How to apply for a job even if the company isn't hiring

Welcome back, economy. Companies are now hiring in a meaningful way. That’s why you should rethink what it means to look for new opportunities.

Typically, you apply for the positions you find on job boards and company websites. What if you discover a company you love but find it’s not hiring — or at least not hiring a position relevant to your skills?

Spurred on by the positive job market, you should do the unusual: apply even when there are no open positions.

First of all, what do you have to lose? Nothing. Exactly.

Second, what if your email pitch is compelling and puts you on the company’s radar? Then if the boss does need to make a hire, you come to mind. That’s the case at my own PR firm. Recently a college student introduced herself even though we had not posted any open jobs. Now the girl is high on our list once she graduates.

I created a template to “apply” for a job even if the company isn’t hiring.

You never know where a single email can lead.

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Subject line: [Your job title, for instance, “Website developer”] interested in career opportunities

Hi ______,

My name is ________, and I am a [recent grad from _____ or job title and your expertise; for instance, a “web developer who specializes in small business websites.”] I hope you’re doing well.

I realize you don’t have a job posting for a [job title; for instance, “web developer,”] but I would still like to make introductions and explore ways I can help your team on [however you can add value; for instance, “website projects.”]

I checked out the [company name’s] website and like the projects you do, in particular [name two and explain why; for instance, “the landing page for the Tampa hospital system and the e-commerce page for the rental car startup. The two sites are fresh and easy to navigate. That’s the kind of work I like to do.”]

[Then, give a little info on your experience; for instance, “For the past _____ years, I have worked with (talk about your experience so far and list examples of past clients); for instance, “various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.”]

Please see a few examples of my work down below:

– [link to examples of your work, if available; you can also attach files if it makes more sense]

– Example #2

– Example #3

[If you are a recent grad with no real-world experience, provide links to college projects, case studies, internship projects or volunteer efforts. Let the person see what you’re all about.]

I have attached my resume to the email. Please let me know if I can provide more information.

Thanks so much,


Email Signature

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Notes: In the email, prove you researched the company, link the reader to your own projects, attach your resume and ask nicely for a reply. Then, step back and see what kind of response you receive. The result might surprise you.

You can wait for opportunities to find you (you’ll be waiting a while) or you can go out and grab them. A polished email introduction to a company could lead to an interview and change the entire course of your career.

As I said, the job market is hot. No better time to take a chance than right now.

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