The world of work, we are continually being told, has changed, and the age of jobs for life has given way to one of short-term, freelance and consultancy posts. Never mind that many people feel there never was a time when jobs were for life, the perception is that there was and that now the situation is very different.

So how do you apply for a job, or a "position", in this new world? Tom and Ellen Jackson have completed updated their The Perfect CV (Piatkus, pounds 9.99) to tell you how.

The Jacksons, who have made careers out of advising people on theirs, give tips in such areas as discovering and defining career goals, selecting appropriate jobs and writing effective covering letters as well as the mechanics of filling in application forms and compiling CVs, or resumes.

There are 100 samples of "winning CVs, easy-to-use drafting forms and special CVs for recent graduates". In addition, there is help with salary negotiations and using modern technology, such as e-mail and the Internet, to get a start.

However, the central part of the large-format paperback is a section entitled "The Five Rules of High Employability". This divides into "personal vision", which invites readers to assess how clear they are about their career plans; "skills and capabilities", knowing their marketable skills; "customer focus", that is, knowing who they are aiming at; "high-performance", which requires an assessment of how well a person is doing in their current role; and "self-direction", which amounts to taking action "to have what you want in your future".

Some might find this section a little too American in its introspection. But none can deny the practical assistance offered by the several pages of explanations for those job titles that pepper the classified advertisements and presumably put off qualified candidates who do not know what they entail.

Perhaps it will not change your life to discover that a "numerical control tool programmer" is responsible for applying "a broad range of machinery operations and the working properties of metal and plastic used to make parts" or that a "systems analyst" plans and develops methods of computerising business and scientific tasks or improving the computer systems already in use

But there is every chance that this book could - as the sub-title claims - help you "get the job you really want"