With reference to my post about the speculative application discussion in my Jobcentre Back to Work Session in December, here is a debate from MoneySavingExpert on said letters.
There's debate of the write / phone / visit issue:
Post 27 - Don't send CV's......it's no better than junk mail and gets filed accordingly. It also seems to be the 'easy answer' to job hunting. If you REALLY want a job, get your best clothes out, and come and knock on the door of people you wish to work for.
Post 28 replies - There is no right or wrong though - it is one suggestion that some will like and some won't, as is your suggestion of visiting places in person. What is proactive to someone is an irritant to another.
The author of post 27 that favours visiting adds post 31 - just do your homework on the company and pay them a visit, you have a way better chance and don't waste a fortune on stamps.
I expressed my reservations about visiting because of my own nervous body language that would likely blow my chances, post 32 says why it may not be good for the employer either - if someone came knocking at my door uninvited, interrupting what I was in the middle of and expecting me to drop everything and see them there and then at THEIR convenience, I'm afraid I'd be unlikely to view them as anything more than an irritant, regardless of whether or not they were wearing their best clothes. This poster would rather have a speculative letter because I will look through it at a time convenient to me, and with a cup of coffee to see me through. It'll probably provide quite a nice interlude in my day. If there was anything there of any interest, I'd persue it, or keep the CV on file until I needed it.
Another post from the one in favour of visiting - Sorry but getting up and going for a walk is far more pro-active than sending out a CV
countered by a very good point about premises security in post 34 - at my company you wouldn't get past security on a visit to our premises without appointment.
A lot of valid points raised in all sides showing that it is something there is no rights or wrongs about. Writing is still best for me though, and if they have an opportunity to interview then I'd at least be going with an appointment, and while I'd still have my nervousness, it wouldn't be as bad as if I turned up on spec which I just don't have the confidence to do.