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Job Search Terms & Definitions

Most popular job search terms and definitions

Make sure you are aware of the most common job search terms and definitions when looking for employment.  Get insight into popular job search terms and improve your understanding of the employment process from start to finish.  We supplied every job search term with a definition and how the term or expression may be used in a sentence. Knowing these terms may help you find a better job! 

1099 Employee:

A 1099 employee is someone who is contracted by a company, firm, organization, or other individual to perform work usually on a per contract basis. 1099 employees are responsible for paying all their taxes in full. Unlike 1099, a portion of W-2 tax forms are paid by employers at the end of the year.

1099 Employee used in a sentence:

 "Kevin was contracted by Coffee Crush Industries and paid as a 1099 employee."

Background Check:

Also called a background investigation; Is the act of looking up an individual's criminal records, commercial records, credit report and other financial records during an employment screening.  Some organizations such as the FBI and other government offices will even contact neighbors and family members to get a better understanding of the individual.

Background check used in a sentence:

"The DMV performs background checks on all applicants before they are hired."  

Contract Labor: 

Someone who is paid to perform a task(s) over a specified period of time.  Once the job is finished the contract is generally ended unless further work is necessary.  If additional work is required the contract would be reviewed to determine if another paid binding agreement will be signed.  

Contract Labor used in a sentence:

"Maulers Construction has a team of over 30 contract laborers for nearly every project."

Core Competencies:

Specific requirements or factors a firm uses to determine the effectiveness of its employees and organization.  Core competencies can also be considered a summary of an employee's skills, talents, and experience.

Core Competencies used in a sentence:

"Her unique core competencies were adequately tailored to the design industry which attracted the attention of the hiring manager."

Cover Letter:

 A brief motivational and informative letter expressing an applicant's ability to communicate and prove their job worthiness to a hiring authority.  Companies sometimes require a cover letter to be sent along with an applicant's resume.  The cover letter gives insight to how well an individual is able to write as well as deliver a succinct and focused message.

Cover Letter used in a sentence:

"John spent one hour writing a cover letter to send along with his resume."

Due Diligence:

This term is most often used when investigating a business or person including legal or liability concerns.  Due diligence can also be used to reference the thorough study of a particular topic of interest.

Due Diligence used in a sentence:

"It is wise to perform due diligence before applying to any company you would like to work for."

Follow up:

Generally in the form of a brief thank you email, letter or call to a company an individual is applying to work for.  A follow up is usually performed after either a resume has been submitted (in order to confirm its delivery) or an interview has taken place.  A follow up or thank you letter is a good idea when showing interest in the position one is applying for.

Follow up used in a sentence:

"After my initial interview, I immediately returned home to send a follow up email thanking the interviewer for the potential opportunity."


Work performed for a agreed upon price by a self employed individual that has been contracted by either another person or company.  Freelancers include designers, writers, artists, consultants, and day labors to name a few.

"We hired a freelance web designer to develop our company's website."


A concise document  outlining job skills that represent and individual's talents, education, occupational experience,  and references.  A resume is most commonly used when an applicant or jobseeker is looking for employment.

Resume used in a sentence:

"All potential job applicants were required to submit a resume before they would be considered for a position with the company."

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