously in touch with by phone or in writing.

Apart from establishing a general interest in speculative applications, also ask about the required documents. Certificates, letters of recommendation or work samples are always valuable and informative documents because they accurately describe your field of activity and assess your accomplishments.

Try to derive as many details and requirements as possible for your speculative application from the information received. Use this as a basis to tailor your documents to your preferred next employer so the company feels it is individually addressed and you can impress with your detailed knowledge. This will boost your chances of being invited to a first interview.

Try answering the following questions for yourself to perfectly tailor your speculative application to the company:

  • What values does the company represent? What is the company philosophy?

  • In which sector does the company operate? What sets the company apart?

  • What products and services are offered? Do they have a USP?

  • What current (economic) news is there about the company? Is it expanding into other countries?

  • Are there gaps in the company’s skill set? Can you close these with your expertise?

  • What qualifications are present in the company? Which department can your job profile be allocated to?

To answer these questions, you should not only use the company website but also career networks such as Xing or LinkedIn. After all, employees and companies are more likely to share information there than on other social media platforms.

 

Template for a speculative application: Three variants for you

Your comprehensive research has provided you with all the information for writing a meaningful cover letter for your speculative application that will attract attention. Often, these data and details help you to gauge even better whether the company really is a good fit for you—and vice versa.

Since there are so many different prerequisites and backgrounds, it is almost impossible to provide a sample for a speculative application. Nevertheless, we want to give you specific tips on how to structure a cover letter for your speculative application that will inspire your contacts.

Do you need rework your application documents? See our Download section for CV templates, information about application photographs and check-lists for successful cover letters!

Very important No one in an HR department is waiting for a formalised, dull speculative application. You need to impress with authenticity as well as creativity. Show your rough edges, get to the point of why the company really needs your personality together with your skills and experience. A bog-standard application will land wide of the mark but fresh, original wording with an edge will spark interest.

The 101 of a successful speculative application

KREATIVITÄT

AUTHENTIZITÄT

KOMPETENZ

INDIVIDUELLE ANSPRACHE

USPs NENNEN

Introduction to a speculative application: Establish a catchy connection in your opening sentence

After addressing your contact, use the first sentence to make your mark. An unusual introduction will encourage the recipient to read on.

Try this:

 

“Dear Ms Miller,

2022 will change your company. Your new product will come to market, your company will radiate into new international marketplaces and your team will need valid data to shine a light on its success. Even if your marketing team has already taken on national challenges, international product relaunches are a completely different ball game. I can name four things that I have successfully implemented that will also support your relaunch: …”

Start mentioning your knowledge and experience in the introduction, focus on your strengths and point out gaps in competencies and staff coverage. Finding an original word play or metaphor for that will give you every chance of attracting attention with the cover letter of your speculative application.

Following the introduction in the cover letter of your speculative application, you now need to advertise your own competencies and qualifications. As you would in a cover letter for a standard application, try not to squeeze your CV into this main section. Explain briefly and succinctly how the company will benefit from your expertise, how you will drive your preferred next employer forwards and what goals you want to achieve in the process.  Clearly state what sets you apart, what soft skills you possess and why you of all people are the perfect fit for the team. Also explain the specific enthusiasm you have for a field of activity and evidence your inner drive. This is the only way for you ensure that your contact can see your motivation and passion. 

Following the introduction in the cover letter of your speculative application, you now need to advertise your own competencies and qualifications. As you would in a cover letter for a standard application, try not to squeeze your CV into this main section. Explain briefly and succinctly how the company will benefit from your expertise, how you will drive your preferred next employer forwards and what goals you want to achieve in the process.  Clearly state what sets you apart, what soft skills you possess and why you of all people are the perfect fit for the team. Also explain the specific enthusiasm you have for a field of activity and evidence your inner drive. This is the only way for you ensure that your contact can see your motivation and passion. 


In the conclusion, mention your earliest possible starting date. You can also self-confidently point to your goal and illustrate the value that collaborating with you would bring the company.

At the end, thank your contact for the time they have invested and optimistically express that you are looking forward to meeting them. Don’t use the conditional in your finishing phrases but instead, look to the future with anticipation and full of confidence.

“I’ll be happy to be at your disposal full of energy, highly motivated and in keeping with my 3-month period of notice after 1 October. Please treat my speculative application confidentially. Thank you for considering my application documents and I looking forward to accepting an invitation to meet you in person.”

In the conclusion, mention your earliest possible starting date. You can also self-confidently point to your goal and illustrate the value that collaborating with you would bring the company.

At the end, thank your contact for the time they have invested and optimistically express that you are looking forward to meeting them. Don’t use the conditional in your finishing phrases but instead, look to the future with anticipation and full of confidence.

“I’ll be happy to be at your disposal full of energy, highly motivated and in keeping with my 3-month period of notice after 1 October. Please treat my speculative application confidentially. Thank you for considering my application documents and I looking forward to accepting an invitation to meet you in person.”


Conclusion: Use your speculative application to draw attention to yourself.

As mentioned above, extensive and detailed research is half the battle to ensure that your speculative application hits the mark. This research will also help you in the future to watch out for nuances and choose which companies are a good fit for your personality and which ones aren’t.

What is important here is being authentic. Understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie and showcase your abilities, knowledge and personality in a realistic light. This is the only way for you to come across as authentic and to communicate with your preferred next employer in a relaxed and ambitious manner.

 

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