Getting past receptionists is easier said than done

I was a touch taken aback by your blunt suggestion at the end of Tom Ward’s excellent letter about students applying for jobs (DW 3 July), that if students can’t be bothered to find out a name to write to, why should consultancies be bothered with them?

I wonder if you can remember how hard it is to get a name out of a receptionist when you’re looking for work? I still can because I spent ten years as a freelance copywriter, and getting names to show my book to was a nightmare. It certainly isn’t as easy as just ringing up and asking. Many creative directors, even the dreaded human resource or personnel directors instruct receptionists not to give their names out to cold callers like students or freelances. When did you last hear of a creative director allowing HR to hire a creative?.

And where else do you find their names? There’s no directory that provides them, even the jobs pages aren’t reliable and as for the news pages, well, can you remember trying to afford to buy that many magazines when you were on the dole? Websites are often useless for giving out names, too.

Yes, students do get things wrong when applying for jobs, but then that’s because no-one (other than Ward) seems prepared to tell them how to do it right.

Dennis O’Neill

Senior copywriter


Leicester LE5 0AE

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