Candidate Tips & Advice

Don't Send Your CV To A Stranger!

  • february 23,2015
  • Dave Rigby
  • Improving Your Chances Of Getting A Job!

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There are many job hunters out there keen to get a foot on the ladder with an employer they really want to work for.  It might seem like the only way to be noticed by that employer is to send a speculative CV in, with the hope you'll be noticed, simply because:

  • The employer doesn't advertise jobs externally
  • They recruit only through word of mouth / referrals from current employees
  • You don't know where they advertise their jobs, or
  • They recruit for all their jobs through agencies, and you get nowhere with agencies

Dealing with speculative CVs can be resource-intensive for employers, especially large businesses and well known brand names.  Employers can take a number of different approaches to these, depending on their recruitment processes or resource they commit to recruitment, including:

  • Putting all speculative CVs in the shredder / trash folder, with possibly a polite acknowledgement that they received your CV, but won't do anything with it
  • Writing back to you to confirm they don't retain CVs sent to them, but letting you know how / when you might be able to apply for a job
  • Keep your CV in a file, for a specified period, with hundreds of others, in case something suitable comes up 
  • Sending your CV onto internal managers who might want to see you 

You could of course be invited in for an interview immediately, and offered your dream job. However, we don't think there's a high chance of that. 

So, what to do?  

The aim for candidates in recruitment is to be noticed and remembered for the right reasons.  This is why we believe you need to take a different approach when you're sending your CV in to an employer without responding to a vacancy advert.  Instead of sending your CV in to a total stranger, or to the 'HR Team', here's what we suggest: 

  1. Do your research - find out, if you can, who it is you would want to work for in the company, be that the operations manager, admin team leader or call centre manager.  There are so many ways to find out who you could talk to, i.e. who would have an influential role in the recruitment process for the job you want.  If you can't find a name on the company website, have a look on LinkedIn or even call the company or site switchboard number to see if they'll help point you in the right direction.
  2. Once you've found out who you need to talk to, give them a ring! Yes we know, this takes some courage as you're effectively cold calling, but you've a great reason to call! Then, once you've managed to get through, you've got the chance to be noticed and remembered.

What to talk about... 

You've now got to have a conversation with them, avoiding the phrase 'can I have a job please?' or something similar. 

We'd suggest you initially explain that you are in the market for a career move, and are really keen to work for the company in their team, but you are looking to learn some more about the work / job requirements / skills needed etc.  That should help break the ice, before you can then move on to some relevant questions, some of which we have suggested below:

  • Ask how regularly jobs come up in their team
  • Ask about the sort of work the team do, the size of the team, and the skills they expect their staff to have 
  • Clarify any qualifications needed for the jobs within the team
  • Ask how the Company help support staff in their own professional and personal development 
  • Find out how they normally recruit for staff

All of this is about building a relationship with your potential new employer / manager.  We aren't saying they will offer you a job, but as a starting point, they will then start to know you and your name. Plus, you've now got an advantage over potential other applicants because you've been able to gain a further insight into the company / team / work. 

Once you've managed to have a positive conversation, why not ask if your new contact would take a look at your CV? Not with a view to offering you a job, but to see if you'd be suitable for a job should one come up, or where your skills are lacking. Feedback is always important, and feedback in these circumstances gives you the chance to act and improve your employability by enhancing your CV! It's a win-win situation! 

If you manage to send your CV in, great! And if you receive some feedback, even better - make sure you act on it to improve your chances. 

And then what? 

So, you've made contact, had a chat, and maybe even received feedback on your CV. What next? 

Here's where you make sure you keep in touch with your new contact.  Don't call every week, but maybe every couple of months - make them remember you, have a friendly chat, find out what's happening in their world of work, and what's coming up job-wise.  Connect on LinkedIn if you can. And, if you think it might work, see if you can organise a quick coffee / meeting. 

Ultimately, you want them to think about you when a job is coming up. Having a professional relationship with them will go a long way to helping you get the job you want, in the company you want to work for. Hopefully, now they know you, they'll think of you when a job is coming up. 

They might just tell you to apply like everyone else, or they might invite you to interview. Either way, you've boosted your chances already! 



If you're on the lookout for a job, why not have a quick search here!