Cracking The Keywords

Job Description Jargon Explained


It’s called “semantic satiation”. You hear or read the same word over and over, and eventually it loses distinct meaning.

And after pouring through job ad after job ad, looking at the same copy-pasted keywords that describe each position, that phenomenon is something you’ve definitely experienced yourself…

So we’ve put together a glossary of the terms you’re likely to find while on the hunt for a new job, with a refresher on what each of them really mean. Soon you’ll be set to go out and show them no one has a better understanding of what they want than you!


Passion seems like a word out of a romance novel. But when you see it on a job posting, it really means they’re looking for someone who gets excited for the kind of work they do.

There is a caveat, of course, which is that they’re usually implying they’d prefer someone who makes their profession their priority, willingly. You may want to suss out the company’s stake on work-life balance to be sure you don’t get in over your head!

Are you “passionate”?

Competitive Salary

You should be well read and researched on the topic of industry standards for pay grades in your position. Because when a business posts this, they are too.

It often hints that salary is going to be somewhat negotiable, but be mindful not to ask for too much or too little, or you’ll out yourself as someone who isn’t aware of the current trends for your field.

Are you up to speed on “competitive salaries”?


Don’t confuse dynamic with flexible. If you see this keyword pop up, be prepared to show off your leadership skills.

A dynamic employee is both charismatic and proactive. They can lead themselves, or teams of others. Your potential employer wants to know you can demonstrate the confidence and magnetism it takes to keep people engaged!

Are you “dynamic”?


This is usually a roundabout way of telling you something about the company more than it is asking for a particular skill set.

A company advertising for self-starters likely has a minimalist management structure, or may not have the managerial bandwidth to oversee employees as intensely as other workplaces.

You may prefer that style, and it’s nice to know you probably won’t have a helicopter supervisor hovering around you at all times. But be prepared for extra responsibility and lack of consistent support.

Are you a “self-starter”?

Team Player

This one is pretty straightforward. The company clearly values synergy and seeks out employees that complement the performance of others, and vice versa.

If you enjoy individual recognition, though, keep in mind that accolades are probably for the team or business as a whole, and you may find less attention on you as an individual. Some people prefer competitive environments, like sales, while others may prefer the collaborative methods of being a team player.

Are you a “team player”?


This is sort of a trick term. A business wants you to perform efficiently, and, frankly, multi-tasking has been proven to detract from performance results because it limits attention and causes errors of confusion.

When they say multi-tasker, what they really mean is someone who can prioritize and organize tasks in a high-paced work environment, where change is frequent. They don’t mean do 10 things at once, but rather be able to juggle 10 things to get everything done in the order it needs to. Some may call this prioritizing instead of ‘multi-tasking’.

Are you a “multi-tasker”?

Attemtion To Detail

Did you notice the typo in the header? Well if you did, then you can honestly say you do keep amazing attention to detail!

Be extra cautious when applying to employers who say they value this quality. Typos and missed fields, or errors in the application process of any kind, will send up red flags.

How’s your “attention to detail”?


“Performance under pressure” says it best. While the job may not always be go-go-go, you’ll definitely be required to demonstrate your mettle under fire.

Prepare a story about fixing a problem on the fly for your interview, and show them you’re quick on your feet!

Can you keep up with “fast-paced”?


If this pops up in a posting, be sure to detail the statistics of your past successes!

Numbers can read louder than words. Highlight the bottomline for your recruiter about how you not only shined bright, but were able to measure and quantify it, too!

Did you implement a new sales strategy because the old one was rusty? OR did you hit a new target of 5% increased returns? This kind of objective-setting when it comes to results will bowl this type of employer over!

Are you “results-oriented”?

Agency Experience

Agencies have a different workplace culture than most companies. There is usually a higher amount of risk associated with every project, as a client’s decision to pull an account can break the agency entirely.

So, when you hear an employer requesting this type of experience, expect that they’re looking for someone to go above and beyond, including being on call 24/7 to deal with emergencies. If you want a clock-in, clock-out type of day job, this might not be the employer for you.

Do you have “agency experience”?


Your industry might have its own buzzwords as well. Why not add them to the list so you can better evaluate what you can expect from potential operators?

Now that you’ve taken the time to review some of the top job posting keywords, you and your recruiters will really be speaking the same language!

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