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Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Is there anything that can stop companies throwing away my CV?

Plus: Beating speeding, and invitation etiquette

20 September 2014

9:00 AM

20 September 2014

9:00 AM

Q. I graduated this year (I got a first) and have written more than 70 letters to potential employers. Those who deigned to reply just sent formulaic acknowledgements and regrets. People who know me can’t believe the apathy. Everything I’ve already achieved (without parental help) is there in my CV. Volunteering, sport, my own small business… Moreover, I’ve already raised enough money by my own efforts to be able to work without being paid for six months, an offer I’ve included in all my applications. Clearly, the employers are just too busy to read my CV. If they did, they would definitely give me at least an interview. Any suggestions?
— Name and address withheld

A. Has it occurred to you that the PAs who open the post in the offices you are targeting have indeed read your CV and decided to bin it rather than pass it on? Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas so why would it be in their interest to facilitate a rival for the position they, too, are aiming for — while posing for the moment as a lowly assistant? You may be better off applying for the PA jobs yourself in the short term. Go through the human resources channel and aim low. Once your foot is in the door, you will be off.


Q. At a fundraising evening in a neighbour’s house, we hit it off with some new people. As promised, I rang to invite them to dinner. The wife accepted, but then added that if the ‘Smiths’ — the couple in whose house we had met — were not free on the same night, they would be happy to reschedule. I was taken aback, Mary, because I hadn’t been thinking of also inviting these (rather earnest) mutual neighbours. Can you reassure me that the normal protocol does not apply if you met, not as fellow guests in someone’s house, but because you had bought tickets to be there? And, if so, how can I explain my reluctance to invite our original hosts without seeming snobbish?
— Name and address withheld

A. You are correct. There is no need to invite the fundraisers. However, why not donate to the fund in question an extra 10 per cent on top of what you spent on the tickets? You can then explain to the new people that, since finding out that etiquette did not require the busy fundraisers to attend your own dinner, you have instead donated an extra sum to their charity as a gesture of thanks for having brought you together.

Q. I live in a remote area, but cars come fairly regularly along our lane. How can I encourage them to go at a safer speed?
— Name and address withheld

A. Buy some brightly coloured plastic toys, such as steam engines or miniature wheelbarrows, and scatter them on the verges. The sight of these toys will bring dozy motorists to their senses and slow them down.


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