With a career job, the aim is to puff up your meagre achievements into something resembling evidence that would impress a Nobel Peace Prize committee, whilst excising any sense of person and attempting to squash the lot onto two sides of A4. If you’re female its also good sense to delicately remove any idea that you might ever procreate and thereby rip the poor company off by removing your corporate shackles for maternity leave.

I’d not done a CV aimed at a dead end job before, relying up to now upon calling into the place to make my impression and using my ‘real’ CV more as an explanation for what I’ve done for the past ten years before deciding that minimum wage was the way forwards. And I’d targeted my applications very carefully to include only jobs I actually wanted (three days in one of the bookshops is still a real dream). So I’d tried an variation on a formula that used to net me good career jobs, careful targeting, stalking them in the way that if they were human would be illegal and conversations that run along the lines of “Oh yes, I spend so much time surfing your company website I am practically one of your employees already” albeit without access to the grievance pages. Done it all and still no job.

So, for a new departure: the generic CV. First I stripped out my degree (not much to boast about but rather ott here), removed the detail about jobs I had done and reduced the last ten years to a short list of skills and experience with a chronological work history after it and a potted personality picture up at the top. I asked the advice of a friend who claims “to have done more jobs than there are jobs”. He liked what I’d done but said to include hobbies. Preferably something I did weekly to show that I could managed to organise myself and that I wouldn’t get too pissed to turn up for work. And to mention the fact that I was married. Apparently this is a plus, suggests stability. So domestic slavery with all its conventional attitudes indicates the person they want. I suppose the turn over in these places makes maternity leave another planet.

I turn then to an on spec application form I have from a certain high street clothing chain. This is something that would never get past the door in a real job application. The company monitoring thing – for religion, ethnicity, disability – forms part of the bit the manager that will interview you gets, rather than the thin promise that it just goes to the monitoring people that real jobs assure you will happen. And the first box in the space for interviewers notes at the back is headed “appearance”. OK, so its a retail job and smart looking is important. More important than everything else? Well its a fashionable world out there. I guess wannabe celebrities wannabuy from similar.