As HR director for the accessory chain Claire's, Nicki Crossland has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of the nation's CVs.

But when the company advertised for a new merchandising director in a national newspaper, she was amazed to receive a job application from a nine-year-old girl - one of the best she has received to date.

Caroline Pearson's enthusiasm to apply for the role, in spite of knowing she was "probably too little", was rewarded when she was invited to a mock interview and tour of the company's headquarters in Erdington, Birmingham.

The youngster who lives in Broadstairs, Kent, was attracted to a bright pink advert in a newspaper in May. After asking her mother what a CV was, she put together her own to include her primary school SAT results, interests in fashion, learning French, dance and playing the clarinet, and included a handwritten cover letter.

In the letter, Caroline said: "I know I am probably too little for this job but when I'm older I would really like to have it.

"Claire's is my favourite shop, I shop there as often as I can and am really pleased that they have opened a new store in Broadstairs."

Concluding the letter, she added: "I have attached my CV and mum and dad said that if I get the job, we can move to Birmingham."

As part of the visit and interview, organised by the HR director, Caroline received careers advice for her future and a tour of the model store by a Claire's merchandiser.

Mrs Crossland said: "At first I thought the application was a joke, but then realised it was completely genuine. I was extremely impressed and it has been around the whole of Claire's. It is one of the best applications I have ever received.

"I am impressed that Caroline is so ambitious and setting her sights so high for her future career at such a young age.

"One of our main objectives at Claire's is to make young people more aware of the careers available in retail, so I am thrilled as Caroline is our target audience.

"We've really enjoyed showing Caroline behind the scenes at Claire's."