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Writing Speculative Cover Letters

Tips on Drafting Speculative Letters

Taking a speculative approach when job seeking, if done well, can lead to a successful outcome. It may mean you are considered for a job not yet advertised or offered an interview for a future vacancy.

There are a number of factors at play that need to considered if you wish to use this approach. The below points will help you create an effective speculative cover letter.

Shortlist Employers

  • Shortlist organisations that are of interest to you.
  • Investigate the type of jobs they offer.
  • Do research on these companies – look at their company website, their social media channels, LinkedIn etc.
  • Find news articles about them and related industry material.
  • Understand how they operate and their work ethos.

Contact the Decision Maker

  • Find the best person to contact - ideally a decision maker.
  • Contact the company to get the persons details.
  • Address your letter to this person.
  • End off with an invite to meet at their convenience and / or a follow up phone call.

Good Formatting

  • Use a formal letter layout.
  • Choose a professional font style like Arial and stick to one A4 page.
  • Use 'Dear...' and end with 'Yours faithfully,'
  • Use two or three paragraphs of text.
  • Focus on their needs, not yours.
  • Sign the letter with your name typed below your signature. Include your mobile telephone number and email address.

Tailor your Application

  • Each speculative letter should be tailored to the company or particular role that interests you.
  • Aim to demonstrate how your experience and achievements are relevant and of benefit to the company.
  • Match the tone of the letter to the organisation.

Follow up

  • Follow up with a phone call.
  • If offered a chance to meet, approach this as you would a job interview.
  • Be professional and thank them for their time.

Always proofread thoroughly before sending out your speculative letter and CV. Keep a copy of the letter should you be fortunate to be called for an interview.

Other Tips

For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips.