The definitive source for learning about career, job-hunting, and
employment terms — from your team at Quintessential Careers.
This glossary of job, career, and employment terms is designed to give job-seekers a quick definition — and
then provide links where you can find more details, samples, and much more information. If you’re looking for a
a job-hunting, employment-related, or career term that
is not listed in the Job-Seeker’s Glossary, please contact us.
Have questions about college lingo or other terminology? Check out our
High School College-Bound and
College Planning Glossary of Terms.
Accomplishments — These are the achievements you have had in your career — including work, job, and life successes. These key
points really help sell you to an employer — much more so than everyday job duties or responsibilities. In your cover letters,
resumes, and job interviews, focus on key career accomplishments — especially ones that you can quantify.
Action Verbs — The building blocks of effective cover letters and resumes. These concrete, descriptive verbs
express your skills, assets, experience, and accomplishments. Avoid nondescriptive verbs such as “do,” “work,”
and forms of the verb “to be.” Instead, begin each descriptive section with an action verb. Almost every
resume book has a list of great action verbs to choose from.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — Used by major employers to collect, store job candidate data — and screen resumes from potential job candidates.
Job-seekers, in order to be successful (and get invited to job interviews), must learn how to develop resumes that are ATS-friendly. While employers embrace the
benefits of ATS, many job-seekers feel as though their resumes get submitted into a “ATS black hole” from which their resume is never seen again. Developing an ATS-friendly
resume is essential for job-seekers. Read more.
Assessments — These tests ask you a series of questions and try to provide you with some sense of your
personality and career interests. You shouldn’t rely on the results of these tests by themselves, but the
results can be a good starting point for discovering more about yourself and your interests and considering
careers you may not have thought of. Read more.
Baby Boomer Job-Seeker/Worker — The generation of people born between 1946 and 1964 — and about 78 million strong.
The group of workers and job-seekers are now nearing the peak of employment and earning potential, with many attempting major
career changes — referred to as recareering — or retiring from a stressful (or despised) corporate job and moving finally rediscover
their career passion. Also referred to as Third Agers.
Background Check — Used by employers to verify the accuracy of the information you provide on your
resume or job application — and beyond. On the rise as prices fall on these services. Items checked include:
employment verification, educational background/degrees, references, credit history, medical records, driving record,
court records, criminal records, and more. Read more.
Behavioral Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Benefits — An important part of your compensation package, and part of the salary negotiation process.
Note that every employer offers a different mix of benefits. These benefits may include paid vacations, company
holidays, personal days, sick leave, life insurance, medical insurance, retirement and pension plans, tuition assistance,
child care, stock options, and more. Can be worth anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your salary.
See also Compensation Package and Salary.
Birkman Method — A 298-question personality assessment and a series of related report sets that facilitate team
building, executive coaching leadership development, career counseling and interpersonal conflict resolution.
The Birkman Method™ combines motivational, behavioral and interest evaluation into one single assessment, which
provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive analysis, thus reducing the need for multiple assessments.
See also Assessments. Find assessments
using this method.
Branding — See Career Branding.
Branding Statement — A punchy “ad-like” statement placed at the top of a job-seeker’s resume that tells
immediately what he/she can bring to an employer. Your branding statement should sum up your value proposition,
encapsulate your reputation, showcase what sets you apart from other job-seekers, and describe the added value
you bring to a situation. Think of it as a one-sentence sales pitch that entices the hiring manager to read more
of your resume. Read more. See also, Career Branding.
Business Plan — A complete overview for a busines, from development of a vision and mission of the business to
the setting of business goals to the reasons why organization (or person) is in business to the detailed plan for
reaching those goals. A business plan may also contain background information about the organization
and management team attempting to start and run the business. Detailed analysis and information about the product or service,
marketing and branding strategies, and key competiton should all be included. Business planning should include both
short-term (1-year) and long-term (3-5 years) goals and plans.
Career Activist — Someone who is proactive in planning, evaluating, directing, and controlling his or her
career rather than simply reacting as situations arise. (Some call this approach career mapping.) A career activist
has an enduring interest in understanding and achieving his or her full career potential, while maximizing career marketability.
Career Assessment — See Assessments.
Career Branding — Helps define who you are, how you are great, and why you should be sought out.
Branding is your reputation; branding is a promise of your value to an employer.
Branding is about building a name for yourself, showcasing what sets you apart from
other job-seekers, and describing the added value you bring to an employer.
Career Change — Changing your occupation by devising a strategy to find new career choices.
Most experts now predict that the average person will change careers three to five times over the course
of his or her work life. Change may occur because you don’t enjoy the work as much as you used to. Or
maybe you can’t progress further in your career. Read more.
Career Coach — Also called career consultant, career adviser, work-life coach, personal career trainer,
and life management facilitator. These professionals have been likened to personal trainers for your life/career,
serving the role as your champion, cheerleader, advocate, mentor, partner, and sounding board on all issues
related to your job or career search. Read more.
Career Exploration — The process of finding a rewarding career path, as well as specific jobs within a
particular career path. Think of career exploration and planning as building bridges from your current
job/career to your next job/career. People of all ages — from teens trying to explore careers for the
first time to mature workers seeking to find a new career for recareering — use various methods of
career exploration to help uncover careers that offer fulfillment.
Career Fair — There are many types of job and career fairs — from those scheduled during Spring Break for
college students to industry-specific fairs for professionals — but they all have a common theme: 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 Objective/Job Objective — An optional part of your resume, but something you should contemplate
whether you place it on your resume or not. While once very common, it has now fallen from favor. While it can help
sharpen the focus of your resume, most job-seekers never did so, using vague language. Objectives have been
replaced by other resume devices — see Resume Focal Point.
Career Passion — One of the most important elements of personal happiness is being passionate about your career and your job.
If you no longer have — or never have had — personal and professional fulfillment from your job, there is always time to discover a
career for which you do have passion. Read more.
Career Planning — The continuous process of evaluating your current lifestyle, likes/dislikes,
passions, skills, personality, dream job, and current job and career path and making corrections and
improvements to better prepare for future steps in your career, as needed, or to make a career change.
Read more. Or, here for
Career Planning Tips.
Career Portfolio — See Job Skills Portfolio.
Career Research — See Career Exploration.
Career Vision Statement — A set of career goals that a job-seeker sets for the long-term,
typically five years or more. The purpose of a career vision statement is to give you a clear
direction for the future; it is a vision that has been committed to paper to guide you in making future choices.
Case Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Chronological Resume — See Resume.
Cold Call — When a job-seeker approaches an employer (usually through an uninvited cover letter)
who has not publicly announced any job openings. See hidden job market and cover letters.
Read more. See also cover letters.
Company Research — See Researching Companies.
Compensation Package — 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.
See also Salary and Benefits. Read more.
Contract Employee — Where you work for one organization (and its salary and benefit structure) that
sells your services to another company on a project or time basis. Compare to freelancer.
Corporate Culture — The collection of beliefs, expectations, and values shared by an organization’s
members and transmitted from one generation of employees to another. The culture sets norms (rules of conduct)
that define acceptable behavior of employees of the organization. It’s important for job-seekers to understand the
culture of an organization before accepting a job.
Counter Offer/Counter Proposal — A salary negotiation technique used by job-seekers when a job offer
is not at an acceptable level. Almost all elements of a job offer are negotiable, including the salary,
non-salary compensation, moving expenses, benefits, and job-specific issues.
Cover Letter — Should always accompany your resume when you contact a potential employer.
A good cover letter opens a window to your personality (and describes specific strengths and skills you
offer the employer). It should entice the employer to read your resume.
Read more. See also:
- uninvited (cold contact) cover letter — The most common type of cover letter, since such a large
percentage (80-95 percent) of the job market is “closed,” meaning the job openings are not advertised.
Usually part of a direct mail campaign in which the job-seeker is trying to uncover hidden jobs.
See a sample letter.
- invited cover letter — Written in response to an advertised opening, whether in a newspaper,
trade publication, on the Internet, or even on the company’s bulletin board. Employer expects — and even
welcomes the cover letters. See a sample letter.
- referral cover letter — An extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking
efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the
reader’s attention and prompt an interview. See a sample letter.
Curriculum Vitae (CV) — See Resume.
Declining Letter — A letter sent to an employer to turn down a job offer. The writer should keep the door
open in case he or she would like to approach the employer again someday.
See a sample letter.
Degrees & Certifications — Recognition bestowed on students upon completion of a unified program of study,
including high school, trade schools, colleges and universities, and other agencies.
Diversity Job-Seekers — Numerous disadvantaged groups — women and minorities — often face
extra challenges in the job-search. Read more.
Dress for Success — First coined by author John Malloy in the 1970s, the term Dress for Success
signifies tailoring one’s attire, grooming, and overall appearance toward making a great first impression in a job interview —
as well as maintaining a professional look while on the job to aid career advancement. Will dressing properly get you the job?
Not by itself, but it will give you a competitive edge and help you make a positive first impression.
Electronic Resume (or E-Resume) — A resume (see resume) that is sent to the employer electronically,
either via email, by submitting to Internet job boards, or residing on their on Web page. Includes numerous
formats of resumes linked by their mode of delivery. Read more.
Elevator Speech — A a 15- to 30-second commercial that job-seekers use in a variety of
situations (career fairs, networking events, job interviews, cold calling) that
succinctly tells the person you are giving it to who you are, what makes you
unique, and the benefits you can provide. Read
Email Cover Letter — A cover letter (see Cover Letter) that is sent to the employer electronically
via email. There are different rules that apply to writing these kind of cover letters, though the fundamental
principles remain the same. Read more.
See a sample letter.
Employment Gaps — Are those periods of time between jobs when job-seekers are unemployed, either
by choice or circumstances. Employers do not like seeing unexplained gaps on resumes, and there are
numerous strategies for reducing the impact of these gaps on your future job-hunting.
Entrepreneur — Someone who starts and runs his or her own business — who organizes, operates, and
assumes both the rewards and the risks from running the enterprise. It takes specific traits to
operate a business, including accounting and financial skills, sales and marketing skills,
time management and organizational skills, planning and implementation skills, and the ability
to have a vision to fulfill an unmet (or poorly met) need better than competitors.
Follow-Up — An often overlooked and critical part of job-hunting. In the early phases of
searching for a job, job-seekers must be proactive in showing continued interest in all job leads —
contacting employers after you’ve submitted your resume.
Follow-up is also important after the job interview, first with a thank-you letter, but
then also with contact expressing your interest and fit for the position.
Freelancer/Consultant/Independent Contractor — Where you work for yourself and bid for temporary jobs
and projects with one or more employers. Freelancing is not an alternative to hard work, but many people enjoy the
freedom, flexibility, and satisfaction of working for themselves.
Franchising — A legal and commercial relationship between the owner of a trademark, service mark,
brand name, or advertising symbol (the franchisor) and an individual or organization (the franchisee)
wishing to use that identification in a business.
Functional Resume — See Resume.
Gen Y Job-Seeker/Worker — The generation of people — roughly those born between the late 1970’s and the
late 1990’s — 72 million or so strong. As job-seekers and workers, this cohort has very different views on hiring, perks,
promotions, and managing — and are expected to transform all aspects of employment as they age and move up the
corporate ladder. Also referred to as The Millennials. The Tech/Net/Digital Generation. Boomlets. Echo Boomers.
Green Jobs/Green-Collar Jobs — Jobs — moving from both white-collar (professional) and blue-collar (trade)
— to positions in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries are on the rise.
U.S. green-collar jobs could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030, according to a commissioned report
by the American Solar Energy Society. Read more.
Hidden Job Market — Only about 5-20 percent of all job openings are ever publicly known, which
results in about four-fifths of the job market being “closed,” meaning you can’t find out about any new
openings unless you do some digging. Strategies for uncovering the hidden job market include networking
and cold calling. Read more.
See networking and cold calling.
Holland Codes — Personality types developed by psychologist John L. Holland as part of his theory of career choice.
Holland mapped these types into a hexagon which he then broke down into the RIASEC job environments (see RIASEC).
See also Assessments. Find assessments
using this method.
Home-Based (Work-at-Home) Careers — Numerous opportunities exist for job-seekers who want more control over
time and work, who want job flexibility to spend more time with family — by working from home.
Unfortunately, this area is also one that has the most potential for scams and other fraudulent activities.
Informational Interviewing — Just what it sounds like — interviewing designed to produce information.
What kind of information? The information you need to choose or refine a career path, learn how to break in
and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s the process of spending time with one of your network
contacts in a highly focused conversation that provides you with key information you need to launch or
boost your career. Read more.
Internships — One of the best types of work experiences for entry-level job-seekers because a
majority of employers say experience is the most important factor in whether you’re hired. Internships involve
working in your expected career field, either during a semester or over the summer. Besides gaining valuable
experience, you get exposed to the business environment and gain valuable references and network contacts.
Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Job Application — Sometimes also referred to as an Application for Employment. Many organizations
require you to complete an application (either to get an interview or prior to an interview). Even though
many of the questions duplicate information from your resume, it is extremely important to complete the
application neatly, completely, and accurately.
Job Boards — Also referred to as Job Sites. There are five levels or types of job boards:
general job boards and job-search engines (such as Monster.com and Indeed.com), industry-specific job boards (such as
TeachingJobs.com), geographic-specific job boards (such as AtlantaJobs.com), job-seeker specific
“niche” boards (such as MBAJobs.com), and company career centers (such as HomeDepot.com).
Job Clubs — Sometimes known as networking clubs or job-finding clubs,
enables you to expand your network of contacts — and also serves as a key support group
when the job-hunt is longer or harder than you expected. A great tool for job-hunting, and
job-seekers can either join an existing club or start your own!
Job Fair — See Career Fair.
Job-Hunting Etiquette — There are certain rules or protocols that should guide a
job-seeker’s conduct while job-hunting. Some people call these rules good manners, but more
refer to them as business etiquette. Read more.
Job-Hunting Online — Not a magic elixir that will guarantee that you find a job,
but still a door to opportunities and techniques not available before the advent of the Net.
Most job-seekers should spend no more than about 20 percent of their time and effort looking for a job
online, though job-seekers in the technology/computer industry might be wise to spend up to 50
percent of their time looking for a job online. Read more.
Find the most current trends in online job-hunting by reading the
Quintessential Careers Reports on the
State of Internet Job-Hunting.
Job Interviewing — All about making the best matches. Both the employer and the job-seeker
want to determine if the fit is right between them. First impressions are key (see “dress for success”), and
preparation is critical to interviewing success. Read more.
- screening interviews — usually conducted by a member of the human resources department, the screening
interview is designed to weed out unqualified candidates. Providing facts about your skills is more
important than establishing rapport.
- traditional interviews — uses broad-based questions such as, “why do you want to work for this company,”
and “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” Interviewing success or failure is more often
based on the job-seeker’s ability to communicate and establish rapport than on the
authenticity or content of their answers. Read more.
- behavioral interviews — based on the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future behavior
and uses questions that probe specific past behaviors, such as “tell me about a time where you confronted
an unexpected problem” and “tell me about an experience when you failed to achieve a goal.”
- panel/group interviews — uses a committee of people, usually around a table, asking questions. The key to
this type of interview is to balance eye contact with both the person who asked the question and the remainder of the group.
- case interviews — used primarily by management-consulting firms to determine how well suited you are to
the consulting field. Case interviews measure problem-solving ability, tolerance for ambiguity, and
communication skills along several dimensions. The idea is to find out how well you identify,
structure, and think through problems. Read more.
- situational interviews — sometimes also referred to as a scenario-based (problem-solving) interview,
where the job-seeker is placed in a hypothetical situation (such as dealing with an irate customer), and is judged by how well s/he reacts to complex information and
ability to resolve problem and arrive at solutions. Read more.
- stress interviews — usually are a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself under pressure. The
interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Expect these things to happen,
and when it does, don’t take it personally. Calmly answer each question as it comes. Also called intimidation interviews.
- phone interviews — have only one purpose: to decide if there is a good enough match to justify a site visit.
Make sure to set a specific time for your telephone interview — not just “sometime this week.”
Job Offer — See Offer of Employment.
Job Satisfaction — A term to describe how content an individual is with his or her job. It includes many factors, including the
work itself, value to the organization, impact on organization, compensation, and more. When workers are very unhappy with their jobs, they
suffer both mentally and physically. Read more.
Job Scams — job offers and work-at-home businesses designed to deceive and defraud innocent job-seekers.
These all too often “get rich quick” scams are designed to take your identity or your money — or both. Job-seekers can protect themselves
by never releasing confidential information about themselves or their finances to any recruiter, headhunter, or business. Also be wary
of any unsolicited emails — even when the email appears to be legitimate.
Job Search Agent — A program offered by many job boards that allows job-seekers to passively search for
jobs by selecting criteria for new job postings. At some time interval, the program emails the job-seeker a list
of new job postings that fit the criteria, allowing the job-seeker to decide whether to take any action.
Job-Search Domino Effect — States that five key phases comprise any good job search, and if you ignore any
one of them or conduct one poorly, the likelihood of a successful job search decreases dramatically — just
as if you pulled a domino out of a row of dominos. Read more.
Job-Seeker SEO — A strategy in which passive (or active) job-seekers use proven search engine
optimization strategies to increase the ranking and popularity of personal, branded career Websites.
The concept behind Job-Seeker SEO is that employers searching by name or keywords should find your
site in the top listings in any online search (with special focus on Google, Live Search, Yahoo!).
Job Shadowing — One of the most popular work-based learning activities because it provides job-seekers
with opportunities to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities before deciding where they want
to focus their attention. Job shadows involve brief visits to a variety of workplaces, during which time you “shadow,”
observe, and ask questions of individual workers.
Job Skills — The skills you need to do a particular job. For example, an accountant needs to have
good math and accounting skills; a doctor needs to have good medical, scientific, and personal skills.
Job Skills Portfolio — Also referred to as a Career Portfolio, a job-hunting tool a job-seeker develops
to give employers a complete picture of who you are, including samples of your work — your experience,
your education, your accomplishments, your skill sets — and what you have the potential to become —
much more than just a cover letter and resume can provide.
Key Accomplishments — An optional part of your resume, but one that is growing in use — especially
with scannable (text-based) resumes. This section should summarize (using nouns as keywords and descriptors)
your major career accomplishments. Sometimes also referred to as “Summary of Accomplishments,”
“Qualifications Summary,” or simply “Accomplishments.” For more details, see resume.
Keyword Resume — See Resume.
Keywords — Nouns and noun phrases that relate to the skills and experience that employers
use to recall resumes scanned into a database. Keywords can be precise “hard” skills —
job-specific/profession-specific/industry-specific skills, technological terms and descriptions of
technical expertise, job titles, certifications, names of products and services, industry buzzwords, etc.
Letter of Acceptance — Used to confirm the offer of employment and the conditions of the
offer; i.e., salary, benefits, starting employment date, etc. It is always a good idea to get
the entire offer in writing. See a
Letter of Agreement — A brief letter outlining the conditions of employment. Whether initiated
by the employer or the candidate, it is always a good idea to get your entire offer in writing. Sometimes
is form-based or may even be an employment contract. See also salary and salary negotiation.
Letter of Interest — See Cover Letter.
Letter of Recommendation — A letter of support for your skills, ability, and work ethic, usually
written by a former boss or co-worker, but could also be from a teacher or personal reference. Good for
applying to graduate school, but seen as fairly worthless in job-hunting because no one who would
write you a recommendation letter would say anything negative about you. See reference list.
Lifestyle Design — coined by Timothy Ferriss (in his books, 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5,
Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich), its premise is that people must determine what is most
important to their lives and design a (sometimes uncoventional) worklife around those values rather than
working 40+ hours for 40-50 years — waiting until retirement to finally beging persuing career passions
and a better quality of living. A key element of a Patchwork Career.
Low-Wage Worker/Low-Wage Job — Call them low-wage workers employed in low-paying, minimal
or no-benefit jobs. Call them exploited or the working poor. Call them living (barely) from
paycheck to paycheck with no job security. Call them under-educated, under-trained, and
under-respected. Call them job-seekers stuck in dead-end jobs. But, whatever you do, do
not call them low-skilled or lazy. Read more.
MBA Internship — An opportunity for full-time MBA students, generally the summer between the first
and second year, to gain critical work experience. Many employers use MBA internships as a critical recruiting tool —
as a three-month trial in which MBA candidates have a chance to participate on key project teams, network with
numerous executives, and make a name for themselves within the organization.
Mentor — A person at a higher level within a company or within your profession who
counsels you and helps guide your career. Some organizations have formal mentoring systems,
while most informal mentoring relationships develop over time. 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.
Moonlighting — The experience of working multiple jobs (also referred to as
dual or multiple jobholding). People working multiple jobs come from just about every
demographic group. Appears to be on the rise. See also Side-Gigs. Read more.
Myers-Briggs — Based on typological theories originated by Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive
the world and make decisions. The original developers of the personality inventory were Katharine Cook Briggs and
her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. The 16 different types are usually referred to by an abbreviation of four letters.
One of each of the following pairs constitutes one’s four-letter type: Extraversion or Introversion,
Sensing or iNtuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving.
See also Assessments. Find assessments
using this method.
Networking — Involves developing a broad list of contacts — people you’ve met through
various social, professional, and business functions — and encouraging them assist you in looking for a job.
People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about
a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
See also social networking. Read more.
Non-Traditional Careers — Careers in which fewer than 25 percent of the workforce is of one gender.
There are many pros and cons for job-seekers considering working in a non-traditional career path.
Non-Verbal Communications (Nonverbals) — What you don’t say in a job interview may be just as important as the content of what you do say.
Non-verbal communications are about how you present yourself — what you say to the interviewer through
activities such as handshake, eye contact, facial expressions (including smiling), body posture, and hand gestures.
Occupational Outlook Handbook — Published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, this guide provides detailed information on more than 250 occupations. The Handbook
discusses the nature of the work and the typical working conditions for persons in each occupation. In
addition, it details the requirements for entry and the opportunities for advancement.
Offer of Employment — An offer by an employer to a prospective employee that usually
specifies the terms of an employment arrangement, including starting date, salary, benefits, working
conditions. Also called a job offer. Read more.
Older (Mature) Workers — Job-seekers who are older than 45 face more challenges in the job-search
than other types of job-seekers. See also Baby-Boomers and Third-Age.
Overqualified — A label employers often use on mid-career job-seekers who appear to have
one of three flaws: too many years of experience, too much education, too highly paid in current or
previous job. Read more.
Passive Job-Search, Passive Job-Seeker — A strategy where employed workers stay prepared for new job and career
opportunities by maintaining a current resume, continuing to network, staying registered with one
or more job-search agents. You are not openly on the job market, but keep an interest in new
Patchwork Career, Patchworker — a freelance career strategy coined by Dr. Kristin Cardinale (in The
9-to-5 Cure: Work on Your Own Terms and Reinvent Your Life), in which a person runs own business, selectively
choosing and completing
work projects for multiple employers — with its core centered around certain values and lifestyle factors
that you deem most important (using Lifestyle Design) — based on the idea that working for a number of employers
simultaneously presents unique business opportunities and insulates the Patchworker from sudden and total job
loss. See also Portfolio Career. Read more.
Personal Brand — See Career Branding.
Personal Mission Statement — Helps job-seekers identify their core values and beliefs. Writing a personal
mission statement offers the opportunity to establish what’s important and perhaps make a decision to stick to
it before we even start a career. Or it enables us to chart a new course when we’re at a career crossroads.
Phone Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Portfolio Career — A situation where instead of working a traditional full-time job, job-seekers work
multiple part-time jobs (including part-time employment, temporary jobs, freelancing, and self-employment) with
different employers that when combined are the equivalent of a full-time position. Portfolio careers offer more
flexibility, variety, and freedom, but also require organizational skills as well as risk tolerance.
Quarterlife Crisis — A period in your twenties marked by high anxiety about your career — and finding
a “true” career, multiple job and/or career changes, fears and self-doubt about achieving career and personal goals, depression,
and feeling lost or adrift. Experts say that the crisis hits folks in their twenties, because after years of learning the
system of how to succeed in school, college grads are thrown into the world of work with no real understanding
of how to succeed in it. Read more.
Questions — Toward the end of most job interviews, the interviewer will give the job-seeker an opportunity to ask questions.
Doing so shows your interest in the position and employer. The key is to ask at least a few questions — and not
easily answered questions (such as, “what are your major product lines?”) that you should know from your
research, but thoughtfully prepared questions.
Recareering — A trendy term for career-change, especially as it applies to Baby Boomers who when
facing retirement age and tired of a long career performing one kind of work decide to change careers.
(Sometimes also referred to as Career 2.0, yet another trendy term.) For more details, see Career Change,
Baby-Boomers, and Third Age.
Recession Job-Hunting — While certainly not the best time to seek new employment, job-seekers with solid
experience and a well-developed job-search plan can obtain job offers. The key to job-hunting in a recession is the amount of
time that must be put into preparation and the actual job-search. Furthermore, because the hiring process is typically stretched
to extremely lengthy periods, successful job-seekers must have both patience and persistence.
Recruiters/Headhunters/Executive Search Firms — Professionals who are paid by employers to
find candidates for specific positions. They often recruit candidates, but job-seekers can also approach
them. Often specialize by industry or geographic region. Avoid any firms that require you to
pay for their services. Read more.
Reference List — Sometimes also referred to as a Reference Sheet. Simply a listing — with
key contact information — of your references. Never include references on your resume or cover letter;
they should be listed on a separate references sheet that matches the look of your resume.
Never provide a list of references to an employer unless you are requested to do so.
See these sample reference lists.
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), 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. Read more.
Researching Companies — The process of gathering information about a company, its
products, its locations, its corporate culture, its financial successes. This information is extremely
valuable in a job interview where you can show off your knowledge of the company, and can also
help you in writing your cover letter.
Resigning/Resignations — When you decide it’s time to quit your job (also referred to as
giving notice), it’s always better to submit your official resignation — with your industry’s customary
amount of notice. Whenever possible, do not leave on bad terms with your employer.
Resume — 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.
Read more. See also:
- chronological resumes — the most common type of job-seeker resume, it’s a resume organized by your employment history in reverse
chronological order, with company/job titles/accomplishments/dates of employment.
- electronic resumes — see electronic resume above.
- functional resumes — a resume organized by skills and functions; bare-bones
employment history often listed as a separate section.
- keyword resumes — an e-resume typically identified by a keyword summary
(and heavy usage of keywords throughout resume) that emphasizes key nouns and
phrases. See keywords above. Read more.
- scannable resumes — a resume that has been prepared to maximize the job seeker’s visibility in an
electronic resume database or electronic resume tracking system. Becoming somewhat less important as more and more
companies simply request electronic versions of resumes.
- text resumes — also referred to as text-based or ASCII resumes, a resume that has been prepared
to maximize the job seeker’s visibility in an electronic resume database or electronic resume tracking system.
- video resumes — a video resume is a short video of the job-seeker
essentially selling himself or herself to potential employers. Contrary to its name, a video resume
is not your resume on video but actually a short promo enticing the employer to take a look at your “real” resume.
- Web-based resume — a resume that resides on the Web. A Web-based resume can range from
quite ordinary to very elaborate. Fundamental principles of good resume writing, content, and design
apply. Read more.
- Curriculum Vitae — also called a CV or vita and similar to a resume,
but more formal, and includes a detailed listing
of items beyond the typical resume items, such as publications, presentations, professional
activities, honors, and additional information. Tends to be used by international job-seekers, and
those seeking a faculty, research, clinical, or scientific position.
Review some Sample CVs.
Resume Focal Point — a device (or set of devices) that instantly tells a hiring decision-maker
what job or type of job the candidate seeks and what his or her top selling points are.
RIASEC — Acronym for the career-related personality types developed by psychologist John L. Holland. The letters
in RIASEC stand for: Realistic (practical, physical, hands-on, tool-oriented); Investigative (analytical,
intellectual, scientific, explorative); Artistic (creative, original, independent, chaotic); Social (cooperative,
supporting, helping, healing/nurturing); Enterprising (competitive environments, leadership, persuading);
Conventional (detail-oriented, organizing, clerical). See also Assessments.
Find assessments using this method.
Salary — Financial compensation an employee receives for performing the job, and part of
your compensation package. Can be determined by hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
Also can include overtime pay, bonuses, and commissions. See also Benefits and Compensation
Package. Read more.
Salary History — Some employers will request that you submit a salary history.
A salary history tells them the level and frequency of your promotions. It should be separate
page from your resume or cover letter. Be sure to include the full compensation you received
in each job, not just salary information. By providing a salary history, you sometimes place
yourself in a precarious position of either pricing yourself out of the position or appearing to
be at a lower level than the company seeks.
Salary Negotiation — An extremely important process in which job-seekers attempt to
obtain the best compensation package possible, based on skills and experience, the industry
salary range, and the company’s guidelines. See also Benefits, Compensation Package, and Salary.
Salary Requirements — Some employers may ask you to state the salary you require for
a specific job opening. You’ve got to be careful here. If your salary requirement is too high, you
won’t get an offer. If it’s too low, you won’t get what you’re worth. The best strategy is to
state that you’re open to any fair offer and are willing to negotiate.
Scannable Resume — See Resume.
Side-Gig/Side-Hustle/Micro-Business — An entrepreneurial endeavor that a person starts in addition to working a full-time job (or sometimes,
in combinations with other entrepreneurial endeavors as part of a portfolio career). People start side-gigs for a variety of reasons, though the most
common seems to be earn additional money to pay off bills, gain financial independence, or simply enhance savings. In the past, most moonlighting was accomplished by working a second
part-time job (such as working in retail or hospitality); more people today, however, are discovering their inner entrepreneur.
Situational Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Social Networking — A process for helping make connections with other people, developing a personal career
“brand” identity, and maintaining a good online reputation. While social networking has traditionally involved meeting people in
person, social networking now also includes networking through Websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. The key
success of any social network is not just the people you know — or whom you are friends with — but also with all the other
people they know. See also networking. Read more.
STAR, SAR — An organizational method used by job-seekers to help develop stories needed to answer
behaviorally-based interview questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result. Job-seekers should first
describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Next, describe the action you took
to deal with the situation and accomplish the tasks. Finally, describe the outcome(s) of your actions —
and anything you learned from the entire process. Read more.
Stress Interview — See Job Interviewing.
Summer Jobs/Part-Time Jobs for Teens — Whether it’s to gain experience, earn some spending money, or
save for college, getting a summer or part-time job is almost a rite of passage for most teens.
Teens are often limited to certain types of jobs and hours worked per week.
Survival Job — Typically a low-end, low-paying job that a displaced job-seeker takes on a
temporary basis (often as a last resort) to cover basic living costs, in order to survive and avoid bankruptcy — or worse.
Telecommuting — Also referred to as Teleworking, is a employment arrangement where the
employee works one or more days from a remote location, often an office in the employee’s home. For job-seekers
seeking increased job flexibility and reduced commuting times and costs and for employers seeking a better
balance of morale and work efficiency. Read more.
Temping — Working short employment stints with a variety of clients, usually through a
temping agency or staffing firm. Previously temps were mostly administrative, but job-seekers can
now find temping agencies covering most professions. Temping is great for building resume,
learning skills, networking — and job flexibility and variety. See also Temporary Agency.
Temporary (Temp) Agency/Staffing Firms — Companies that place workers in jobs on a
contract or temporary basis. Some provide training. Many are specialized (professional, clerical,
computing, accounting, etc.). See also Temping.
Testing — An increasing number of employers are using a variety of career and skill-based
tests to screen job applicants. Thus, you may be asked to take any number of tests during your job search, from
aptitude and personality tests to honesty and drug tests.
Text Resume — See Resume.
Thank You Letters — After every interview, you should send a letter thanking each
person who interviewed you. It’s just common courtesy, and only a small percentage of job-seekers
actually perform this crucial ritual, so you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Third Age — A time in life, generally from the early 40s to late 60s, often characterized by renewal and personal
growth, newfound freedom, discovery, and enrichment. Inspired by the French phrase “Troisieme Age,” this term currently
also refers to Baby Boomers and mid-lifers, as well as mature workers.
Transferable Skills — Skills you have acquired during any activity in your life — jobs,
classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, virtually anything — that are transferable and applicable to
what you want to do in your next job. Read more
Underemployed — A person who is not working full-time at a level that matches his or her
education, experience, and other qualifications. Someone who is working part-time, but seeks full-time
employment; or, someone who is working in a lower-level position that requires less experience or
skills (thus making the person overqualified for the position).
Underqualified — The underqualified or just plain unqualified label most often plagues
new graduates with limited experience, as well as career-changers whose experience is outside
the area they now wish to pursue. Read more.
USP — An advertising term — unique selling proposition — that refers to the one thing
about a product that makes it distinct from all others. In job-hunting, job-seekers need to find the
one thing that makes you more qualified for this job than anyone else. What can you offer that no
other applicant can? Read more.
Video Resume — See Resume.
Vita — See Resume.
Volunteering — Offering your services free of charge, typically to a not-for-profit organization.
Some college graduates volunteer right after college before starting their careers, which job-seekers
considering a career change can use volnteering work as a great tool to gain experience in a new
career field, as well as establish new networking contacts.
Work Abroad — More and more job-seekers are realizing the many benefits of gaining international work
experience — both personally and professionally. You can gain global work at any stage of your career, though it is
often easier to find full-time employment once you have at least several years of experience domestically. College
students and recent grads, however, can also find a variety of international experiences.
Workaholism — A condition where work becomes all-consuming, becoming more important than
personal or family obligations. The person lives for his or her work, has only work friends,
rarely takes time off, and is always in communication with the office. Does not function well outside work.
Workplace Values — Concepts and ideas that define a job-seeker and influence your satisfaction —
not only with your job, but with your life. Job-seekers should perform a values check every few years to
make sure your career is on track. Read more.
Workplace Wellness Programs — Encourages employees to take steps to prevent the onset or worsening of a
health condition, eliminate unhealthy behaviors and habits, and promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles. There are two types of
wellness programs. First, there are insurance-based programs (that lower premiums if employees agree to certain lifestyle changes).
Second, there are employer-based programs (in which the employer is truly trying to change the lives of its employees for the better).
See also our Job-Seeker’s
Glossary of Key Marketing Terms
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