The unsolicited application

There are two good reasons to send unsolicited applications. Many jobs are filled through networks and unsolicited applications, and sending an unsolicited application shows drive and initiative.

The road to your first job may very well be through an unsolicited application. The figures below show that the majority of companies use unsolicited application when they are to hire a new employee. And yet, one-fifth of companies never receive unsolicited applications.

This is very good reason for using unsolicited applications in your search. As a recent graduate, this may very well help you to the front of the queue for a job.

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Did you know?

Source: Excerpts from 'Recruitment Analysis 2017', Ballisager consultancy firm.

0%
of the companies save most unsolicited applications
0%
of the companies normally go through these unsolicited applications when they are looking for a new employee
0%
of the companies do not receive any unsolicited applications

How to send an unsolicited application

You should not just look for job ads, but show drive and initiative by sending unsolicited applications.

“Taking the ball yourself shows drive, commitment and initiativ. Companies like it if you spend time on just them; that you don’t just send a random application, but that you have prepared show show an interest in them,” says Sanne Mattebjerg, IDA career counsellor.

Below is six pieces of advice on how to approach the unsolicited application:

1. Show that you can make a difference

When you send an unsolicited application, you need to show – even more then in an advertised position – that you have competences and initiative that the company can use. You should also adress the application to a specific person to avoid becoming a cold inquiry from a stranger. You therefore need a name or a person to whom you can send the application.

2. Consider the unsolicited application as an invitation to dialogue

You need to sell yourself as a problem-solver – and not as someone who is begging for a job. In fact, you should not consider an unsolicited application as an application, but as an invitation to dialogue on future opportunities in the relevant company.

3. Find out about the company

Research what is going on in the sector and in the relevant company. Find out what challenges the comapy is facing and what it is doing. Find people in your network who know the sector and the company, and search on social media, in trade magazines, on the company website and similar. Once you have learned more about the company’s challenges, your task is to find out what you can contribute to the company.

4. Ask the right questions

Phone someone at the company before you write your CV and application. You should try to find your future boss. And when you talk to him or her on the phone, be ready to ask well-prepared questions.

Ideas for questions:

Ask what competences and profiles they need

Ask about departments, and fint out which department you would fit into, and what tasks you would be able to carry out for the company

5. Brief and precise – fit into the box

When you talk to a person from the company, agree with that person that you will send your CV to your possible boss – the person who can decide whether your profile is relevant for the company. It is aa good idea to ask whether you should highlight specific competences or whether they want you to mentor specific experience.

Your CV should of course be enclosed with an application in which you briefly describe what you can do for the company. With a short and easy-to-read CV, they will be able to see which department you could match.

6. The golden rule: Follow up

Make sure to follow up on your application after about a week if you do not hear anything right away. Never leave the initiative to the company. You cannot expect to receive a reply.

When you follow up, ask the person whether he/she has any comments on your CV. Show them that you do not expect them to have a job right away. Your goal is to be known and show that you are interested in the company – and to tell them that you hope they will contact you if any opportunities arise.

“If you can hear that the company in interested in your profile, you can tentatively suggest that you could stop by for an informal meeting on possibilities in the long term. If this is not possible, ask whether you can call them again in a few months,” says Sanne Mattebjerg.

The best advices from IDA's career counsellors

"Call the company for answers that can help you clarify whether you can and want to carry out the tasks, and then tailor your material accordingly"
Karriererådgiver i IDA
Sanne Mattebjerg
"Only send your CV and write a short email with 3-4 bullets, describing what tasks you can perform"
Karriererådgiver i IDA
Majbrit Ølgaard
"Follow up. It is your need - not their need"
Karriererådgiver i IDA
Sanne Mattebjerg