Although this new edition incorporates a substantial reworking and extension of the 1984 text, this section is the only completely new one. Perhaps I should have included some such survey in the original edition, as the topic was hardly unimportant then; however, there is absolutely no doubt that one is needed now. The intervening years have seen a number of significant developments in student life and practice, but few are more important than the premium now placed on personal and application skills. These include the fashioning and submission of a Curriculum Vitae (CV); how to complete an application form, or apply for a post if such forms are not provided; how to present yourself at interview; and the underrated and surprisingly subtle skill of letter-writing.
For make no mistake, the business of presenting/selling yourself is a highly complex, difficult, even elusive one. Maybe that was always so, but the pressure on today's job-seekers is intense. As I write, there is still substantial recession in evidence, no matter what politicians may claim. The job market has shrunk, and shows few real signs of forthcoming expansion. In addition, as I note in the Preface to this second edition, our Overwork Culture means that those fortunate enough to be in work are being asked to do more and more and need ever-increasing 'competencies'-a ghastly word that you will none the less soon become familiar with when applying for posts and/or promotion.
To confirm and expand those observations, I turn to Paul Brown of the Oxford University Careers Service, who has identified certain key characteristics of current employment that are well worth considering closely. He argues that the much-changed world of work is now dominated by such features as: