Application : take me!

You can wait for the perfect job posting. You can also apply on your own initiative. The chances of success are better than ever.

Anna Matschke* already knew during her studies of economics where she would like to work later on: at the Berlin agency "dan pearlman". She had gotten to know the internationally active company at an open day and learned to appreciate the open, creative corporate culture. So Matschke sent an unsolicited application there while she was still a student. A few days later she had the employment contract in her pocket. In September 2016, she started her job in controlling.

You can wait until the perfect job ad appears on the website at the company of your choice. Or they apply to other companies that advertise jobs and are only second or third choice. However, you can also apply unsolicited where you would like to work the most. Such "speculative applications" are more promising than ever before. Because in times of a shortage of skilled workers, companies are looking for good employees. Applicants with potential come just in time. Even if a suitable position is not immediately available, something might come up in six or twelve months’ time. In addition, a great advantage for unsolicited applicants: Since they do not respond to a specific job advertisement, there are only a few competitors.

Every third application comes unsolicited

"Companies are starting to create candidate pools," says application coach Christina Panhoff. "You are trying to connect with as many potential employees as possible."The human resources manager at dan pearlman, Stefanie Ammon, confirms this: "We are open to unsolicited applications. And we also get quite a few." About one third of all applications were received unsolicited. If they seem promising at first sight, the heads of department will also take a look at the letters. Ammon calls for this the responsible persons every few weeks to "screening dates" to itself into the office.

And time and again, both sides benefit: Anna Matschke is one of many applicants who have been rewarded for their courage with an interesting position. Vice versa, the company is happy about the committed newcomer.

You might think that unsolicited applications are outdated in times of standardized application processes. Ammon isn’t the only one who disagrees: "In our company, the hiring process is done by hand," she says. "We really deal with the letters."

Corporations prefer the standard application

The Berlin application trainer Panhoff also recommends job seekers to apply blindly. Most companies are happy to receive unsolicited applications. Only very few companies would be rather critical of your own initiative. Most of them are companies, for example from the automotive industry, for whom such measures are too costly to fill positions. Panhoff’s tip: The interested party should check the employer’s career website for more information. If it says you should apply for advertised positions, unsolicited applications tend to get little response there.

The speculative application makes the most sense if you have identified an employer of your choice, for example because it is family-friendly, operates internationally or you can well imagine working on its product. Matschke wanted to work at dan pearlman because she thought the agency was "open, creative and smart.

In order to have a chance of success, a speculative application must be tailored to the company being contacted. Applicants should indicate that they know about the company or job they are interested in. And they should clearly formulate in the cover letter why they want to work in this company in particular. However, they should not do this in the form of a page-long essay. "I want to get a quick overview of the application, get a quick impression," says HR specialist Ammon. An extremely elaborate application would be rather counterproductive. More important is "good readability and good sorting of documents," she says.

The cover letter belongs in the e-mail

For these reasons, an analog application folder is also not advisable. Personnel decision-makers prefer the electronic way. "The best thing is to formulate the cover letter in the email and attach a PDF with the other documents such as resume and references," advises Berlin-based trainer Panhoff. It is also very important in the cover letter that it is addressed directly to the responsible employee in the personnel department. Whoever addresses "Dear Sir or Madam" can expect to be sorted out. A speculative application is not a mass mailing, even if you contact ten or 15 companies.

You will therefore not be able to write such an application in a hurry. But the effort can pay off. After almost two years at the agency, Anna Matschke is still glad that she dared to simply apply there.

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