How to write a cover letter CVs and Interviews

How to Write a Speculative Cover Letter

You may have spotted an employer that you’d love to work for, but they’re not currently hiring for any position that fits with your aspirations. Speculative applications can have great results, especially for those wanting to get an internship, work placement, apprenticeship or graduate job. You’ll need to be engaging, expressive and able to confidently discuss your skill to really have an effect.

Why Send a Speculative Cover Letter?

If you’re looking for a job within a competitive industry, you may need to be proactive with your job searches and job application as not all roles are formally advertised. Plus, if there’s a company that you think could provide you with your dream job, why not give it a shot? A speculative CV with an accompanying cover letter is a great way of connecting with recruiters or potential employers when they’re not advertising vacancies.

How to Start a Covering Letter

Before you think about sitting down and writing your covering letter, you’ll need to research the company. Even if you know a lot about the company, you’ll want to brush up on your knowledge in order to create a good cover letter.

Find out everything you can about the organisation, including its staff and also the wider industry they operate within.

Take a look through their website and also look for press releases as well as related news article to really find out what’s happening at their organisation. Make sure you look at their social media profiles and also look on websites such as Glassdoor for staff reviews on working there.

The more knowledge you have to start with, the easier it will be to write your covering letter. It’s this knowledge that will enable you to connect your skills, experience and interests to their company.

What to Include and what not to Include

The general formatting of a speculative letter will be relatively similar to a standard cover letter:

  • Start with personal information such as your name, address and contact details. You should never include your national insurance number or bank details on your cover letter.
  • Include information to your social media platforms such as Linkedin. There should be crucial information about your work experience on there and it will also enable them to get a better indication of your interests through shared articles and endorsed skills.
  • Include the manager’s name if you have it, but if you don’t just use Dear Sir/Madam.
  • Within the first paragraph, you should outline what type of role you’re looking for, and why you want to work for that particular company.
  • The second paragraph should explain more about the skills you possess and any experience you have that could be of interest to them. There is no job description so you’ll have to be inventive on how your skill set may apply to their business.
  • The closing paragraph is the last chance for you to make an impression. You need to tell them exactly why you’d be perfect for the company and what you could potentially contribute. If there isn’t an open job, why should they open one for you? what do you have that is different? this doesn’t always have to be your skills, genuine passion for the company and their values could be enough.
  • To close the covering letter, thank them for their time and sign-off the cover letter with ‘Yours faithfully’)

The final thing to mention here is that you must ensure there are no spelling mistakes. This involves specific person names, product names and relations to the company especially. You can use a spell checker or Grammarly for the checking of punctuation and spelling, but they may not pick up branded names so you’ll need to double-check.

Get to the Point, Set your Tone & Don't Apologise

You might think that sending a speculative application and cover letter could come across as pushy or presumptuous by the receiver. In most cases this couldn’t be any further from the truth, HR teams are often impressed by this process as it shows passion, confidence and forthcomingness. It’s also worth mentioning that recruiting can be a timely and expensive process, so someone coming forth is a great way for them to avoid this.

What you absolutely shouldn’t do is open with anything apologetic such as ‘I hope you don’t mind me contacting you’. You need to be confident that you’re offering them something of value and apologising for contacting them doesn’t give that impression. A speculative application is verification that you’re an enthusiastic and proactive individual, rather than arrogant or presumptuous.

The best start to a speculative cover letter is one that gets straight to the point. HR teams and managers are busy people so avoid long-winded introductions and ones that are copied off the internet as they’ll have read it ten times already.

Quickly explain why you’re writing to them. Don’t just explain, demonstrate how you can benefit their company with key highlights from your CV. Keep to a formal layout and ensure all the points in the ‘What to Include and what not to Include’ section are covered. Make a mental note to keep the information condensed.

By now you’re likely wondering, how many words should a cover letter be? There really is no golden number, it’s about how many words it takes to really sell your worth to the company. The general guidelines are to stick to around half a page and definitely no more than one page.

We hope our guide has given you the knowledge you need to go and write an amazing speculative cover letter that lands you the position you desire. Remember the cover letter is the bait to get the HR team to read your CV, so make sure your CV is as good as your covering letter!

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