Unsolicited applications

Get started with your unsolicited job search. Find advice and tips on how to find and approach companies and how to write a good unsolicited application.

Perhaps as many as 50% of jobs in Denmark are filled without the position ever being posted somewhere. Instead, jobs are filled either through people’s network or unsolicited applications. Unsolicited applications can be especially useful if you are interested in working in Denmark.


A lot of our members find jobs by sending an unsolicited application, or because they know someone who know someone. Applying unsolicited has the benefit of showing a potential employer that you are interested enough in their firm to take the initiative to contact them. For firms, hiring someone who applies unsolicited can save them the hassle and expense of posting a job, reviewing applications and conducting interviews.

Applying unsolicited has a number of other advantages for you:

  • You can choose which competencies you want to highlight, and define what job it is you would like to do for the company.
  • You are the only person in the applicant field.
  • You display your motivation and your ability to take initiative.
  • You can contact several companies in a short span of time.

Applying unsolicited can have some challenges that are good to be aware of, however:

  • You’re contacting an employer at a time when they aren’t actively looking for someone new; in that situation, your application needs to be strong enough to attract and hold their attention.
  • You have to tell the company what you can do, without really knowing what it is they need.
  • You have to apply at a time when the company is ready to hire someone with the skills you possess.
  • It’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t have a plan.

Some people find that the most difficult part of the job search is to contact an employer unsolicited. For others, the challenge is identifying employers they can contact. Either way, applying unsolicited doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow our advice.

Be specific

A good unsolicited application looks a lot like an ordinary application, and the advice is the same: be specific and show the firm how it will benefit from your competencies.

While sending an unsolicited application isn’t being pushy, you are asking a potential employer to spend time on you. Before you do that, you’d be wise to do a little research into the firm: what is its profile? What challenges is it facing? Look at what’s been written about the firm in the press and on social media. Doing so will allow you to display your interest in the firm while also giving you the chance to get an impression of what working there is like and what job you might be able to create for yourself there.

The first step is research

The first step when applying for jobs unsolicited is to research the market. In order to come up with a list of potential employers, you need to map out firms and organisations that are a match for your competencies and your wishes.

Useful information to gather includes things like the company’s industry, its customers, competitors, strategy, finances, mission, culture, values and the challenges it faces. Use old job postings to get an idea of the kinds of positions it previously has sought to fill. At the same time, you can see what competencies and type of experience it has prioritised. Other sources of information include the company website, its LinkedIn profile, Google and your network. You can also contact the company directly to find out more about it.

The type of information you’ll need to gather depends on the type of position you are applying for. If you want to work in communication, for example, it’s a good idea to look at company websites and social-media activity you find interesting. What and how these companies communicate could be useful in your job search.

It is also important that you describe the specific competencies and experiences you can offer, as well as the types of tasks you performed in past jobs, and how you can create value for the company.

Finding the firm you want to work for

If you are interested in working in Denmark, there are several ways to search for companies that are attractive workplaces.

Start by checking to see if any of your LinkedIn connections – or connections’ connections – work for the firm you are interested in. Reach out to them to find out about the organisation and what the firm’s needs are right now.

Or try doing a search using keywords that relate to the field or fields you want to work with – “business intelligence”, for example – so you can come up with a list of companies doing business in areas that interest you.

Du kan også søge på ord, der beskriver det eller de områder, du vil arbejde med og derved sortere i relevante virksomheder. Det kan eksempelvis være business intelligence. På den måde finder du frem til virksomheder, der beskæftiger sig med et område, der er interessant for dig.

Have a look at firms that you’ve had dealings with (suppliers, clients, consultants) in previous jobs.

If you’ve applied for a job opening, you probably did a lot of legwork to learn as much as you could about the firm and its industry. Why not reuse that information and apply for a job at the firm’s competitors? If one company has a specific need, it’s likely others in the same industry have the same need.

If the company has previously had an opening for a position similar to the type of job you are looking for, use the posting for it as inspiration for your unsolicited application. Have a look at the job description, the types of responsibilities and the employer’s expectations described in the posting and use that information when deciding which of your own experiences and competencies you should highlight. It is very likely that the company will still have the same needs.

Another way to find out what competencies firms are looking for at the moment is to go through old job postings on jobunivers.dk or jobindex.dk

Search broadly

Don’t limit yourself to a single firm. The research you do for your application for one firm also likely applies to other firms in the industry. Make your work go further by putting what you’ve learned about the industry to use in applications to similar firms.

You can use BIQ, Google or LinkedIn to find related firms. On Novo Nordisk’s LinkedIn profile, for example, a list of similar firms appears to the first right.

Choose your strategy

It’s a good idea to call a firm you are interested in sending an unsolicited application if you have questions that you can’t get answered anyplace else. Calling a firm out of the blue can be daunting. There are various approaches you can take.

Being short and to the point, saying something like, Hello, my name is … . I’m interested in working for your firm. Would it be okay if I sent you my CV? This is efficient, but the drawback is that you can’t ask questions that could give you information you can use when you write your cover letter or adjust your CV. The person you speak with isn’t always going to be the person responsible for hiring. If you send them an application, there is a good chance it won’t go any further.

In this approach,  you call the firm and ask for the person responsible for hiring people with your competencies. When you get through to that person, before you start your pitch, ask whether it’s a good time. If not, try to set up a time when you can call them back. 

If it is a good time to talk, try something like: Hello, my name is … . I just completed my degree in … and am looking for my first job. I’ve heard a number of good things about your firm from … and I was hoping to speak with you about possibly working for you. Do you have a moment to speak with me?

Have some questions prepared. Good things to ask about are:

  • the firm’s / department’s needs right now
  • what kind of profiles new employees typically have


Conclude by asking whether it would be okay if you sent an unsolicited application.

If the person says no, ask if there is another department that might be interested.

Doing it this way gives you much more information about the firm, which you can use when you write your cover letter or to adjust your CV. It also puts you in direct contact with the individual who would be responsible for hiring you and allows you to display your interest. Both are good ways to make sure your application gets read.

Find out if you have someone in your network who knows the company. You can do this on LinkedIn, for example, by searching for the firm you’re interested in. LinkedIn shows you how you and the firm are connected. Knowing someone who is or has been employed there could be a way for you to find out more about it and the person you would like to get in touch with.

With the network-based strategy, you can get information about the person you want to talk to. If you’re lucky, someone in your network will be able to put in a good word for you before you yourself contact your potential future boss.

Whichever model you choose, drop any pretences and surrender control. When you call, you are contacting someone at your own initiative. You can’t force or persuade them to talk to you or to give you a job. If your initial pitch is sharp enough and the company sees a value in continuing the conversation, then it continues. If the company experiences the opposite and doesn’t feel there is a match, you can still end the conversation with your dignity intact.

This approach is an extension of the thorough approach, and it is approached in the same way. If you’ve established a good rapport with the person you get through to, ask even more questions such as:

  • Are you busy? With what?
  • Do you have work you need to turn away? Why?
  • What challenges does your company expect to face in the next few months?
  • Where is your company going to be in a year? What are you doing to make sure this happens?
  • What sort of positions are you hiring for?
  • Do you expect to be looking to hire someone with my profile in the near future?
  • Which professional and personal competencies do you prioritise?
  • Do you have any good advice for someone who would like to get their start in your industry?

Employing this strategy will give you information that you can use to tailor your application to the firm and to other firms in the industry.

Instead of starting by calling the firm, you can send your CV first. Send your CV in an e-mail to a relevant recipient. In the e-mail itself, write a message that explains exactly why you are contacting the recipient. Include things like:

  • Your background, your experiences and your degree
  • Your reason for contacting this firm specifically
  • The role (or roles) you see yourself playing for the company

Don’t let the message get too long; keep it short and to the point. You are contacting them out of the blue, and your goal should be to attract the recipient’s interest right off the bat. Finish your e-mail by telling the recipient that your CV is attached and that you will call within a certain number of days.

When you call, say something along the lines of:

“Hi, my name is xx. I sent you an e-mail on Monday with my CV. Have you had the opportunity to read it?”

If the answer is “yes”, then ask:

“Do you have anything available for someone with my profile?”

If the person hasn’t had the opportunity to read your e-mail, ask:

“Okay, when can I call you again?”

There may be several good reasons why the person isn’t interested in talking to you. If this is the case, ask if they know someone else it would be worthwhile for you to speak with.

In this approach, your CV serves as the initial reference point for the conversation. If the person has read your e-mail, they will be prepared for you to call and may have already considered what might be relevant to discuss with you. In this approach, the biggest challenge may be finding an e-mail address for someone who can discuss job opportunities.

If you choose to do it this way, be prepared to answer questions. The person you speak with may ask you why you are interested, what your background is, what your strong suits are, what you can contribute in the job etc.


Pulling together an unsolicited job application

When you apply for a job unsolicited, you need to give a potential employer a clear picture of how hiring you would benefit the company. Do this by finding out information about the company that you can use in your application: information about the industry in general, its clients and competitors, strategy, financial situation, mission, culture, values and any challenges the company may be facing at the moment. Use old job postings to get an idea of the types of jobs the company has hired for in the past, as well as the types of competencies the company prioritises. The company website can be a good source of information, as can its LinkedIn profile. Search Google, ask people in your network or contact the company directly if you have any questions.

The things you will need to find out more about will depend on the type of job you are applying for. If you work in communications, you would probably be interested in learning more about the company’s branding and communications strategies. Have a look at its website and its social-media activity. Find out what has been written about the company in the press.

Doing your homework about the company makes it possible for you to put together an application that speaks to its needs. Your cover letter should explain how your competencies and your experience can benefit the company. You should explain what it is you can do and how you can use your skills to create value for the company.

Example of an unsolicited application:

To catch the interest of the recipient, state very clearly why you are applying. Some of the ways you can do this are by writing:

  • Why you are a good hire: why are you sending your application to this person and what is it you can contribute with?
  • What your competencies are: what can you do and how is it relevant to the company?
  • A conclusion that suggests meeting over coffee or that lets the recipient know that you will follow up by e-mail or telephone.
  • And include a CV that specifically addresses the company’s needs.

The sample cover letter below from a recent graduate provides an example of how this can be done.

Dear [Name]

I am contacting you because your company has an interesting product line that I would like to market. Personally, sustainability is important for me, and your focus on the climate and climate-change mitigation appeals to me.

I hold a master’s in economics and business administration. During my studies, I specialised in business strategy and marketing analysis. I could see myself working for you in a corporate-development role or something similar.

Through my work experience and my coursework at university, I have practical and theoretical experience with:

  • business intelligence / data analysis
  • market, product and client analysis
  • -various BI tools, including X, Y and Z
  • project work
  • X industry
  • strategy and communication
  • recent research into strategy and business

The types of functions I can perform include: optimisation and structuring of business processes, project work and preparation, analysis and application of business intelligence.

One relevant assignment I would like to highlight is a project I participated in that involved designing and building a BI solution that provided visualisation in the form of dashboards.

I rely on my analytical and data-oriented approach to business, strategy and customer service to create results. In my work, I typically find myself in detail-oriented roles in which I am responsible for driving projects forward. I like to see my assignments through to completion. Milestones, intermediate goals and deadlines help me to accomplish this.

My CV is attached so you can learn more about me, my background and my experience. I am aware that you must comply with the GDPR, and I give you my consent in advance to process my personal information in connection with my request / application.

I will follow up on my inquiry within a week in the event I don’t hear from you before.

Yours sincerely


We recommend e-mailing unsolicited applications directly to someone you’ve spoken with ahead of time. If you weren’t able to get the name and e-mail address of a specific person, you can send it to the company’s HR department. Remember that the GDPR requires companies to obtain your permission before they can process your data. You can give your permission in advance when you send your application.