Looking for a job? Don’t wait for one to find you – follow our five steps to making your own job hunting opportunities and learn how to write the perfect speculative letter or email.
If you want to give your post-baby career the best chance of success, you need to be proactive. And that means not waiting for the perfect recruitment ad to land on your lap.
As many as 80% of jobs are never advertised, so if you want to snap up the perfect flexible work opportunity, you need to go and find it before anyone else grabs it.
Five steps to making job opportunities
When it comes to finding work, it’s most definitely a case of she who dares wins. The career women that make the effort to approach employers directly and hunt out work, are the ones that land the great jobs.
To help you join them, we outline the five steps to making your own job opportunities.
1) Make a list
Start out by making a list of all the companies you’d like to work for, taking into account:
- The type of work they do – does it match your experience and interest?
- Their location – how close are they to your home and/or childcare?
- Their attitude to families – are they open to flexible working arrangements?
- Whether they may have openings – are they launching any new projects or expanding departments?
2) Identify a contact
Find out which person would be the best to approach at each company on your list (aim for heads of departments if it’s a large organisation, or MD or CEO if it’s smaller) and get their contact details.
Research these on their website and Facebook page, and by searching for any news online – or by calling the company and asking for them!
3) Write to them
Next write to your contacts outlining your skills and experience and ask whether they have any current or potential roles that may be suitable. Make sure you tailor each letter for each company to ensure that the skills you highlight are relevant for them.
4) Call them
If you haven’t had a reply within seven days, follow up your letter or email with a phone call.
5) Ask them to keep your details
If your contact replies that they have nothing available at the moment, thank them for their time and ask them to keep your details in case anything comes up in future. Add them as a connection on LinkedIn. (You can read seven simple rules to create a perfect LinkedIn profile here.)
How to write a speculative letter or email
An important part of making your own job hunting opportunities is writing a killer speculative letter or email – the kind of communication that sells your skills perfectly and makes someone want to meet you (if not hire you!) on first reading.
Here’s what your speculative letter or email should cover:
- Why you’re approaching them – for example they’re the leading company specialising in your area of interest, or they’re a rapidly growing, forward-thinking organisation.
- What area of work you’re interested in – don’t just specify a job title, instead explain what type of work you are looking for.
- What you do – again don’t just list your job title, let them know your experience, for example that you’ve worked in charity marketing for 15 years.
- Who you’ve worked for – don’t list every employer you’ve ever worked for, just a couple that that they may know or are relevant.
- Your key experiences and achievements – give them a brief summary of any experiences, skills or achievements that may demonstrate your suitability for the type of work you want.
- What you want – clearly explain the purpose of your letter or email, which is to be considered for any potential roles that suit your skills or experience, or to meet them and chat about the possibility of any potential work.
Need more advice?
You’ll find more job hunting tips in these articles:
- How to talk your way into the job you want.
- How to tidy up your CV in less than half an hour.
- Five things you need to research for a job interview.
- How to avoid the seven more common job hunting mistakes
- 10 common CV mistakes and how to avoid them.
- What to do when your job search stalls.