It is said that only 40% of jobs are advertised and some employers, particularly smaller-scale ones, will expect students to approach them to find work rather than spend time and resources placing an advertisement on the internet. This is where speculative applications can be very helpful
Think of the kind of work you want to do and the kind of employer you’d want to work for and make a ‘hit list’ of all the companies you want to target. Once you’ve done this, call them to ask if they are going to be recruiting new employees in the near future. Make sure your CV and covering letter are tailored as closely as possible to the companies you’re contacting, and send out your CV and covering letter to those companies that have offered you a positive response, conveying your enthusiasm for work or work experience. It’s always more effective to address your CV and covering letter to a named person and is worth making a point of finding out who this is, as this may pay dividends in the future.
If you don’t get the positive response you were hoping for, try again in a couple of months, once time has moved on a little. It can pay to be persistent – circumstances can change quickly, and you need to give yourself the best chance of being in the right place at the right time.
You may be more successful by making a personal approach before sending in your CV. It is always easier to ask for advice than to ask for a job. Find out the name of the person doing the job you want to do, get in touch and ask them if you could meet them for an hour to talk about how they got their job and any advice they might have for you. From this meeting it may be a lot easier to arrange a period of work experience and hopefully a job offer. Some of the best people to approach are alumni of Stirling - after all they were in your shoes not so long ago and may be more willing to help! Use the Stirling Alumni LinkedIn group as a good starting point.
Read our information leaflets on Networking and Researching Employers
Plan your job search strategy/strategies
Larger employers will have their own recruitment department and will probably ask you to go through an online recruitment process. Find out as much as you can from their website and attend any careers-related events they may be holding. If you need to know more than you can find from either of these outlets, don’t hesitate to contact their HR department and make full use of the sessions run by the Careers and Employability Service on such topics as Assessment Centres, Interview Technique and Aptitude Tests. Look at the Events Calendar to see what's coming up.
Make the most of the graduate job fairs – a major forum for graduate employment. You can find out in advance which employers are going to be there on the day and make up your ‘hit list’ accordingly, doing your research in advance. Look at our section on making the most of Graduate Jobs Fairs for more tips.
Here are some other websites that may be helpful: