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100 Job Hunting Terms Every Job Seeker Should Know

Updated on Jan 07, 2020 12788 views


Accomplishments: Accomplishments refer to the achievements and success points that one has been able to gather in a career journey. Accomplishments include job and life successes like meeting deadlines or successful completion of a huge task. Including accomplishments to your CV helps sell your strength to the employer.

Also View > Comprehensive Guide to Writing a Winning CV 2018

Action Verbs: Action verbs are specific, descriptive words you use to tell your employer about your skill, achievement, and accomplishments. Action words will help your application, resume and interview stand out. Use words that express physical or mental action on your resume or cover letter. Avoid the use of non-descriptive verbs, rather make use of descriptive verbs like; adopted, advised, budgeted, collaborated, decreased, engineered, equipped, increased, monitored, motivated, widened, won, wrote etc.

Applicants: An applicant is job-seeker who have applied for a job opening, or a project. They have either sent a resume or an application online or in person to a recruiter or company.


a) Verb: The process of sending your information to a company (usually a CV) with the intention of gaining employment.

b) Noun: A form filled in, either online or on paper, that is used by a recruiter to attain the essential information needed by them to compare candidates. Also used to attain any other relevant details that may be needed by a company.

Applicants Tracking System (ATS): Applicant tracking system is a type of software used by recruiters and employers that act as a human resource database for organizing applicants. ATS are used by all sizes of companies to sift through large groups of job applicants, and to organize and contact those applicants. The main goal of ATS are to act as a tool designed to simplify the life of the hiring manager or recruiter. Just like a search engine, after a recruiter's search, some applicant tracking systems rank applicants by keywords (skills, job positions) and filters (i.e. location and education). So, as an applicant, you should be optimizing your resume specifically to fit the job you are applying for.

Assessments: A series of questions that are provided, usually by a recruiting company to an applicant. These questions help the recruiter measure preferences in jobs and career types based on the individual's assessment of his or her own personality, character traits and skills.

Availability: A period of time (daily or weekly) that an applicant or an employee is available to work. Often requested by an employer to know an applicant’s schedule.



Background Check: Employers use background check to validate the information initially provided by an applicant as well as other subjects of their choice. This can include investigating criminal history, employment history etc. Not every company run background check, and the extent to which they do will vary.

 Behavioral Interview: A technique used by employers to learn about an applicant’s past behavior in particular situations. This method implies that past behavior forecast future behavior.

Benefits: This is an additional compensation aside the salary provided by an employer to an employee and may include: paid vacation, sick leave, child care, retirement/pension fund, stock options, health/dental insurance, bonuses, tuition subsidies, etc.

Blue Collar: Refers to employees whose job entails (largely or entirely) physical labor, such as in a factory or workshop. The job is related to the output generated by the firm, and its end result is mostly identifiable or tangible. Historically, in the West, manual workers wore blue shirt collars but clerical workers wore white.

Branding Statement: A descriptive statement usually written at the top of a resume that tells immediately what the applicant have to offer a prospective employer. The statement that shows the applicant’s value and uniqueness. A branding statement is unique to an individual.

Builder: A software which is used specifically to create resume and cover letters.

Business Plan: A document that describes a new business, its products or services, how it will earn money, leadership and staffing, financing, operations model, and other details that are essential to both operation and success. Entrepreneurs create them as part of the startup process while existing businesses often write them when changing direction or strategy.


Career: Work done as an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and employment history with an opportunity for growth and progress.

Career Change: The movement of a person from one job group or field to another. A change in one’s career path.

Career Coach: A career coach is a professional that specializes in leading, helping and guiding others. A person that works to guide you through your career choices, often assisting you through stages of unemployment by making recommendations on what jobs you should be applying for, what resources are available to you, how to approach each interview. Can also be proactive during your employment life by offering advice

Career Fair: They are typically organized in a large hall where potential employers will set up booths with members from their human resources (HR) team along with new employees, to tell those attending about their company, their application process and anything else they might want to know.

A career fair creates a chance for a company to meet and screen a large volume of potential job candidates while simultaneously an opportunity for job-seekers to meet and screen a large number of employers.

Career Portfolio: A career portfolio is a visual representation of your abilities, skills, capabilities, and knowledge. Physically, it is a collection of tangible materials that represents work-related events in your life. The portfolio provides an evidence of your potential by demonstrating what you accomplished in the past.

Chronological Resume: A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent positions listed first. It is considered one of the most common resume structures. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it's easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them.

In this type of resume your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current, or most recent job, first. It often includes a resume objective or career summary before a list of previous work experience. Education, certifications, and special skills are also included on this type of resume. These are listed after your work experience.

Compensation: Compensation is the total cash and non-cash payments that you give to an employee in exchange for the work they do for your business. It is typically one of the biggest expenses for businesses with employees. Compensation is more than an employee’s regular paid wages. It also includes many other types of wages and benefits.

The combination of salary and fringe benefits an employer provides to an employee. When evaluating competing job offers, a job-seeker should consider the total package and not just salary.

Contract Staff: An employee who works under contract for an employer. A contract employee is hired for a specific job at a specific rate of pay. A contract employee does not become a regular addition to the staff and is not considered a permanent employee.

Corporate Culture: Corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company's owners and employees think, feel and act. A business culture may be based on beliefs spelled out in their mission statement. It could consist in part of a corporate symbol. The culture sets norms (rules of conduct) that define acceptable behavior of employees of the organization.

Cover Letter: A cover letter is a (typically) one-page document that explains to the hiring manager why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It goes beyond your resume to explain in detail how you could add value to the company. A good cover letter opens door for your personality.

Curriculum Vitae (CV): A record of one’s academic and professional achievements. It is translated in Latin for “course of life,” and it is often a longer document than the resume. A summary of a job applicant's professional experience and educational background, along with other relevant information regarding the candidate's qualifications. The curriculum vitae is similar to a resume, but is used more frequently by candidates who have published works in journals, such as scientists or academic professionals. See CV Templates for all Job Field


Declining Letter: A letter sent to an employer to turn down a job offer. Express your appreciation for the offer and the organization’s interest. Be courteous and respectful in order to remain on good terms for possible consideration down the road. You may also want to offer a very brief comment about why you are declining, such as a better fit elsewhere or your preference for another geographic region. 

Diversity Job-Seeker: A large disadvantaged group (mostly consist of women and minorities) that face additional challenge in the job-search.


Education: The history of institutionalized instruction listed on a resume, such as high school, university, or vocational school.

E-Resume (Electronic resume): An electronic resume is a resume that is submitted to a potential employer electronically. The purpose of an electronic resume is to apply for jobs online. There are two methods for applying for positions online:

a) Via electronic mail or e-mail;

b) Or via the Internet through a web page.

Most employers are more interested in receiving electronic resumes because it saves them the time and effort used in scanning through hard copy resumes.

These electronic methods include accepting e-mail resumes, scanning of resumes, having applicants complete online resume forms, or accessing resumes on Internet home pages. This handout will provide you with instructions on how to prepare your electronic resume.

Elevator Pitch: An elevator pitch is a 15-30 seconds synopsis that explains to people who you are, what you do and what kind of position you're seeking. The reason it is called an elevator pitch is that you can present it during a short elevator ride. Job-seekers use the elevator pitch to quickly tell a prospective employer about themselves as quick as possible.

Employment Contract: An employment contract is a written legal document that lays out binding terms and conditions of an employment relationship between an employee and an employer. Differences exist in private and public sector employment contracts because the goals of an employment contract are different in each.

Employment Gap: The time periods when a job applicant appear to be unemployed, or absent from the work environment, are known as employment gaps.

These gaps in employment history are highlighted when using the chronological resume format, which requires the listing of work history in reverse chronological order.  When significant employment gaps exist, the applicant should consider using a functional resume format, which highlights skills and accomplishments. 

Entrepreneur: An entrepreneur is someone that initiates an idea and creates something new, either an initiative, a business or a company. He or she is the beginning of a venture, project or activity. An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture.

Equal Opportunity Employer: An equal opportunity employer follows the principles of hiring and promotion in regards to hiring and promotion. An equal opportunity employer is not allowed to discriminate based on race or gender, and is required to give everyone an equal chance.

Experience: The entirety of a candidate’s past work history, including volunteer work and any knowledge and skills gained as a result of prior training, tasks, and responsibilities.


Follow-Up Letter: A follow-up letter is an important form of communication in a range of situations. After a job interview, or a great business meeting, or even after making a good business contact at a trade show, a follow-up letter is an effective means of consolidating a relationship between you and the intended recipient.

Format (Resume): The form, pattern, or arrangement in which a resume is arranged. The layout and structure of the resume. The most common patterns are combination, reverse-chronological, and functional.

Format (File): A standard of saving and storing a digitized version of a resume or cover letter. Popular file formats include .DOCX and .PDF.

Full-Time: A job that takes an employee’s working hours which usually range from 32-40 hour per week. The opposite is referred to as part-time.

Freelancer/Consultant/Independent Contractor: These are self-employed professionals who work independently for companies and or clients. Like contract workers, freelance workers are hired by companies for special projects or to supplement key staff. Freelance workers often set their own hours and pay; however, the flow of work can be unsteady.

Franchising:  This a business form or arrangement where the business owner (the franchiser) grants another party (the franchisee) the right to use its trademark or trade-name as well as certain business systems and processes, to produce and market a good or service according to certain specifications. Some entrepreneurs that feel intimidated to start from the scratch can consider franchising.


Goals: Goals are achievement standards that an individual or a company may set for themselves. Sometimes they are set for a specified period of time. Goals could be long or short termed.

Green Collar: This describes jobs in the environmental sector. These refer to jobs in renewable and sustainable energy. These jobs are not defined by their industries but by the role.

Gross Misconduct: This refers to a severe violation of a company rule that mostly lead to an immediate dismissal.


Hard Skill: Hard skills are specific teachable abilities or knowledge that can be defined or measured such as typing, computer programming, web-design, accounting, finance, writing, legal and other quantifiable skills.

Hire: When someone is offered a job. When an employer takes a new employee for a particular position, with an agreed salary, usually after interviews and background checks.

Hobbies: Activities that job-seekers include on their CV which they did for pleasure.

Human Resources: A department in a company that deals with the relationship between the employer and the company including hiring process, payment structure etc.

Hidden Job Market: Theses are jobs that aren't posted online or advertised in any other way. Employers might not post jobs for a number of reasons – for example, they might be trying to save money on advertising, or they might prefer getting candidates through employee referrals. The best strategies to uncover hidden jobs are networking and cold calling.


Interest: An activity that an employee may add to a CV or resume that they find pleasurable and enjoyable. Employees search for jobs that match their interest.

Internship: An internship is a specific period of work experience offered by an organization to interns (maybe a high school student, college or university students, or fresh graduates). These positions are paid or unpaid and are usually temporary.

Interview: A formal discussion between hirer an applicant and a candidate. In an interview is mostly a physical meeting (although some could be electronic) where the recruiter exchange information with the applicant with the aim of establishing the applicant’s sustainability for a particular position.



Job Application: A Form or paper which indicates interest in a particular place of employment or position within a company. Typically requests personal identification information, such as name, address and phone number, as well as a history of job experience. Sometimes also referred to as an Application for Employment.

Job-Board: Job-boards are websites that employers use to advertise their available positions. Job-boards are also called job sites, they help job-seekers access job openings via the internet. Job-boards like makes the job hunt easy for job seekers.

Job- Search: The act of looking or searching for employment opportunities. Job-seekers search for jobs on the internet, on a bulletin, at a fair or on a newspaper.


Job-Seeker: A job-seeker is someone that is actively seeking employment. This term was used to refer to someone that is unemployed, but seeking employment. But now it is used to refer to anyone that is currently searching for a job whether the person is employed or not.

Job Research: The act of finding information about the position you are applying for and the skills and qualification required. Finding out and learning about a job position can help you write a better CV and cover letter, and also prepare well for the interview.

Job Offer: A job offer is an invitation for a potential employee, whether he or she has applied for a job, or not, to become an employee in your organization. The job offer contains the details of the employment offer like the contract form, and other documents.

Job Shadowing: A work-based learning activity that provides job-seekers the opportunity to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities before deciding where they want to focus their attention. It involves a brief visit to a variety of work places to observe and ask questions relating to the job. In job shadowing, a business or a company partners with an educational establishment to provide an experience for a student.


Keywords: They are phrases and words in a job-Seeker’s CV and cover letter that recruiters and hiring managers look out for. They are skills, abilities, credentials and qualities that hiring managers looks for in a candidate. Many companies even use applicant tracking systems (ATS), also known as talent management systems, to screen candidates for job openings.


Labour Market: Also known as the job market refers to the supply and demand of labour. In the labour market, employers compete to hire the best, and the workers compete for the best satisfying job. ... In this market, labour demand is the firm's demand for labour and supply is the worker's supply of labour.

Labour Mobility: This refers to the ability of workers to move from one place to another or from one occupation to another or from one job to another or from one industry to another.

Lateral Hiring: In this type of recruitment employees are hired for the same position and compensation as their previous job. A lateral hire is someone hired with the same experience and wage level as the previous job.

Lay off: Suspension or termination of employment (with or without notice) by the employer or management. Layoffs are not caused by any fault of the employees but by reasons such as lack of work, cash, or material. Permanent layoff is called redundancy.

Leave: Permission to be absent from work. Under employment rights legislation there are statutory entitlements to annual leave, maternity leave, adoptive leave, parental leave etc.

Letter of Recommendation:  Also referred to as a reference letter. It is a letter that is written by a previous employer, colleague, client, teacher, or by someone else who can recommend an individual's work or academic performance. The goal of recommendation letters is to vouch for the skills, achievements, and aptitude of the person being recommended. A reference letter is usually sent by an employer to vouch for one’s work ethic, character, qualifications, employment history or skills.

License: A certification by a governing or legal body that certifies the holder has the stated skill, ability, hours, or lessons. Revocable written (formal) or implied agreement by an authority or proprietor (the licensor) not to assert his or her right (for a specific period and under specified conditions) to prevent another party (the licensor) from engaging in certain activity that is normally forbidden (such as selling liquor or making copies of a copyrighted work).


Management Experience: This refers to one’s experience in over-seeing people, processes and projects. Getting a management job is not always easy especially if you don’t have experience. Your experience in leading people can also be seen as a management experience. A manager coordinates the activities of a business in order to achieve set goals and defined objectives.

Mentor: A person at a higher level within a company or within your profession who counsels you and help guide career. A mentor relationship is one where the outcome of the relationship is expected to benefit all parties in the relationship for personal growth, career development, lifestyle enhancement, spiritual fulfillment, goal achievement, and other areas mutually designated by the mentor and partner.

Merit Increase: A merit increase is a higher wage rate paid to an employee on the basis of an agreed upon criteria such as efficiency and performance. Employers that offer merit increases usually require an employee to hit a certain level in their performance evaluations in order to receive a pay increase. Other employers offer guaranteed raises based on how long you’ve been with the company.

Minimum Wage: The smallest hourly wage that can be paid to an employee as ordered by federal law. This hourly wage differ from country to country.


Networking: The process that stimulates the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share a common interest. It may be for business or social purposes. Professionals connect their business network through a series of symbolic ties and contacts.

Network: Group of people such as your family, friends, acquaintances and people you know socially.

Notice: A formal information, or warning about a fact, required to be made in law or impacted by an operation of law. Notice is an announcement by the employee or employer that the employment contract will end on a certain date.


Objective: A short statement usually at the top of the resume that shows what a candidate has achieved and how they would be a perfect match for the position. It tells the employer why you want the job. Adding an objective to your CV or resume is optional.

Occupation: A person's main job or business done to earn a living.

Onboarding: The process at a company by which newly-hired employees are brought up to speed on the company, the company culture, responsibilities, and job roles. The action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization.

Online Presence: The existence of an individual or business that can be found via online search. It is also a collective term for profiles, photos, texts, videos, and other media available via the internet. Employers often search applicants’ online presence mostly before an interview.

Outsourcing: This is the process of having certain job functions done outside a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them. Jobs or functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual. Outsourcing has become a common trend in human resources.

Overtime: The period of time that an employee works that is outside the normal working hours. In most cases employee are paid for working overtime.


Part-Time Employment: The employment where the worker work less than the generally accepted full-time hours of work.

Paternity Leave: This is the period of time that a father is legally allowed to be away from work so that he can spend time with his new baby. The father gets paid for those periods taken off.

PAYE (Pay as You Earn): PAYE (Pay as You Earn) is the system where tax is deducted from your wages by your employer and sent to the Revenue Commissioners.


Pay Range: Set boundaries for compensation which identifies the minimum and maximum amount of a specific pay grade. Pay range vary with different companies. The actual amount one receives may depend on one’s skill and experience. Learn more about your pay range on

Performance Evaluation: A document or a process that involves providing an employee with feedback on how they have met the requirements of a particular position

Pension: A payment from the state or private company to someone who is retired. Scheme under which retirement benefits accrue and are distributed to the beneficiary employees. Its two basic types are

  • Deferred compensation plan in which an employer pays a fixed monthly pension depending on the employee's retirement age, length of service, and last salary received. It may also be paid to a deceased employee's surviving spouse.
  • Defined contribution plan in which the employee contributes a percentage of salary every month and the employer matches it. Upon retirement the employee receives the combined sum. Also called pension scheme.

Probationary Period: The probation period is a mutually agreed upon duration of time (typically anywhere between one and six months) in which your ability to meet certain performance levels – in other words, the potential you exhibited in your interview – will be observed and assessed. Pending a review, the subsequent failure to meet these standards within that period can lead to an employer dismissing an employee without fear of unfair dismissal claims and employment tribunals.

Promotion: The advancement of an employee’s position within the organization. An act where one employee gets given a higher rank or position in a company, usually coinciding with an increase in compensation, benefits, and responsibilities.

Public Holiday: Remarkable day(s) when workers don’t go to work. The statutory public holiday entitlement for employees is: either a paid day off, an extra day of annual leave or a day's pay.


Qualification: Usually refers to an awarded certification showing completion of an academic course, though can also include vocational certifications. Ideally, you highlight any qualifications relevant to the job being applied to when writing your resume.

Quarter-life crisis: An experience often encountered by mid-twenties workers, this refers to the feeling of vocational anxiety that many people experience based on the idea their career isn’t progressing as initially expected. It can also be experienced by entry-level candidates transitioning into a full-time career who feel they lack essential experience and can view a full-time career position as intimidating.

Quality management: A system to make sure that a product or service meets standards of excellence, and that the process by which the product or service is created is efficient and effective as well. The three key components of this system are quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement.


Recruiter: A person or company contracted to find hires and employees for another company.

Redundancy: is when your job ceases to exist because of lack of work or your company closing down.

References: A group of people who will say good things about you and who know specifics strengths that you offer. Can include work references (current and past supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates), educational references (former teachers or school administrators), and personal references (who can speak of your character). Always ask people before including them as a reference for you.

Resigning/Resignations: An act of courtesy to notify the employer that the working relationship has reached an end, whether that be for personal or professional reasons. Resignation is mostly done using a resignation letter. A resignation letter is a formal document where an employee announces to their employer that they will be leaving their job; usually preceded by an informal face-to-face talk or handing in a resignation letter email.

Résumé: A key job-hunting tool used to get an interview, it summarizes your accomplishments, your education, as well as your work experience, and should reflect your special mix of skills and strengths.

Relevant experience:  Refers to jobs that you have done that are similar to the one you are applying for. When employers ask about your “relevant experience,” they want to know about jobs you’ve done earlier. Retention Strategy: In order to retain employees and reduce turnover managers must meet the goals of employees without losing sight of the organization’s goals, utilizing valence and expectancy theories.


Risk Management: The use of insurance and other strategies to minimize an organizations exposure to liability in the event a loss or injury occurs.

Rotational Training: A training method where employees are rotated among a variety of different jobs, departments or company functions for a certain period of time.


Salary: A fixed amount of money paid to an employee by the employer received on a monthly or annual basis.

Salary Requirement: A salary requirement is the amount of compensation a person needs to accept a position. Salary requirements are based on several factors such as: the industry, prior salary history, previous work experience, and cost of living.

Section: The areas and categories that a resume is divided into. These may include contact information, work experience, skills, education history, certifications, and more.

Self Employed: A self-employed person is someone who carries on their own business and is not an employee.

Soft Skill: Also refers to as people skills. It is used to describe personal attributes that indicates a high level of emotional intelligence. Employers this to evaluate the candidate's level of professionalism and work ethic.

Social Networking: The process of building a strong online reputation via social media sites, that allows you to meet and impress other professionals that can potentially provide career progression.

STAR Method: Is a proven way to answer behavioral interview questions. What is STAR?

STAR stands for Situation–Task–Action–Result:

  • Situation - An event, project, or challenge faced
  • Task - Your responsibilities and assignments for the situation
  • Action - Steps or procedure taken to relieve or rectify situation
  • Result - Results of actions taken.

Strength: Skills and abilities a candidate may have that are available in greater quantity and quality than other candidates. Employers often look for strengths that fits their company needs.

Summary (Resume): A statement which goes in the heading area of a resume detailing skills and career progress; sometimes referred to as a professional summary.


Telecommuting: Where an employee works from a remote location, perhaps from home, instead of working in a centralized office.

Temping: Working short period work contracts, often with numerous clients that provide long term job seekers with financial resources while gaining and broadening their experience. These positions can occasionally lead to a full-time position. Temp work frequently arises due to a company needing short-term cover when, for example, a worker goes on long-term leave.

Template: A structured layout used to build resumes and cover letters. See CV Templates

Temporary Employment: Filling a position for a specific period of time (e.g. with a start and end date). Contract employment refers to a form of work whereby an individual is hired for a specific project or contract. Contract employees usually do not have the same benefits and compensation as full time employees.

Thank-You-Letter: A formal letter sent to a recruiting manager following interview. It provides a final ‘good impression’ through showing courtesy. Not commonly im

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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