Sending a speculative application means applying for a job that doesn’t yet exist. What you’re aiming to do is show an employer they could make good use of you if only they knew about you. If you sell yourself well, they might even create a job opportunity especially for you.

To write a good speculative letter, you’ll need to do some thorough research. You need to decide what you can do for them based on your knowledge of what they do. When you’ve found out all you can and worked out how you can convince them that you’re fantastic, you’re ready to contact them.

Remember – a good speculative letter from someone showing a strong interest in a company can be a godsend to a busy employer. Advertising, searching through CVs and interviewing is an expensive and time-consuming process. You could be just what they need.

Making contact

  • Find the name of the right person in the organisation to send your application to. This proves you’ve done your homework and prevents your letter from getting lost or ignored because it’s in the wrong hands.
  • Get the contact name you need by ringing up and asking who’s responsible for recruitment for the section you’re interested in.
  • Make sure your CV specifically targets that employer. Check out the CV section for more information.
  • Send a covering letter that explains what motivated you to contact them.

Tell them why you’d like to work for them; what you have to offer and request that they contact you should a vacancy arise.

  • Make sure your letter is enthusiastic, brief (one side if you can), clearly presented and free of any grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Enclose a stamped, addressed envelope to encourage a response. If you don’t get a reply, follow up your letter with a polite phone call.
  • If you decide to call in person, make sure you leave your CV and covering letter with the right contact. If you decide to phone them first, have these documents to hand to help you talk fluently about yourself, and then send them as a follow-up.
  • If you’re sending out lots of speculative letters, keep a record of who you contacted and when.

Example cover letter for a speculative application

45 Hollyfield Road

4 March 2016

Louise Hathaway
Lerret Way
Kingston upon Thames

Dear Mr Sands


I am writing to apply for the above vacancy, which I saw advertised in the Guardian newspaper on 10 Oct 2008.

This position interests me because I enjoy computer work and I like dealing with members of the public, which I do in my current job at Marks and Spencer.  I am punctual, hard working and eager to learn.  My long-term aim is to train as a travel agent.

My CV is enclosed as requested and I am available for an interview at any time.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Louise Hathaway