Job boards are great because they help you discover the latest opportunities, set up job alerts and use keywords to search for specific roles.
But the problem is that thousands of people could be viewing these job adverts at the same time as you, so competition for these roles has become fierce.
And more than half of jobs are filled before even reaching a job website.
However, there is a solution.
If you’re frustrated with endlessly trawling through job sites and never hearing back from recruiters, consider using speculative applications or networking instead. That way, you can sidestep job boards altogether and beat the competition.
This strategy could help you to bag your dream job before it’s even been advertised.
Create a list of target employers
When sending speculative applications, the first thing you need to do is pull together a list of target employers. You may already have a few businesses in mind that you’d like to work for, but run a detailed online search to find employers who regularly employ people in your line of work.
As you are going to be applying speculatively and don’t know if these companies are actively looking for new employees or not, it’s a good idea to create a fairly big list. This way, you increase your chances of reaching companies with live vacancies, and getting responses.
Find recruiters and hiring managers
When emailing companies about potential vacancies, you want to make sure that you’re getting through to decision-makers, or those in charge of recruitment. For this reason, it’s best to avoid generic email addresses like email@example.com or website contact forms.
Instead, you need to do your research to see if you can find specific contact details for the right people. It’s best to look out for recruiters, HR departments or managers of the relevant team/department you want to work in.
But how do you find out this information? Well, there are several ways you can do this.
Firstly, you can use the company website to help. Look at the ‘meet the team’ or ‘about us’ pages; sometimes, these will contain details of the relevant people, but sometimes you might need to dig a little deeper.
You could also use LinkedIn allows you to search for individuals or companies to find relevant profiles, and lots of people include their contact details on there. Alternatively, you can do a quick online Google search using keywords like ‘company name’ + ‘recruitment’ or ‘department manager.’ This might help to shed some light on who you need to email.
Try to gather as much information as possible to boost your chances of getting in front of the right people. It’s a good idea to make a spreadsheet of your target employers and their contact details to stay on top of your applications.
Write a powerful message
As you are reaching out to people who are not expecting your email, with no prior knowledge as to whether or not they are hiring, you need to hit them with a powerful message. It needs to be friendly, professional, and above all else, persuasive.
To do this, you need to use an attention-grabbing subject line and address them by their name. The email must focus on what you can offer them throughout, and you want to keep the message as short and sweet as possible. And, of course, don’t forget to attach your CV to accompany your message, and lead it with a powerful CV headline to ensure that you encourage readers to delve further into your CV.
Remember, they need a compelling reason to respond to your email, let alone invite you in for an interview. Therefore, every word needs to be carefully thought out, and your CV and cover letter need to be excellent.
Follow up with non-responders
Finally, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a response from every email you send, certainly not the first time around anyway. As such, you need to follow up with any companies you don’t hear back from to increase the likelihood of getting a reply.
The simplest way to follow up is to forward your original email again, with your CV attached and ask politely if they got your message. This might jog their memory or give them a nudge to respond to you.
However, it’s a good idea to wait at least a few days before chasing up on emails, as everyone is busy, and it might just be that they haven’t had a chance to get back to you yet.
This is where your spreadsheet comes in again. You need to take note of the date you sent the first email and if they responded. If they didn’t, make a note of the date you followed up.
Just be careful not to pester anyone too much because you don’t want to burn your bridges. If you’ve followed up once or twice and not heard back, it’s better to focus your efforts on more promising positions instead.
By being proactive and following these four steps, you could effectively sidestep job boards and increase your chances of landing your dream role before anyone else.