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Returning to STEM
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3.1 Speculative applications

Speculative applications are a way of targeting organisations you wish to work for, even if they’re not currently advertising.

You can try this approach with organisations that:

  • don’t have to advertise because they receive so many speculative applications
  • use recruitment agencies or word of mouth to fill vacancies
  • are within a defined geographical area, if you are restricted in where you can work
  • you really want to work for.

A speculative letter should be tailored to the specific organisation being applied to, rather than a standard letter used for a number of speculative applications, and should be addressed to a named individual.

The letter should be clearly structured to cover:

  • the kind of work you’re looking for
  • why you want to work for that organisation in particular
  • why you are suitable – emphasise your relevant skills, experience and personal qualities by elaborating on the information on your enclosed CV.

Remember to end the letter positively and enthusiastically.

Try to offer a number of options in your letter. If they have no vacancies, could they keep your details on file? Are you interested in unpaid work experience? If so, say so!

Finally, don’t forget to spell check the document, and also carefully proofread the letter as there are errors a spell checker won’t pick up (for example typing ‘form’ instead of ‘from’). As with all applications and letters, it’s best to ask a friend to check it for you, just in case you have missed something obvious.