Is it worth spending your time on unsolicited applications?

This is your moment to be razor-sharp.
You may decide to write an unsolicited application to the company of your dreams. This type of application needs to be focused, and it might prove harder to write, since you do not have an advertisement to go by. Thus you need to be crystal clear about the qualifications you have which you believe will benefit the corporation in question. You need to search the company website, speak with HR officers and one of the professional specialists, so you become familiar with their corporate culture. Know that it will take many tries to reach the correct people over the phone. Search Google and LinkedIn for information on how others view the company and how they view themselves. If you do not call them before mailing the application, let them know that you will be calling them one week after receiving the application.

  • Use the same vocabulary as the company uses on their website, to match your skills with the job you are hoping to get.
  • Avoid clichés such as “I have a broad range of experiences”. Instead write down what you actually mean: specific professional qualifications, IT skills, relevant student jobs, and details about papers and projects that can be argued as relevant for the company.
  • Keep your unsolicited application to one page as both HR officers and professional specialists are busy people – even consider which e-mail address to use. Write in impeccable Danish – or English if that is the procedural language of the company. Eliminate all spelling errors.
  • Mention it if you know people employed by the company. Are there some named people who called your attention to the company? Why do you find this particular company interesting? Substantiate and answer these questions as to not waste their time.
  • Your application needs to answer the following questions: Why should they hire you? How can you contribute knowledge?
  • Look at previous job advertisements. Some places of business specifically write that they are open to unsolicited applications – for instance, Region Midtjylland states: “We welcome unsolicited applications”, but MAN Diesel & Turbo have made it public that they are not hiring at the moment (November, 2016), so accept that unsolicited applications will not be addressed.

Be careful not to disappear in the crowd.
Business manager at Capax, Jeanette ­Rasmussen is not a firm believer in the ­unsolicited application. Most graduates want to take the opportunity to apply for jobs with large, popular companies. ­However, she finds that these are usually ­already laden with applicants and never need to search their database for a can­didate.

Many HR departments have been down-sized and the recruitment tasks have been reorganized to contain screenings, Skype interviews or cases mailed directly to you.

“The smaller the company, the easier it is to talk to the boss,” says Jeanette Rasmussen, who believes far more in networking if you want to become part of the team in a particular company. “You need to systematically tend to your network, attend coffee meetings, attract people to your LinkedIn profile and other such things. Call them if you come across an exciting job advertisement and ask them what is needed for you to work for them later in your career,” Jeanette suggests and emphasizes that you need to make yourself visible by attending all sorts of arrangements. This could be graduate camps, DSE fairs and focus nights. “Otherwise you will disappear in the crowd,” she finishes.

  • Before applying, ask yourself: Do I know of anyone in the company who can push my application? Do I have the will power to call them to follow up on the application? Am I sufficiently motivated?
  • The databases of many companies are not equipped to store unsolicited applications.
  • Several larger corporations do not wish to keep unsolicited applications for the fear of gaining a bad reputation amongst candidates. Accept that a company is not interested in receiving unsolicited applications if they say so on their website.
  • Unsolicited applications require a large amount of research – could that time be spent more sensibly on other companies or contacts?
  • Unsolicited applications require knowledge and insight into the business in order for you to cover an existing need that no one else can cover. Stay updated by reading Børsen, Berlingskes or Jyllands Postens
  • Timing. The unsolicited application needs to end up on the desk of your relevant contact and not just be sent via mail or to the HR department. You MUST meet the demand of a specific department, or the unsolicited application may be regarded as spam and could potentially hurt your candidature in the long run.