To aid your job search, Resume Genius provides these easy-to-understand definitions for commonly used resume, recruitment, employment and job-seeker terms. Click any of the letters below to quickly navigate to the relevant section.
Accomplishments: Also referred to as achievements, these are points where you have attained success in your career, whether they are meeting strict deadlines, closing a particularly valuable deal, or successful completion of a project. Include accomplishments on your resume to show your strength as a worker.
Action Verbs: A word that depicts a positive action. It is recommended you use ‘action verbs’ at the start of each ‘bullet point’ to demonstrate your skills, experience and primarily, your accomplishments. Good examples include: achieved, developed, spearheaded, devised, implemented, etc.
Additional Skills: Section of a resume that is used to present any skills or assets you have that can be used to make you a more viable employee. These often include language skills or computer programs you are familiar with.
a) verb to send your information (usually a resume) to a company with the intention of gaining employment within that organization. Usually followed by a period of nervousness and anxiety, which can develop into bitterness and resentment if the given organization does not reply.
b) 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 their HR department.
Assessments: A series of questions that are provided, usually by a recruiting company, and used to “get a better understanding of the applicant”, though it is largely believed these are implemented to test an applicant’s strengths and help select strongest candidates.
Availability: Period of time during a weekly-schedule that an applicant is available to work. Occasionally requested by employer to gain an understanding of how versatile a potential employee is with regards to scheduling shift work (best to show maximum availability!).
Baby Boomer Job-Seeker/Worker: A person born during the baby-boom following WW2 who is now reaching the end of their career.
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Background Check: Conducted by a potential employer to validate the information initially provided by applicant. This can include investigating credit scores, criminal history, and employment history by contacting references, etc.
Benefits: Additional compensation provided by employer to employee that supplement wage/monetary payment, and may include: paid vacation, sick leave, child care, retirement/pension fund, stock options, health/dental insurance, bonuses, tuition subsidies, etc.
Bullet points: Short sentences starting with an action verb, that are listed under each job you include in the professional experience section of your resume. These are meant to highlight your core responsibilities and duties, while showcasing your achievements/what you did well within your previous work positions.
Contact Details: Information detailed at the start of your resume that must include your phone number, email address and full name. Without this, you cannot be contacted if they wish to arrange an interview! Simple enough, but incredibly a relatively large number of resumes are circulated with missing or incorrect phone numbers. If you do not have an email address, you must open an email account and create an email address with sensible naming. Try to go for joe.bloggs@emial domain.com and avoid joelovestheLAdodgers@emaildomain.com
Customer Service: A specific work industry, also a skill. Customer service is the ability to resolve a customer’s problem in an amicable manner that ensures customer satisfaction. Employers create customer service departments to ensure client/customer satisfaction, helping generate repeat customers and also new customers that have heard good reports about a given organization.
SEE ALSO › Customer Service Resume Samples
Career Change: When a candidate who is predominantly experienced in one industry decides to pursue a job in a different industry.
Career Coach: 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 on how to approach contact negotiations, what promotions or new jobs you should apply for and how to seek career development.
Career Objective: A short introductory paragraph at the start of your resume that can be used to dictate your vocational ambitions for the future. It is recommended these ambitions align with those of the company you are applying for.
SEE ALSO › How to Write a Career Objective
Company description: The Professional Experience section of your resume should briefly describe each organization you worked at. You are looking to summarize the size of the company and your scope of responsibility, by including certain metrics such as overall revenue, employee headcount, products/services rendered, etc. This all helps the interviewer getting a better understanding of you as a candidate, especially if they may not be familiar with the company your previously worked at.
Cover Letter: A letter that accompanies your resume when submitted to a recruiting organization. This is used to briefly introduce yourself on a more personal level, while highlighting 3-4 of your main skills relevant to the job being sought. It often includes a polite request to review the accompanying resume and be considered for interview.
SEE ALSO › How to Write a Targeted Cover Letter
Certifications Section: A section on a resume used to present your certifications – usually implemented when an applicant possesses specific certifications required for a given job opening.
Critique: A service provided by some resume services where a resume expert reviews your resume and advises on it’s strengths and, more importantly, it’s weaknesses.
Diversity job-seekers: Disadvantaged job seekers that face additional challenges and possible discrimination when applying for a job.
Education Section: Section of the resume that is used to showcase academic achievements. This can be placed at the top of the resume for recent graduates or those with minimal work experience, or lower down the page if your work experience is your primary asset.
SEE ALSO › Education Section Resume Guide
Employment Gap: A period of unemployment in your working history. These can pose issues when applying for a job since recruiters prefer continuity in someone’s work history. However, these can be caused by a number of reasons that shouldn’t affect your application, including pregnancy, providing full-time care to a sick relative, etc.
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Employment History: The history of your working life, i.e. your professional experience. This is summarized on a resume by showing your key responsibilities, achievements and duties for each job you held throughout your working history.
Entry Level: Applicants with minimal to no experience in a given sector are considered ‘entry level’. This can also refer to graduates and people that have recently left education, who posses minimal professional experience.
Equal Opportunities Employer: Companies often highlight the fact they are an equal opportunities employer, meaning they do not select employee based on race, gender, religion, age or disability, and follow EEOC guidelines.
Federal Resume: A specific resume formatting criteria with which all resumes that are used to apply to federal jobs must comply. For example, the resume must include full work history, more detailed employer information, your social security number, can include personal pronouns when writing KSAs, etc.
Follow up: Where a job seeker will proactively locate contact information for a recruiter and then call/email them directly to draw their attention to their application/submitted resume. This is done to show your interest and enthusiasm for the organization, supposedly demonstrating your commitment as a potential employee.
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Functional Resume: A style of resume formatting that initially presents your key skills or core competencies, and then summarizes any accomplishments you have from your entire career. Work history is then listed further down the page, only citing company name, location, job title and dates of employment. Often used by candidates with many jobs in their work history or those with work history gaps.
SEE ALSO › Resume Formats
Grade Point Average (GPA): A way of quantifying academic achievement and ability by taking the average of a student’s performance throughout school (either high school or university). Should only be detailed on a resume if above 3.0.
Human Resources: An organization’s department responsible for looking after that organization’s staff. This includes a wide range of jobs, including hiring new staff, arranging vacation, maintaining employee records, training new employees, etc.
Hidden Job Market: Refers to the percentage of job openings that are not openly advertised. This represents about 75% of all job vacancies, meaning only 25% of all job openings are made aware to the public. This highlights the need for jobseekers to investigate organizations where they feel they can work and actively contact them, pursuing specific jobs, and getting your resume to their HR department in case a job opens up.
I-9: (a.k.a. Employment Eligibility Verification form) A governmental form that must be filled out once you are hired, that authorizes your legality to work within the United States.
Internship: A form of work experience, usually acquired by entry level job seekers, whereby a person applies to work in a given industry for a set period of time, (usually a matter of a few months) without payment with the sole purpose of attaining experience within a given job role.
Interview: A part of job recruitment where a candidate meets with a representative of a recruiting organization. This usually involves answering a number of questions designed to assess the applicant’s ability to perform a given job. This can also involve additional assessments/tests to gauge an applicants essential skills and potential to learn/develop.
SEE ALSO › Common Interview Questions and Answers
Job Boards: Websites that employers use to post job openings.
Job Fair: (also referred to as career fair) An event where employers, often large companies or corporations advertise new job opening and work to recruit new talent. A great place for job seekers to find potential employers.
Key Skill: A person’s ability to perform a specific vocational function particularly well. For example, someone with a lot of experience in human resources may be great at training new staff. They therefore possess a key skill in ‘training’.
Key Word Optimize: To include within a given sample of text specific words in a high volume. When writing your resume, you want to ensure specific ‘key words’ are included that match what a recruiter is looking for. For example, an IT developer should include the key words ‘ruby on rails’ or ‘java script’ if those programming languages are required for the job they are applying for.
Key Selection Criteria: A selection of key attributes and skills a recruiter is looking for in an applicant. These are often presented in a list of bullet points within a job advert.
KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities): A selection criteria used to identify stronger candidates applying for federal job positions. When a federal job vacancy is advertised, it will outline within that job post the necessary KSA’s. These are considered the core competencies required by applicants. An applicant needs to communicate that they possess such KSAs when applying for this job. This can be accomplished by including an explanatory paragraph detailing an experience where they implemented each given KSA with successful results. One of many ways a federal job applications and resume differs to a civilian resume.
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Letter of recommendation: A letter written by a previous employer or someone senior to you, that explains details your strengths, such as skills, abilities, work ethic, personality, etc. A recruiter rarely seeks these, but often play a major role in graduate school applications.
Mentor/Mentoring Program: A mentor is someone in a senior position, often within the same company who is assigned to help guide your career progression and help you develop as an employee. Some corporations implement mentoring schemes to help intercompany interaction and also to assist and ensure personal development on employees.
Merit Increase: A pay raise based on an employee’s performance. This can also refer to increases in wage based on years worked at a given company.
Moonlighting: Where a person holds multiple jobs; refers to someone working at night (during moonlit hours) in addition to a standard daytime job.
Networking: The development of professional contacts so that they can assist you in your career development and progression; usually through friends, colleagues, industry relevant events, old school mates, etc.
Non-verbal Communication: Refers to the messages you give off when not speaking – body language is one form of non-verbal communication. This is an important aspect of good interview technique.
Over qualified: Where an applicant has too much experience or holds a higher education than is required for a given job position. Also refers to applicants that have received considerably higher wages in previous jobs than what is being offered for a vacancy.
Occupational Hazard: Something that can potentially harm an employer while performing their job on a day-to-day basis. For example, a mailman may consider angry/vicious dogs an occupational hazard.
Passive Job Search: When an employee maintains an up-to-date resume and continues to review job boards and seek potential promotions or new jobs, while being employed, effectively keeping their options open.
Pay range: Job adverts often do not cite a specific annual wage. A pay range that shows you the lowest to the highest value in wages an applicant can expect if they are successful, is often presented. This is because an employer wants the freedom to adjust the amount they want to pay, based on experience, potential, etc.
Post-graduate study: Someone in full-time education having already completed a bachelor’s degree.
Personal mission statement: Written by job seekers to outline their priorities, core values and vocational beliefs. Used as a guide to follow to ensure your career is progressing as you want it to.
Portfolio Career: Someone who works numerous part time jobs that total up to full time hours. This can offer greater work flexibility, and a broader range of skills; however can lead to a busy schedule.
Promotion: when you receive a new job role within the same company, that usually involves some aspect of progression, whether that be a pay rise, greater authority, or greater autonomy.
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.
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.
Quantify/quantification: The process of including as much numerical data in your resume as possible, to demonstrate your scope of responsibility, and your success. For example, as a salesman you want to list an estimate value of sales you generated on a monthly basis, how often you met your sales targets, the value of the single largest sale you made, etc. Fiscal data stands out and catches the eye of a recruiter better than lengthy worded descriptions.
Relevant Experience: The central concept of a well-written resume is to present ‘relevant experience’ that you have, based on the requirements of the job opening you want to apply for.
Re-careering: A recently coined, trendy phrase that describes career change job seekers. Frequently used by ‘baby-boom generation’ workers that are looking for a career change, pursuing a more ‘low-stress’ job at the end of an often-successful career.
Recruiter/Headhunter: Professionals whose primary job function is to find the best candidates to be interviewed for a specific job opening. This is often implemented when finding candidates for senior management, corporate or highly skilled positions.
References: A list of people that can be contacted by a recruiting company to ask for their opinion on your professional capabilities. These usually include previous employers, or for an entry-level candidates a university lecturer can be detailed.
Researching a company: The process of researching a company that you intend to apply to work for. It is recommended you review products rendered, company ethos/corporate culture, company success, etc. This provides great talking points when in interview and will leave a great impression.
Resume: A short, concise document, ideally one page in length (2 at max) that is used by a job seeker to distribute their employment information with the goal of gaining interview. It ideally includes your essential contact information, present any educational/qualification based achievements, plus highlight relevant work experience that identify your ability to perform the job being advertised.
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Salary: The financial compensation received by an employee for services rendered. This can be based on hours worked, weekly, monthly, etc.
Salary Negotiations: The process where a job seeker can attempt to attain the highest compensation package, having successfully been offered a job. This is often more successful if you have great work experience, or unique skills.
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.
Summary of Qualifications: An introductory paragraph placed at the top of your resume after your contact information. Usually only a few sentences long, it should be tailored to highlight all your specific qualifications that would be relevant to the job being sought. For example, Vice president of sales with over 10 years experience leading a multi-million dollar technology company, seeking a sales management role at leading software company.
SEE ALSO › How to Write a Qualifications Summary
Survival job: A job that can by common opinion be considered ‘low skilled’, and that receives compensation package close to minimum wage, that is taken on to avoid financial turmoil, bankruptcy, and other hardship.
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.
Thank-you letter: A formal letter sent to a recruiting manager following interview. It provides a final ‘good impression’ through showing courtesy. Not commonly implemented by job seekers, but can really make a difference at that crucial moment when recruiters are considering the success of interviewees.
SEE ALSO › How to Write a Thank You Letter
Time stamped: When a recruiter rejects an applicant’s resume because they feel the applicant is too old. This is technically a form of discrimination, however large numbers of late middle-aged job seekers fail to find work despite possessing necessary qualifications and experience. To avoid this happening to you, you can choose to not list the year you graduated from university.
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Transferable skills: Skills attained from one industry or field of work, which can be implemented in a different sector. For example, an army officer may have no direct experience working in a retail manager position, however life in the army will have given him leadership, planning, communication skills, etc. that can all be successfully transferred and implemented in a retail management role.
Under qualified: A label frequently applied to job applicants that simply do not possess sufficient academic qualification, or experience, or both, that would be required for an advertised job.
Unemployment benefits: A source of financial income provided by the government that is given to help support the unemployed so that they can pay for basic living costs. This is often proportionate to the value of tax contributions made already.
Volunteering: Working for a company or organization without financial compensation, usually so that the worker can develop new skills and gain experience, increasing their economic viability.
Work-place wellness programs: A program offered by some companies that aims to increase staff morale. It usually involves subsidizing or offering free fitness classes, gym memberships, plus financial subsidies for workers that may want to take time off work to pursue something that increases their physical/mental happiness.
Years of Experience: The amount of years you have been working; usually asked when referring to one specific line of work, for example: “how many years experience do you have in management?”