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Explore this 30 Job-Seeker’s Glossary (A-D) of Key Job-Hunting, Career, and Employment Terms.



Quintessential’s 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.

Have questions about any career lingo? Check out Glossary of Terms –

1. Accomplishments — these are the achievements you have had in your career. These key points really help sell you to an employer — much more so than everyday job duties or responsibilities. In your cover letters, CVs, and job interviews, focus on key career accomplishments — especially ones that you can quantify. See our post/article on how to sell yourself career-wise.

2. Action Verbs — The building blocks of effective cover letters and CVs. These concrete, descriptive verbs express your skills, assets, experience, and accomplishments. Avoid non-descriptive verbs such as “do,” “work,” and forms of the verb “to be.” Instead, begin each descriptive section with an action verb. Almost every CV book has a list of great action verbs to choose from. Read our post on the list of Keywords for your CV.

3. 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.

4. Background Check — Used by employers, depending on the kind of job that you are looking for, to verify the accuracy of the information you provide on your CV or job application — and beyond. On the rise as prices fall on these services. Items checked to include employment verification, educational background/degrees, references, credit history, medical records, driving record, court records, criminal records, and more. Some employers Google or check potential employees on Facebook, My Space, Bebo etc. That is why it is important to keep your information and pictures clean especially if you are looking for employment and if everyone can view your wall, picture etc

5. Behavioural Interview –Behavioural Interview Questions, also called Situational, is used as a tool in job interviews to discover how your performance in a previous job may contribute to your future performance in the role being recruited for.

Behavioural Interviewing is becoming increasingly common and is used by many large organisations such as BT, Accenture and many of the large banking organisations.

The basic theory is that past behaviour in work-related situations can be used as a predictor of future performance and studies have shown this technique to be about 5 times more accurate than traditional interview questions when selecting new employees.
How Behavioural Interview Questions Work

When using behavioural interviewing techniques the interviewer will ask open-ended interview questions relating to your behaviour in past situations and will try to match these with the pre-set requirements of the role.

These Behaviour Based Interview Questions require you to provide specific examples of what you have done in the past and usually take the form of:

• Tell me about a time when you…
• Give an example of a situation…
• Describe a situation…

They are designed to gather detailed evidence and you will find that once you have given your answer the interviewer will probe deeper and may pick certain aspects to investigate further.
6. 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 per cent of your salary. See also Compensation Package and Salary.

7. 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.

8. Career Assessment — an assessment test to determine the right career choice for you. Whether you are looking for a career change, a new role as a result of redundancy or you have just reached a career crossroads triggered by a change of circumstances, taking a career assessment test will provide pointers to help you to make the right choices to get your career back on track.

9. Career Branding — Helps define who you are, how you are great at what you do to set yourself aside from the competition, and why you should be sought out. Branding is your reputation. Branding is about building a name for yourself, showcasing or highlighting what sets you apart from other job-seekers, and describing the added value you bring to an employer.

10. 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.

11. 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, advocate, mentor, partner, and sounding board on all issues related to your job or career search.

12. 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.

13. Career Fair — There are many types of job and career fairs — from those scheduled during for college/university 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.

14. Career Objective/Job Objective — An optional part of your CV, but something you should contemplate whether you place it on your CV or not. It can sharpen the focus of your CV and should be as specific as possible — and written in a way that shows how you can benefit the employer.

15. 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 fulfilment from your job, there is always time to discover a career for which you do have passion.

16. 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.

17. Career Portfolio — Career portfolios are used to plan, organize and document education, work samples and skills. People use career portfolios to apply to university, training programs, get a job, get a higher salary, show transferable skills, and to track personal development. They are more in-depth than a CV, which is used to summarise the above in one or two pages. Career portfolios serve as proof of your skills, abilities, and potential in the future. Career Portfolios are becoming common schools, college, and workforce development.

18. Career Vision Statement — A set of career goals that 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. This is your answer to the interviewer’s question of where do you see yourself in five years?

19. Case Interview — A case interview is a job interview in which the applicant is given a question/situation/problem/challenge and asked to resolve the situation. The case problem is often a business situation or a business case that the interviewer has worked on in real life.

After the applicant is given information about the case, the applicant is expected to ask the interviewer logical and sequential questions that will enable the applicant to understand the situation, probe deeper into relevant areas, gather pertinent information and arrive at a solution or recommendation for the question or situation at hand. During case interviews, interviewers are generally looking for the following skills:

• Numerical and verbal reasoning skills
• Communication and presentation skills
• Business skills and commercial awareness

20. Chronological CV –. The chronological CV is named thus as it details your career history most commonly in reverse chronological order with the most recent employment detailed first and working backwards. A complete record of career history is detailed along with a complete education record. It is the most frequently used CV

21. Cold Call — When a job-seeker approaches an employer (usually through an uninvited cover letter) who has not publicly announced any job openings.

22. Company Research — A key resource for job-seekers is information. As a Job-seeker, you will not succeed in your job-search without knowledge of the companies you are interviewing with or information on the industries and countries where these companies do business or their products. The internet is God sent and it is designed to serve as a resource for anyone trying to conduct research and find more information about companies, industries, etc..

23. 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.

24. Contract Employee — Where you work for one organisation (and its salary and benefits structure) that sells your services to another company on a project or time basis.

25. Corporate Culture — The collection of beliefs, expectations, and values shared by an organisation’s members and transmitted from one generation of employees to another. The culture sets norms (rules of conduct) that define the acceptable behaviour of employees of the organisation. It’s important for job-seekers to understand the culture of an organisation before accepting a job.

26. 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.

27. Cover Letter — Should always accompany your CV 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 CV. See our post on cover letters.

• uninvited (cold contact) cover letter — The most common type of cover letter, since such a large percentage (80-95 per cent) 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.
• 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. The employer expects — and even welcomes the cover letters.
• 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.

28. Curriculum Vitae (CV) — A CV/résumé, also spelt resumé or resume; also called curriculum vitae or CV, is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. The résumé or CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment. See our posts on CVs.

29. 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.

30. Diversity Job-Seekers — Numerous disadvantaged groups — Minority groups whom, because of their affiliation, are often put at a disadvantage when seeking employment. Sometimes also known as ‘Minority Job Seekers’. This group often face extra challenges in the job search.

If you enjoy exploring this job-seeker’s glossary, see the ever-growing list and other brilliant career articles at Quintessential Careers.

Read more …

Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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