Speculative CV Example and How to Write (10+ Templates)

There’s no denying that sending out speculative CVs is a bold move. The amount of effort you have to invest is pretty high, but the potential pay-off is well worth it. A speculative CV is the key part in a speculative job application—an application you send without waiting for a job opening to be advertised.

 

Speculative applications can have a surprisingly high success rate in many industries, especially in media- and design-related areas. Even if the chances of success aren’t quite as high in your field, it’s still often a case of ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’. But how do you go about rolling the dice?

 

This article will walk you through the process of writing a speculative CV, from go to woah. You’ll learn how to craft a laser-focused speculative CV that’s got your dream job in its sights.

 

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Speculative CV example 

 

George Harvey

070 5555 5555

george.h.harvey@lcmail.co.uk

linkedin.com/in/georgeharvey

 

Personal statement

 

Dynamic, success-driven business manager with 5+ years’ experience in management and leadership roles in training delivery and entrepreneurial spaces. Recently unlocked 3 new revenue streams for Righton Group, using only its existing assets and bringing in over £70,000 profit annually. Seeking opportunity to bring proven entrepreneurial skills to bear in helping Aika International meet and exceed its business goals.

 

Work experience

 

Business Manager

Righton Group, Kent

February 2017—present

  • Cooperated with external stakeholders to secure an £8.5 million investment contract with a third party.
  • Led a massive drive for new business that finished its first stage with 15 new contracts being signed and a database of over 500 potential new B2B clients throughout the country.
  • Renegotiated terms of cooperation with Righton Group’s overseas partner to include a 15% expansion of operating territory.

 

Production Manager

Gregory’s Training, Kent

May 2015—January 2017

  • Maintained 100% on-time delivery on a complex and uneven production schedule.
  • Oversaw the production of over 10,000 pages of scripts and presentations.
  • Sourced and hired 7 voice-over actors working in 3 different languages.
  • Coordinated 3 production functions across 4 multi-lingual teams.

 

Education

 

BSc (Hons) Management (2:1), 2011–2014

University of Kent, Canterbury

 

A-levels: Business Studies, English, History, 2008–2010

The Canterbury High School, Kent

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English), 2006–2008

The Canterbury High School, Kent

 

Skills

 

  • Leadership: overcame low morale and motivation levels within teams to ramp up productivity and dampen staff turnover
  • Interpersonal skills: entered into many new partnerships and attracted several new clients through series of semi-formal business meetings
  • Business networking: capitalised on pre-existing contacts and exploited ready-made business networks like, e.g., chambers of commerce
  • Software: advanced user of spreadsheets (LibreOffice and MS Office), including pivot tables and macros
  • Negotiation: demonstrated confidence in high-stakes negotiation scenarios, including those surrounding issues with multi-million pound, long-term consequences

 

Languages

 

  • Polish — intermediate
  • French — B2

 

Hobbies

 

  • Taking part in long-term stock-trading simulations/competitions

 

Now here’s how to write a speculative CV:

 

1. Start your speculative CV with personal statement

 

By sending out a speculative CV you’re putting a document in front of someone that they neither asked for nor expected to receive. You’d better grab and hold their attention quickly, or they’ll move on with their busy day and forget about you and your CV. Your personal statement will be the first thing they read.

 

Use it to make the right kind of impression, and fast. A good personal statement does three basic things:

  • Introduces you as an employee—your position, experience, and attributes
  • Shows what you have to offer the company—based on your past achievements
  • Describes your goals, which just happen to mesh perfectly with the company’s goals.

 

You’ll need to do a bit of research to know what will be attractive to a given company and what its goals are. Your best source of information here will be its website, especially the ‘about us’ section, which will often include its mission and values. Get a feel for the corporate culture while you’re at it.

 

There’s good and there’s bad news when it comes sending out speculative CVs. The bad news is that you’ll have to write a new personal statement for each and every CV you send. The good news is that it’s much easier than it might seem. All you need to do is write 3–4 sentences, about 50–150 words.

 

Use the following questions to guide your writing—aim to answer them all in your 3–4 sentences:

  • Who are you (as a worker), and what’s your experience?
  • What industries/fields/niches are you experienced in working?
  • What’s your most impressive/relevant work achievement?
  • (Optional) What’s your most unique achievement?
  • What are you hoping to be able to achieve in this job? (Always for your employer, never yourself).

 

Even though it comes first in your CV, it’s much better if you write your personal statement last, or at least after you’ve prepared your job descriptions (i.e. achievements). The whole process will be much simpler since you’ll have all the ingredients ready to go. So keep it in mind and come back later.

 

How to start a speculative CV

 

Dynamic, success-driven business manager with 5+ years’ experience in management and leadership roles in training delivery and entrepreneurial spaces. Recently unlocked 3 new revenue streams for Righton Group, using only its existing assets and bringing in over £70,000 profit annually. Seeking opportunity to bring proven entrepreneurial skills to bear in helping Aika International meet and exceed its business goals.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

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2. Write winning job descriptions for your speculative CV

 

This is the point at which you’ll need to choose the right CV format for you. There are three major CV formats to choose from:

  • Chronological (which is actually reverse-chronological)
  • Skills-based (otherwise known as functional)
  • Combination (otherwise known as hybrid, a combination of the first two).

 

There’s also an academic CV format for academic teaching and research jobs. It’s basically an expanded chronological format, though.

 

Each of the above CV formats puts emphasis on something else:

  • A chronological format emphasises experience
  • A functional format emphasises skills
  • A hybrid format, like you might expect, covers both more equally.

 

A skills-based format is a great choice for creatives, many freelancers, and people transitioning from military service to civilian employment. A combination format is a better fit for people who are changing careers or who have significant gaps in their employment. But think twice before choosing either.

 

By far the most common CV format is the chronological format, with its focus on work experience and general overview of skills. This is the default format, it’s what employers and recruiters expect to see and it’s most easily parsed by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs). Chances are it’s for you.

 

This guide will continue on the assumption that you’re writing a speculative CV using a chronological format. The work experience and skills sections will look quite different in a skills-based or combination speculative CV. Everything else will be very similar.

 

The key to writing impressive, compelling job descriptions is to forget about listing duties and responsibilities and to instead focus on achievements. Achievements describe the measurable benefits that your employer gleaned from your actions and initiative. They’re backed up by facts and figures.

 

Use accomplishment statements to formulate your job-description bullet points. Start each bullet point with a dynamic verb like ‘organised,’ ‘reduced,’ or ‘negotiated.’ Describe an action you took at work (perhaps as part of a project or in response to a problem) and the benefits that flowed to your employer.

 

Starting with your current or most recent job, use the following template to create a subheading for each job:

 

[Job Title]

[Company Name, Location]

[Dates of Employment]

 

Then add up to six achievements under each subheading, in bullet-point form.

 

If you have little or no relevant experience, then focus on any internships, placement work or volunteer work you’ve done. If you have no relevant work experience at all, then put this section after your education section and consider writing a student CV instead—it can be adapted to a speculative CV.

 

Speculative CV job description

Business Manager

Righton Group, Kent

February 2017—present

  • Cooperated with external stakeholders to secure an £8.5 million investment contract with a third party.
  • Led a massive drive for new business that finished its first stage with 15 new contracts being signed and a database of over 500 potential new B2B clients throughout the country.
  • Renegotiated terms of cooperation with Righton Group’s overseas partner to include a 15% expansion of operating territory.

 

Production Manager

Gregory’s Training, Kent

May 2015—January 2017

  • Maintained 100% on-time delivery on a complex and uneven production schedule.
  • Oversaw the production of over 10,000 pages of scripts and presentations.
  • Sourced and hired 7 voice-over actors working in 3 different languages.
  • Coordinated 3 production functions across 4 multi-lingual teams.

 

3. Add a clear and concise education section to your speculative CV

 

Education requirements differ from industry to industry, but an education section is almost always required. Keep this section brief and on-point. Don’t list grades or any other superfluous details. Start from your most recent qualifications. There’s no need to mention high school if you have a university degree.

 

Use the following template for both university degrees and other tertiary qualifications, like NVQs:

 

[Degree Type] [Degree Name](Degree Class)

[Institution Name], [Institution Location], [Years Attended]

 

Include an expected graduation date if you’re currently studying. If you don’t have a university degree, then use the following templates to detail your high school education:

 

A-levels: [Subject Name 1], [Subject Name 2], [Subject Name 3]

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

[n] GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

[School Name], [School Location], [Years Attended]

 

where n is the number of GCSEs you completed.

 

Speculative CV education section example

 

BSc (Hons) Management (2:1)

University of Kent, Canterbury, 2011–2014

 

A-levels: Business Studies, English, History

The Canterbury High School, Kent, 2008–2010

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English)

The Canterbury High School School, Kent, 2006–2008

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Showcase your skills in your speculative CV

 

Ultimately, the most important indicator of how much value you’ll bring to a given company is your skill-set. Your experience (the sum of your achievements) is really just an indication of your underlying skills. Fill in the picture further by including a carefully curated list of skills in your speculative CV.

 

First, make a master list of all your skills. Create a new document and list all the relevant work skills you can think of. Add a sentence to each skill that describes how you’ve demonstrated that skill. If you can’t do this for a given skill, then it drops off your list. Include only that which you can back up.

 

Save this master file and keep it for future speculative CVs and regular job applications. Now all you need to do is copy 5–10 relevant skills from this list into your speculative CV. But wait a minute, how will you know which skills are relevant to this particular job when there’s no job advert to refer to?

 

This is another section for which you’ll have to do some background research on the company to which you’re applying. Once again, trawl its website looking for hints. You might get lucky and come across old or archived job offerings. Otherwise, you might have to read between the lines or try cross-referencing LinkedIn. You can also check job postings from similar companies.

 

Speculative CV skills sample

 

  • Leadership: overcame low morale and motivation levels within teams to ramp up productivity and dampen staff turnover.
  • Interpersonal skills: entered into many new partnerships and attracted several new clients through series of semi-formal business meetings.
  • Business networking: capitalised on pre-existing contacts and exploited ready-made business networks like, e.g., chambers of commerce.
  • Software: advanced user of spreadsheets (LibreOffice and MS Office), including Pivot Tables and Macros.
  • Negotiation: demonstrated confidence in high-stakes negotiation scenarios, including those surrounding issues with multi-million pound long-term consequences.

 

5. Supercharge your speculative CV by adding extra sections

 

The purpose behind your speculative CV is to present as full a picture of you as an employee in as compact a form as possible. Round out your CV and complete this picture by adding extra sections. You could add sections on:

  • Any additional qualifications you have
  • Awards or accolades you’ve received
  • Freelance work (perhaps in a related but separate field)
  • Publications
  • Conferences
  • Even hobbies (as long as they’re relevant).

 

Speculative CV additional sections sample

 

Languages

 

  • Polish – intermediate
  • French – B2

 

Hobbies

 

  • Taking part in long-term stock-trading simulations/competitions

 

6. Complete your application with a speculative cover letter

 

Sending out your speculative CV without a cover letter would be poor form, to say the least. Not only would it be extremely unlikely to get you a response, it’d leave a negative impression of you overall. Always send your speculative CV out with an appropriately tailored speculative cover letter.

 

A good speculative cover letter will follow the standard UK business letter format, which means that it’ll include:

  • A properly laid-out header
  • An appropriate salutation
  • The main body of your cover letter
  • A sign-off that matches the salutation.

 

The body of a compelling speculative cover letter will be made up of three main parts:

  • An attention-grabbing opening (60–80 words)
  • An impressive showcase of your achievements (120–200 words)
  • A neat wrap-up and a confident call to action (40–60 words).

 

All this should leave you with a cover letter that’s between half an A4 page and a full A4 page long, about 250–400 words in total.

 

7. Keep these things in mind before sending your speculative CV

 

  • Make your contact details clear and leave them where there’ll be easy to find, near the top of your speculative CV.
  • Use subheadings, bullet points, and plenty of white space to make your CV as reader-friendly as possible.
  • There’s no shortage of research on font types and their effect on readability. Choose something understated and professional. Noto, Garamond, Arial, Liberation, and Calibri are all good options. If in doubt, stay with the default. 
  • Save or export your speculative CV and cover letter in PDF—it’ll preserve your formatting and help stave off disaster.
  • No one asked for your speculative CV, it’s no one’s job or obligation to read it. So keep it short: one page maximum, two pages if you have over 20 years of amazingly relevant work experience.
  • Go over your work with a fine-tooth comb, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes. Use built-in spellcheckers, an app, web app or anything else that can help you. Enlist the help of a family-member or friend—they’ll see things you missed, that’s just how that works.
  • If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, follow up with a quick email or phone call. Don’t overdo this and harass the company to give you a response, though—remember, you sent in an unsolicited application, they owe you nothing.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now

 

I hope this article has helped you take the brave but potentially rewarding step of sending out a speculative CV – it really can be the road to your dream job. Please leave any questions, comments or experiences or advice you’d like to share in the comments section below.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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