Initiative Job Applications

Just how useful are initiative applications anyway?
In Germany, around 30% of all jobs are acquired through applications written in response to job advertisements with the other 70% being acquired through, what could best be described as, networking and close relationships. Approximately 90% of all students entering the job market post-graduation are applying only for positions seen in job advertisements. 
These numbers alone prove that initiative applications can be quite beneficial if done correctly. A good initiative application has to be properly prepared.
When preparing an initiative job application remember the following tips:

Thorough Self-Analysis
Ask yourself; where would I like to work? In which area or job field? What skills and competencies are required to work there? What applicable skills, talents, or experience do I have which could be of interest to the potential employer?

Research
Which employers do you find interesting? What can I find out about a potential employer in advance that might help me with my decision and application? Does their company website welcome new applicants and does it spark interest in applying to work for them? (Plenty of information vs. "There are currently no positions available")

Establish Contact
How do I make first contact? How do I manage to show, in the first few minutes, how strong my interest and motivation are for the job and describe how well I fit to both the position and to the company's image? Does the conversation really inspire me to go through and apply for the position?

If these points help you come across an employer that appears interested in you, then try your luck and apply with an initative application!