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Job Search

To improve your job search success it makes sense to understand the terminology that’s commonly used by career professionals.

Action verbs

Words that are verbs (doing words) to demonstrate actual actions. Eg. In this sentence – “Trained six junior staff members on new invoice tracking system.” The word “trained” is the action verb. Action verbs are not just for resumes but can be used in job interviews and throughout the job search process when speaking about work.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

It is a software application used to manage the recruitment and job application process. Employers can post jobs on their own job board and applicants complete applications. ATS allow employers to communicate with applicants via the ATS and it helps to streamline the entire process and makes searching resume databases and reporting more efficient.


This is a job applicant or job seeker who is a candidate for employment. You will sometimes hear the term “top candidate” used to describe an applicant who has all the required knowledge and skills and would be a good fit for the position being filled.

Career Fair

This event is sometimes called a job fair even though there is a technical distinction in that at a job fair, job seekers can expect to be interviewed and even hired on the spot. Career fairs are more of a gathering place for employers and potential employees. Some career fairs can take place virtually using online applications designed to facilitate events.  No matter the type of event, career fairs have to be a part of a successful job search strategy.

Career Link/One Stop

This is a government run agency with the focus on bringing employers together with displaced and unemployed workers. Typically state run, these locations will help job seekers with access to other services for the unemployed.

Cold Call

Making telephone calls to companies to find out about vacancies or opportunities. It is typically a practice used by sales people to find new clients, but savvy job seekers can use it as part of an effective job search strategy.

Employment Agency

An organization or agency that helps people find jobs and help employers find people to fill jobs.

Elevator Speech

The Elevator Speech is the same as the 30-second spot. It is a spoken introduction used to summarize your background when you meet someone at a networking event. It is a good idea to prepare this statement ahead of time and practice how and what you would say. As an example, a college student could say their name, school, year or status and say possibly why he/she is attending the event.


A professional recruiter that seeks out potential employees and might even recruit them away from other companies.

Hidden Job Market

This refers to jobs that are not posted or advertised. Usually people find out about these “hidden” jobs through networking.

Job Fair

Similar to a career fair this event is designed to bring jobseekers together with company representatives and recruiters. The goal of the job seeker is to find and discuss employment opportunities with hiring employers. The goal of the recruiters is to identify potential talent to fill vacancies. The job fair gives recruiters an opportunity to conduct interviews and make initial job offers at the event.

Job Search

A series of activities involved in finding employment. You might hear the distinction between a “passive” job search and an “active” job search. A passive job search happens when you might not be sure you are leaving a company, but you begin to explore opportunities that come your way. It means you are open to hearing more about opportunities. An active job search means that you are sending resumes out and actively pursuing new opportunities. Of course you want to be very cautious about conducting and speaking about active job searches while you are on company time.

Job Search Agent

A virtual helper on job boards that will notify you of jobs and vacancies that meet the requirements you have posted.

MET’s (Minimum Education and Training)

Usually the basic criteria to be considered qualified to do a certain job.

Niche Job Board

This is a job board like the one at The HBCU Career Center which caters to employers who are looking for employees because of a specific reason. That reason could be diversity, industry or occupation.

Online Persona

This is your online identity. The essence of an online persona is really very simply the image that people get of you when they see you online. You are responsible for what your online persona or your brand says about you.

Salary History

Some companies ask job seekers to show salaries earned in current and former positions.

Social Job Search

Job search that involves using social media and networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social Media

Virtual communities where people create, share and exchange information and interact via technology and media. Employers are increasingly vigilant about how employees use social media during and after working hours. This is an evolving area of workplace law.

Temporary Staffing Agency

Employment agencies that assist in companies to identify and hire temporary workers for short term assignments.


This is the process of hiring temporary workers who will ultimately be converted to permanent employees. The temporary staffing agency will get paid for finding temps that get converted to permanent hires.

Thirty (30) Second Spot

See Elevator Speech.

Transferrable Skills

These are skills and abilities that you have developed through your personal or professional experiences which you can use regardless of the job you are doing. Marketing transferable skills will allow applicants to speak to these skills and abilities in the job interview.


These are conferences, either one-on-one, one-to-many or group sessions that are held via video technology. The word webinar was a spin off from the word seminar. It is important to observe company policies and corporate culture for webinar etiquette.


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