Some employers list job openings on their company websites (and not anywhere else). They’re usually on “careers” pages or “join our team” or simply “current openings”. Sometimes there’s no mention at all of any vacancies. You’ve probably heard that in these cases writing a speculative letter to the company is a good way of eliminating competition.
Unfortunately there’s a very low response rate to speculative letters. In all likelihood it wouldn’t be this way, if it weren’t for the standard mistakes people often make. When we take a look at a regular speculative letter, then the main problem is that it isn’t targeted.
It’s usually addressed to „Dear Sir/Madam“ or worse „To whom it may concern“. This is the best way to ensure it goes straight to the HR department (if you’re lucky) and not to the actual decision maker. Because the letter isn’t tailor-made, the person writing it doesn’t offer a solution to a specific problem. It’s clear that he/she doesn’t know anything about the company, which definitely isn’t impressive. It also hasn’t got a “call to action” (request to do something) in the end of the letter.
7 Tips on Using a Targeted Approach:
1) Address the letter to a named person who has the power to hire you;
2) Give a specific reason for writing him/her;
3) Research the company, so you can offer your advice to improve a situation or add value to the company;
4) Make it clear you want a meeting;
5) Ask them to keep your details on file for a suitable position in the future (as an alternative, if they really aren’t hiring at the moment);
6) Don’t attach your CV;
7) In the very end of the letter include a “call to action” – make a business proposition and ask them to call you at 555-5555.
You may think that if you have a generic speculative letter, you can send it to a large number of prospective employers. The idea is to cast your net wide enough, that you must catch something. That’s a common misconception. It’s much more effective to send out 3 targeted letters and get 3 responses than 100 universal letters and still get 3 responses.