Monday, October 01, 2007

Sunday 30th September 2007

Applications: 2 Rejections: 1

I had an idea last night.

OK, it may have been influenced by Messrs Holsten, Pils and Cavalieri, but it was a seed. I am 34 years old, and employed as a property manager for a Basildon based property management company. It is all glitz and glamour here.

I was leafing through the Guardian wrok section.

It came to me.

I am going to apply for every single job in the newspaper.

I sent a text message to Simon. Simon is also employed as a property manager for the same Basildon based property management company. I expected to be met with dubious concern for a ridiculous idea but received the reply:

"That is a brilliant idea. Put me as your reference."

And so it starts.

The front page of Guardian Work promises 100s of jobs including: Management, General, HR, Retail, Sales, Marketing & PR, Creative & Media, New Media (what is that all about?), Secretarial, IT & T (what is the second t for?), Courses, Education, Social Care, Public, and Tenders. I can surely do all of these things.

So the first job. It's for the NHS:

"You can go to work, or come to life"

Brilliant. I like life.

"Here in the NHS, we bring commissioning to life every day. [what!?] Because it's not just about the numbers or the services or increasing efficiency. It's about all of this and more: we see improved commissioning as integral to better funding and delivery of public services. So, the bottom line is, in an organisation that employs 1.3 million people, has an operating budget of £90 billion and is the largest of any kind in Europe, commissioning roles here are vital to life itself.

Gateway to leadership programme

It's not work, it's life"

Fantastic! The first job is not even work, it's life, apparently. I can do that, I can live. This is definitely the job for me. I need to go to their website and apply online, so here goes.

Commissioning. It really can't be that hard. My partner, Nicky is an art teacher at a local comprehensive school. She was once commissioned by a friend of ours to draw a picture for her flat. All she had to do was say, "Nicky, can you do me a drawing for my front room?" Simple. I can do this.

The website has a meet Gateway alumni section, so I thought I would see what kind of person commissions for the NHS.

Joe Gibson: Director for the Strategy and Implementation for the NHS in East Lancashire.

Apparently Joe is ex-RAF. He is responsible for the direction of various projects. These projects will 'reconfigure health and social care across the region and will deliver a 21st century health care for East Lancashire'. This is all good. I like health care, and I also like the 21st century.

Joe also is an aficionado of Shrewsbury Town Football Club, swimming and skiing. To relax he enjoys walking in the hills of Shropshire, gardening and classical music. I like Joe. I think that I could work with him and possibly discuss viburnums and gladioli.

You have to apply online and they need a user ID name*. Hmm, the first challenge. How about guardianwork? Apparently there is pre-screening to see if I am eligible to complete the application form. What?!?

I logged in and got through to the Pre-Screening section.

Which area of the gateway to leadership programme are you interested in? *
Do you have a level of educational attainment that is at or above Bachelors degree level (Second class Honours), OR equivalent? *
Do you have 4 or more years (or equivalent) senior management experience? *
Do you have experience in leading, managing and developing at a senior level? *
Do you have experience at a senior level of working within a complex project management environment? *
Do you have the unrestricted right to work in the UK? *

Questions marked with an * are compulsory and must be completed before you submit your appliction.

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I thought that was fair enough. I should be eligible to at least apply.

Thank you for your application

Thank you for your application to the NHS Gateway to Leadership programme.We appreciate the amount of time that you have contributed to this process however I regret to inform you that on this occasion it did not meet the required level. We will not therefore be taking your application any further.Due to the large number of applications to the Scheme this year we are unfortunately unable to offer any individual feedback.The Gateway to Leadership programme is not the only route into the NHS. You may wish to contact NHS Careers on 0845 60 60 655 or for further information. Positions are also often advertised directly in publications such as the Health Services Journal ( or The Guardian, both of which should be available at your local library.NHS websites are also a useful source of information. is a national database of positions currently being recruited for, and provides contact details for the NHS organisations in your local area, to make it easy to contact these organisations direct for information about current vacancies.Thank you again for your interest in the NHS, and may we take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck in your future career.

I have fallen at the first hurdle. I am not apparently eligible to apply. This is not going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. I had been at my quest for only 3 hours, and I had already received my first rejection. I don't mind being rejected, however I do object to being rejected by an organisation that can't spell application.
Job 2.
City and Guilds-A great place to work.
'Recently awarded Best Investor in Excellence in London, City & Guilds brings real benefits to economies, businesses and individuals worldwide by setting the standard for vocational education and providing skills for a brighter future.'
Qualification Support Manger is the role. I can support Qualifications. I have supported worse in my time.
Educated to degree level.
Excellent communication skills.
Tick, I once talked until 5 in the morning.
Experience in project management.
An understanding of current developments and trends in education.
Tick. See above, my partner is a teacher. The trend in her school is for Rich Tea biscuits.
So I have to send my CV to Marike Dippenaar. What a fabulous name. Well, Marike, you are about to be the recipient of my first application. I don't know whether to play it straight, or to be completely up front. If my covering letter were along the lines of:

Dear Marike
I am applying to every single job that appeared in the Guardian on the 29th September 2007. Would you please peruse my CV and see if I am the man for you?
Kind regards
Ian Carpenter

It may not go down too well.
However, I am not actually looking for a new job. Just applying is enough. I have not even considered what would happen if I got an interview. Could I really go to City and Guilds with a straight face and convince them that I wanted to support their qualifications? We'll see what happens.
I feel slightly disappointed that I got rejected by the NHS earlier. I was really looking forward to working with Joe Gibson.
So I have to find my CV. I am surprised to find that I have not updated it since I got the job at the property management company. I have been comfortable for over 14 months. I manage properties in London without having to do the commute into London every day.
'Responsible for the management of 30 residential properties in central London. This involves day to day management of the properties. I deal with leaseholders and contractors on a daily basis, both face to face and on the telephone. I manage four members of staff. I chair Annual General Meetings with Residents' Associations.'

That should do it.

I don't want the job anyway.

Dear Marike

I am writing following your recent advertisement in The Guardian for a Qualification Support Manager.

I am passionate about education. I am a strong believer that it is never too late for anyone to learn. I personally went back to university at the age of 30 to complete a degree that I had started 12 years earlier.

I have ten years experience in the banking sector, and 18 months experience in property management.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Ian Carpenter


I have just checked my outbox. Instead of attaching my CV, I have attached the opening pages of this book. Oops. Oh well, let's see what happens.