75 Job Terms To Know For 2023 (Career Terms)

job terms

Career Terms

Throughout the job search process, you will likely come across recruiters who regularly use unique job related terms that you have never heard of. Heck, I’m working in the space and haven’t heard of a good handful of them.

While you don’t need to know the in depth details of each term, it’s important to be aware of them to make the interview and hiring experience run smoothly.

Knowing industry-specific terms can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your field which can be beneficial for your career growth.

This list we built up below will run through common employment related terms/definitions to help you prepare for your next career conversation – whether that’s with a hiring manager or your current boss.

75 Career Terms for the Year 2023

401K Definition

What Is A 401k?

A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings and investing account that many employers offer to their employees.

Employees can fund the account with money they earn, either through salary deductions or directly from their paycheck. Employers may also match employee contributions.

The 401(k) plan was designed by the US Congress to encourage Americans to save for retirement. 

For 2021, the annual limit on employee contributions is $19,500 per year for workers under the age of50, and for the coming year, the limit is $20,500 per year.

Action Verb Definition

What Is An Action Verb?

Action verbs are words that show the subject’s behavior or action in a sentence. They are used to convey information and emotion. An example of an action verb is “to drink” or “to go out.”

These words are often used to describe physical or mental activity, and are an essential part of the written language. Here’s a quick action verbs definition: A good example of an action-oriented word is “spearhead.” As you can see, spearhead implies a leadership position or decisive attitude.

Another example of an action verb is “to lead.” If you are an effective leader, you will be able to convince others to follow you by using this word. An action-oriented word will help you stand out from the crowd.

The most effective action-oriented words are those that show how you can influence others, especially within a resume or during a job interview. These verbs are often combined with quantitative results, such as sales, to prove the effectiveness of an act or idea.

Affirmative Action Definition

What Is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative action refers to policies and practices adopted to include and improve the performance of groups that are traditionally underrepresented. 

These groups may be based on race, gender, nationality, creed, or sexual orientation. 

The policy came to prominence in the USA in the 1960s as a way to promote equal opportunity across various segments of society. The policy was developed to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which sought to eliminate discrimination.

Applicant Tracking System Definition

What Is An Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables an employer to electronically streamline the recruitment process. 

It can be implemented at an enterprise level or can be used by a small business. It is designed to track and organize applications, as well as track applicants and candidates in a single system.

ATS systems have many benefits. The biggest one is that they standardize the information about candidates and allow for easy access to candidate feedback. 

A good ATS can make the hiring process much quicker. By making hiring processes more efficient, an ATS will help save your company money and staff resources.

Apprenticeship Definition

What Is An Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a system around on the job training for new practitioners. In some industries, an apprentice is required to earn a license before moving on to the next stage (plumbers and electricians). 

Some apprentices are paid, and some are unpaid. Many employers offer paid classroom time for their apprentices, but there is no federal requirement that training hours must be paid. 

While the format of an apprenticeship program will vary, all of them have the same basic structure. 

Whether it is a formal training program or a volunteer opportunity, an apprenticeship is a great way to make money and learn about a new industry.

Assessment Definition

What Is An Assessment?

An assessment is used to assess a person’s level of skills, knowledge, and/or quality when applying for a new job. It is an interactive process and is designed to provide constructive feedback to the person conducting the test. 

The results of an assessment allows the hiring company to measure the level of a specific skill they are looking for within applicants.

Background Check Definition

What Is A Background Check?

A background check is a process through which an individual’s past activities, education and criminal record can be checked. The purpose of the process is to verify the identity of the individual. 

In addition, background checks allow prospective employers to verify the employment history of a candidate. While the majority of background checks are public records, the definition varies for different types of background checks.

Behavioral Interview Definition

What Is A Behavioral Interview?

A behavioral interview looks at past actions and behaviors of a candidate rather than future ones. 

It typically consists of questions designed to measure the performance of a candidate in a similar situation. Rather than asking hypothetical questions, behavioral interviewers are looking for the real you and your approach to problems. 

The interviewer wants to get to know the person’s attitude and approach to work. Therefore, candidates should prepare their answers for this type of interview by making a list of examples of how they handled previous situations.

Benefits Definition

What are work benefits?

A employment benefit is something that makes one’s work life easier. Work benefits are generally offered to employees as a form of gratitude for their hard work. A company can also offer benefits to its employees to ensure that they remain happy within their current position. Some common employment benefits include; Health insurance, 401k plan, and vision/dental plans.

While employee benefits are often unpaid, these extra incentives help an employee remain content and productive. If employees are satisfied with their jobs and enjoy their benefits, they will be more likely to stay with the company.

Blue Collar Definition

Who Are Blue Collar Workers?

A blue collar worker is a working class person who generally performs manual and skilled labor. 

Common areas where blue collar positions are found include agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, maintenance and more.Some of these jobs are highly skilled and require high levels of education.

Burnout Definition

What is Burnout?

In 1974, Herbert Freudenberger published a study on the causes of burnout. He described the conditions that could lead to this disorder as a result of prolonged exposure to stress or overwork. He concluded that burnout could affect a person’s mental health, as it can aggravate anxiety and depression.

The symptoms of burnout include reduced efficacy, depersonalization, and exhaustion. It can be caused by a lack of motivation, stress, or a breakdown.

Career Change Definition

What is Career Change?

A career change involves changing a specific type of job or profession. 

For example, someone who worked in oil and gas may choose to work in the clothing eCommerce industry. A person who has worked in an accounting firm may begin training to become a movie producer, while an employee of a clothing company might start his own business.

Career Coach Definition

What is a career coach?

A career coach is a professional who provides career advice and guidance to clients who are seeking a career change. 

Career coaches can help clients sort out their thoughts, develop realistic career plans, and identify strengths and weaknesses. By listening to their clients and discussing their interests and skills, a career coach can help them develop effective and realistic strategies to reach their goals.

Career Fair Definition

What Is A Career Fair?

A career fair is an event where employers and/or recruiters give information about available job opportunities to potential applicants. 

This is a great opportunity for new job seekers to meet and network with a variety of employers. You may find a job that you’re passionate about, or you might find a new company that is hiring and is looking for a new hire.

Career Objective Definition

What Is A Career Objective?

A career objective is a statement describing a person’s career goals and a summary of their professional work history.

It is not a list of personal goals. Instead, it should outline what the prospective employer is looking for in an applicant with your matching skills and experiences. In many cases, the objective is the first thing a reader sees when reading a resume.

Career Passion Definition

What Is Your Career Passion?

Career passion is the reason why you’re passionate about the work you do. Being passionate about your job allows you to put your best effort forward in your work, resulting in improved mental health. 

This is important because people who enjoy their jobs put in the extra effort to succeed. A person who is passionate about their work is often more successful at it than one who doesn’t enjoy it. And the same applies for people who are not passionate about their work. If you love your work, you’ll be able to do it with accuracy and precision.

Career Planning Definition

What Is Career Planning?

Career planning is the process of designing a person’s career and future. 

The goal is to maximize their potential by determining the most effective strategy for advancing their career. If done properly, career plans can also benefit organizations. 

A person’s career development plan will depend on their own abilities and personal preferences.

Compensation Package Definition

What Is A Compensation Package?

A compensation package is an offer made to applicants that an employer provides in exchange for the work you do. This package often includes wages, bonuses and incentives along with other perks and allowances.

While the compensation package may differ from company to company, a great one is guaranteed to attract and retain top employees.

Contract Employee Definition

What Is A Contract Employee?

A contract employee is not considered a regular employee and operates under a contract with a company. They are hired for a specific amount of time for a specific project at a negotiated rate. 

A contract employee may also be referred to as an independent contractor or freelancer.

Corporate Culture Definition

What Is Corporate Culture?

The concept of corporate culture has been around for many years, but what is it? This term identifies the way that employees interact within an organization or work environment.

This is a critical aspect for business performance.

Counter Offer Definition

What Is A Counter Offer?

A counter offer is an option to change a previous offer made by an employer before accepting a new job. Candidates can counter an offer if they don’t agree with the hiring employer’s conditions. 

This allows the applicants and employers to continue working together and to find a solution.

Cover Letter Definition

What Is A Cover Letter?

In the case of a job application, a cover letter is an attached document that reveals more about the applicant. This document often accompanies a curriculum vitae or résumé. 

The goal of a cover letter is to show the hiring manager your qualifications and skills specific to the position you are applying for.

Discipline Procedure Definition

What Is Discipline Procedure?

A disciplinary procedure is a process that a group or an assembly uses to punish members who violate the rules. This process is also used in organizations where the majority does not agree with the decision made by the assembly. 

When an employee commits a disciplinary offense, an employer must follow a specific procedure for addressing the offense. Typically, this process begins with a warning and ends with a formal dismissal or other penalty. A disciplinary procedure must be fair and standardized.

Discrimination Definition

What Is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination is a form of bias or prejudice including any action that creates an unjustifiable difference between individuals – often based on race, sexual orientation, gender, age, religion or group membership. 

Discrimination in the workplace is unlawful and downright wrong.

Dismissal Definition

What Does Dismissal Mean?

The term “dismissal” is commonly used to refer to the termination of an employee’s contract. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as poor performance or gross misconduct.

Dress for Success Definition

What Does Dress for Success Mean?

Dress for success means to choose an outfit and adjust one’s appearance for the purpose of making a good impression, specifically within the workplace.

Elevator Speech Definition

What Is An Elevator Speech?

An elevator speech can be summarized as a short version of a full-blown speech. Often referred to as an elevator pitch, it is a concise, yet powerful, description of a concept in a limited time.

Employee Definition

What Is An Employee?

An employee is a worker who is employed by a company to perform specific work functions in return for financial or other compensation.

The term employee is sometimes used to distinguish contract workers from full time employees who often earn additional benefits from an employer.

Employee Assistance Program Definition

What Is An Employee Assistance Program?

An employee assistance program is a type of support system that helps employees cope with work-related and personal problems that may be impacting their performance or health. 

The program assists employees in identifying and resolving such issues, which may affect their mental well-being or job performance.

Employment At Will Definition

What Does Employment At Will Mean?

Under employment at will, a company has the right to fire an employee without notice and without reason. 

This type of employment is recognized by federal law in all 50 states, but it has certain limitations. A company can’t fire an employee based on his or her race, nationality, or gender.

As such, it’s crucial to understand the definition of at-will employment and how it impacts your position in the company.

Employment Contract Definition

What Is An Employment Contract?

An employment contract is a legal document that formally attributes rights between parties to a job opening. 

There are several types of employment contracts. Fixed-term contracts are used in situations where both parties have agreed to work for a specific amount of time. An indefinite-term contract is used when the employee has agreed to work for a certain amount of time. The duration of an employment contract depends on the nature of the job. A part-time job, for instance, will likely have a fixed duration, while a permanent one will be indefinite.

Whether an individual is hired by a company or is self-employed, an employment contract is a necessary part of labour law.

Employment Gap Definition

What Is An Employment Gap?

An employment gap is a space of unaccounted for gaps between jobs. When it comes to determining a candidate’s potential employment history, employment gaps can make a huge impact on the outcome of an interview. 

While there are plenty of excuses to describe a prolonged time out of the workforce, a more in-depth explanation is best. Many candidates leave months off their resumes because they’ve been working in contract positions. A savvy recruiter will probe the reason for the gap, and will know if a candidate was working for a contractor. This is a legitimate excuse, but it’s not a good one.

Entry Level Definition

What Does Entry Level Mean?

An entry level position refers to a job designed for recent graduates in a specific discipline. These jobs usually require little to no experience and offer training on-site to develop your skills. 

Employers may list a job as entry level but often require additional experience to be hired. In addition to building up a resume, an entry-level position can help you establish professional references and build a network.

Exit Interview Definition

What Is An Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a survey or discussion after an individual leaves an organization or association. This type of interview is often used to assess the relationship between an individual and their last employer. 

This process is an excellent way to collect valuable information about the company’s culture and the issues that employees have with their job.


Flexible Working Hours Definition

What Are Flexible Working Hours?

Flexible working hours varies by industry, but it is generally defined as a system that allows employees and employers to make choices that suit them and their lifestyle. 

The main benefits of flexible hours are that employees can finish work at their own pace and have more flexibility.

Follow Up After Interview Definition

What Is An Interview Follow Up?

Following up with a thank you note after a job interview is vital in receiving a job offer. This is a simple email or letter thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing your continued interest in the role.

Freelance Definition

What Is Freelancing?

The term freelance refers to a person who works for himself and is not employed by a company or institution. A freelancer works on a contract basis and is responsible for submitting his or her own work to a number of potential buyers. 

This is in contrast to a full-time employee, who is dependent on a single employer and does not have the luxury of choosing his or her own assignments.

Headhunter Definition

What Is A Headhunter?

A headhunter is a professional who recruits for organizations seeking top-level talent. They are also referred to as recruiters. 

These professionals are often paid by organizations to seek out candidates who have the appropriate skills and experiences needed to fill open positions.

Hiring Manager Definition

What Are Hiring Managers?

A hiring manager is responsible for determining whether an applicant is qualified for a position and ultimately hiring the best option.

They typically oversee all the processes involved in the employee recruitment lifecycle, including conducting interview sessions and analyzing resumes

Home Based Careers Definition

What Is A Home Based Career?

Home based careers are types of jobs that give an employee the option to work and complete tasks from the comfort of their home. Whether it’s writing, editing, or designing websites, home-based careers are a growing trend..

For most companies, home-based workers are a great way to cut costs and save money. While they don’t need a physical space to perform their duties, they do need some basic amenities

Internship Definition

What Is An Internship?

An internship is a temporary position that can help new job seekers gain experience in a particular field. 

There are many different types of internship positions and each one requires a different set of skills. The goal of an internship is to provide a valuable contribution to an organization while also acquiring skills that are needed in the field.

Job Applicant Definition

What Is A Job Applicant?

The job application is a standard document that contains questions that an employer deems relevant for a particular position.

A job application is an essential component of the application process. Although job applications differ in terms of what is required of an applicant, they all serve a similar purpose: to identify a suitable candidate for a specific job.

Job Board Definition

What Is A Job Board?

A job board is a site that lists various career opportunities for job seekers. The website lets these job seekers search for and apply to jobs while also letting employers post their job vacancies. 

Some job boards specialize in specific industries, while others are more generalist.

Job Description Definition

What Is A Job Description?

A job description is a descriptive text that describes the general responsibilities and desired skill set for a job opening . It contains a list of tasks, qualifications and responsibilities of the position in detail. 

It is used to identify a suitable candidate for the position and determine the level of qualifications required for the vacant job.

Job Outlook Definition

What Is a Job Outlook?

Job outlook is a term used to describe the forecast of the anticipated change in a particular occupation.

A person’s job outlook is a useful tool to find a suitable career path. By looking at the growth percentage of a particular field, you can easily determine whether it is a good fit for you. Ultimately, your job outlook should be tailored to your interests and qualifications, but keep in mind that this should not be your only consideration when choosing a career.

If you are interested in the job outlook for a particular field, you can check the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Job Shadowing Definition

What is Job Shadowing? 

Job shadowing is an on-the-job learning experience that helps new employees or individual job seekers who have an unclear career direction.

Shadowing/learning from professionals within a specific space gives that person a clearer look into the job and helps them determine if it’s something they want to pursue.

Maternity Leave Definition

What is Maternity Leave? 

Maternity leave is the time that a person is granted to stay home from work after giving birth. It is usually paid and lasts from a few weeks to a few months.

Merit Pay Definition

What is Merit Pay? 

Merit pay is a type of bonus that is given to workers based on their ability to perform their jobs. 

Also known as merit increases and pay for performance, merit pay is an effective way to motivate and reward employees throughout many industries.

In addition to boosting productivity and keeping workers motivated, merit pay can also improve employee retention.

Minimum Wage Definition

What Does Minimum Wage Mean?

The minimum wage is the lowest wage an employer is legally required to pay its workers. In many cases, the national minimum wage is set by law, but the amount may vary by industry or location.

Offer Letter Definition

What is an Offer Letter? 

An offer letter is a document sent to prospective employees by a company. It lays out the details of employment, such as compensation and hours. It may also include additional information about bonuses, stock options, commissions and your start date.

Onboarding Definition

What is Onboarding? 

Onboarding is the process of bringing on new employees to an organization while integrating them with all of the tools and information needed to successfully transition into the new role. 

This process involves a series of training sessions and other activities that are designed to ensure that new employees are up to speed with the company’s culture and business objectives. The process is crucial to the success of a company, and it must be done correctly to ensure that it’s a success.

A typical onboarding experience can include a variety of activities, including the completion of paperwork, completing job descriptions, and early check-ins.

For employer onboarding help, check out paylocity.com.

Outsourcing Definition

What Does Outsourcing Mean? 

Outsourcing is an agreement where a company contracts out the work to another company or individual to perform an activity on its behalf. 

For many businesses, outsourcing is a way to expand and decrease expenses. It is a good way to save money while still maintaining quality service.

Overtime Definition

What is on the job Overtime? 

Overtime is time worked beyond the normal hours of a person’s normal job. It often comes with compensation at a higher rate than your regular pay.

Standard overtime rates typically include time and a half and double time.

Paid Time Off Definition

What is Paid Time Off (PTO)? 

The term paid time off (PTO) refers to personal time that employees take to spend away from the office while still being paid. 

This is your personal time off and can include sick days, vacation days, and bank of hours.

Pension Definition

What is a Pension? 

A pension is a retirement account that pays periodic payments to a person who has worked for a certain company during their working years. This account is created by the employer, so that money from employees during their employment years can be added to it. 

Those payments are called pensions.

Performance Appraisal Definition

What is a Performance Appraisal? 

A performance appraisal (review or development discussion) is a process for reviewing the performance of an employee and providing valuable feedback to help develop their career and make improvements within their current position. 

Providing the proper feedback will ensure that the employee can improve his or her abilities and reach higher levels in the organization.The results of this process are often used to justify merit pay increases or training needs.

Profit Sharing Definition

What is Profit Sharing? 

The term profit sharing refers to a wide range of incentive plans introduced by businesses. These plans often provide direct or indirect payments to employees based on a company’s profitability. 

Typically, publicly traded companies will allocate shares to employees. This is not to be confused with stock options. 

Moreover, profit sharing encourages loyalty to the company. Employees who feel like they are contributing to the company’s success will be more likely to do their best and stick around.

Recruiting Definition

What is Recruiting? 

The term recruiting generally refers to finding and hiring the best people for a particular position. This involves screening prospective candidates, engaging potential employees, and developing an employer brand. 

A well-run recruitment process is crucial for a company to achieve its goals.

Job References Definition

What Are References When Searching for a Job? 

References are co-workers or managers who can talk about your work experience, work habits, overall character and skillset. 

Employers will often ask for references as part of the job search process at which you need to provide the names of people who they can contact to find out more about you.

Relevant Work Experience Definition

What is Relevant Work Experience? 

Relevant work experience is the skill and experiences you have picked up in past roles that are relevant to the position you are applying for. This is often associated with a job seekers resume. 

When a candidate has a lot of relevant experience, he or she will stand out from the rest of the candidates.

Resume Definition

What is a Resume? 

A resume is a document containing your personal history, education, skills, and accomplishments. It can be used for many purposes, but is most commonly used to secure new employment. 

It is an advertisement for the applicant, stating their current career goals and communicating the value of hiring them.

Seasonal Work Definition

What is Seasonal Work?

A seasonal employee is an employee who works for a specific period of time, usually six months or less. This popular temporary and short term work can include retail jobs around the holiday time or seasonal agriculture work.

Sexual Harassment Definition

What is Sexual Harassment? 

Sexual harassment is a behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a professional atmosphere like a workplace.

It can be a verbal or physical act, and it can be committed by anyone.

Soft Skills Definition

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are your skills and abilities that relate to how you work and how you interact with other people – typically within the workplace. 

Soft skill examples include: communication skills, listening skills, time management, teamwork and interpersonal skills. 

Hiring managers typically look for job candidates with soft skills because they make someone more successful in the workplace.

STAR Interview Method Definition

What is the STAR Interview Method? 

The STAR Interview method is based on the STAR principle of defining a problem by identifying the context of the problem, setting the context for an action and the task. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Taking Ownership Definition

What Does Taking Ownership Mean? 

In the workplace, taking ownership means holding yourself accountable for your work. It’s a company culture that links the concept of accountability, transparency, and a high-trust environment.

Technical Skills Definition

What Are Technical Skills? 

Technical skills refer to the specialized knowledge and expertise needed to accomplish complex actions, tasks, and processes relating to computational and physical technology as well as a diverse group of other enterprises. – Investopedia

Telecommuting Definition

What is Telecommuting? 

Telecommuting is the practice of working from home, utilizing the internet, email, and phone capabilities to complete work tasks. 

Telecommuting allows employees to do their jobs while not physically being at their place of employment. It can also be referred to as telework, mobile work, remote work, work from home, or distance working.

Temp to Hire Definition

What Does Temp to Hire Mean? 

A temp to hire arrangement is one in which a worker is hired for a set period of time (contract) on the condition that they may be renewed for a full-time position when that contract comes to an end.

Trade Union Definition

What is a Trade Union? 

A trade union is a group of workers who have been grouped together by a common interest. Rather than simply representing workers in individual disputes with management, a trade union takes up the issues of its members. 

The goal of a trade union is to improve the working conditions and wages for its members. In order to achieve these goals, a trade union must establish a constitution.

Transferable Skills Definition

What are transferable skills? 

Transferable skills are talents and abilities that can be transferred from one job to another. These skills can generally be used in every job, no matter the title or the field.

Unemployment Compensation Definition

What is Unemployment Compensation? 

Unemployment compensation is a benefit paid to people who have recently lost their job at no fault of their own, such as being laid off or if the business has dissolved. 

There are a number of restrictions that limit who can collect unemployment compensation. For instance, if a worker has been fired for misconduct, they generally cannot claim unemployment compensation.

White Collar Definition

What are white collar jobs? 

White collar work generally relates to the work done in an office setting or other professional environment. Some define it as employees known for earning higher than average salaries doing highly skilled work, but not by performing manual labor at their jobs

Working Remotely Definition

What Does working remotely mean? 

Working remotely is defined as doing your work from home or elsewhere outside of the typical office location. It has several synonyms including: telecommuting, flexible workplace, mobile work, and distance working. 

It is a popular choice for professionals who want more freedom, but don’t want to be tied down by a traditional office. Many companies are now offering employees the flexibility to work from any location, which allows people to work from home whenever it is most convenient for them.

Check out our remote non-tech job board.

Workplace Harassment Definition

What is workplace harassment? 

Workplace harassment is a form of bullying or belittling behavior directed at an individual worker or group of workers within the workplace. 

The first thing you should do if you are a victim of harassment is document the incidents and let HR know. You should keep all documentation, such as emails and text messages, for future reference. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of your documents on hand for further reference.

Title: 75 Job Terms To Know During the Job Search

Category: theGuidance

Tags: job terms, career terms, employment definitions, career definitions, employment terms, job search terms, career related terms, career terminology, job related terms, work terms, job search resources

Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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