Have you found yourself scrolling unenthusiastically through endless job listings time and time again? Or applied for so many jobs you’ve lost count, but failed to get past the interview stage? Perhaps you’re looking for a change of career but just can’t see anything out there that excites you?
It could be time to try a different approach.
Instead of waiting for a job to come up – start approaching the companies you want to work for instead.
This can have the potential for two desirable outcomes:
1. The company could consider you for a job they haven’t advertised (this is the hidden job market – it sounds like something from a bad film, but it really exists)
2. The company could like you so much that they create a brand new position for you
Here’s how to use this approach to create your own potential opportunities:
A speculative job application is how more and more savvy jobseekers are finding work on the ‘hidden job market.’
Target Jobs explain: Many jobs aren’t advertised, particularly in the media, charity work, design and environmental work. One of the only ways to tap into this hidden graduate job market is to write a speculative application. This can also be a useful way to approach small employers who don’t recruit graduates onto a formal scheme or to find jobs in a highly specialised field or specific location.”
There are so many potential opportunities you could be missing is you’re solely applying for existing job applications.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Start by making a list of companies you want to work for
2. Do your research – find out everything you can about the company. What are their key values? Who are their competitors? What is their business strategy or plans for growth?
3. Figure out what you have to offer them – what are your key strength, skills, qualifications, relevant experiences? Can you back up these with examples?
4. Think about how your strengths could help the company’s needs, and use this to write a cover letter. You should ensure you put just as much effort into your speculative job application than you would an existing one, as even if they have nothing at that time, they’re more likely to consider you for future opportunities.
5. Stand out! The Guardian argues: “Many speculative letters are pure time wasters. They make little attempt to understand the needs of the organisation, and are instantly considered as junk mail. Too many letters use dull, predictable wording, over-long introductions and explanations, and communicate too much using long paragraphs which will never be read. Get to the point quickly.”
An employer will not want to hire somebody who just wants a job. They will hire somebody who wants to work for them,” explains James Caan CBE, an Entrepreneur, Investor and LinkedIn Influencer.