Careers and Employability Service

What does this word mean?

You may not be entirely familiar with some of the terms used by employers, and within recruitment and selection, careers and employability.

Below are some of the terms you may encounter, and a brief explanation of what they mean:

Words A - L

  • Ability tests - see psychometric tests
  • Alumni - Plural of alumnus (male) or alumna (f). Latin for pupil but relates to those who have completed a degree or other academic programme at the University
  • Aptitude tests - see psychometric tests.
  • Assessment centre - these are used by employers to assess candidates against selection criteria for a job. They may last a day or two, and may involve component parts, such as group activities, an interview, written assignments and a presentation.
  • B2B - Business to business. This might refer to sales, for example, when you are selling products for one company to another company.
  • B2C - business to consumer (sales direct to individual customers)
  • CAR - an acronym which stands for Context, Action and Result, and can be used to structure answers in applications and interviews.
  • CEIAG - Careers education, information, advice and guidance
  • Chronological - in order of the time they occurred. For CVs, put the most recent first, so technically, in reverse chronological order.
  • Commercial awareness - a mixture of having a genuine interest in an organisation or sector and an understanding of the wider environment in which an organisation operates, an understanding of the economics of the organisation and the awareness of the need for efficiency, cost effectiveness, customer care and the needs of the market place.
  • Core competencies - basic but necessary skills
  • CV or Curriculum Vitae - Curriculum Vitae is Latin for 'course of life' but is normally a document outlining the skills, knowledge and experience relevant to a job or course of study. It is sometimes called a resume.
  • DOTS Model - a commonly used career planning model established by Professor A Watts and Professor Bill Law.
  • Employability - there are several definitions, but this relates to developing and maintaining the necessary skills to get jobs and keep in employment.
  • Employer - an organisation or company which employs staff.
  • Employee - someone who is employed by an employer.
  • Empower - enable, give responsibility for.
  • FMCG - fast moving consumer goods, which sometimes appears in job adverts for posts in the food and drink industries and other consumer products.
  • Fixed-term contract - this is a temporary contract of employment for a fixed-term, i.e. it has an end-date to the period of employment.
  • Graduate - someone who has been awarded a Bachelor's degree, such as BA Hons, BSc Hons, LLB, BSc Econ etc. Please be aware that you can apply for graduate jobs if you are in the final year of your degree, as your start date will be beyond graduation.
  • Human Resources or HR - can relate to a department which handles recruitment, discipline at work, job evaluation, performance, negotiations on pay and conditions, contracts and may include staff development and health and safety.
  • Internship - another word for a work placement. May be for current students and/or graduates and may be paid or unpaid.
  • Job description - describes the responsibilities and duties associated with a job, and is likely to indicate where the job fits in the organisation.

Words M - Z

  • MBTI - Myers Briggs Type Indicator, a type of personality assessment.
  • Networking - finding and keeping up with people who can help in your career.
  • NI Number - Your NI number or National Insurance Number is unique to you and ensures that the tax and National Insurance you may need to pay is recorded against your own account. Find out more.
  • OTE - On target earnings. These are paid normally in addition to a basic salary, if you achieve the targets set. Targets may relate to you individually or to a team.
  • Open-ended questions - questions commonly asked at interview to elicit information, and which often start with words like what, how, when, tell me about, give us an example of...
  • Per annum or p.a. - this relates to a year. £20,000 p.a. is £20,000 a year.
  • Peripatetic - this relates to a job which involves moving from one workplace to another, and often relates to teaching musical instruments or working across several NHS hospitals or other settings.
  • Person Specification - this outlines the essential and desirable education, skills, knowledge, experience and qualities for a job or course. It is usually presented in the form of a table, and sometimes has a column identifying which part of the selection process will test a particular item.
  • PESTLE - The major factors which influence virtually every organisation. PESTLE stands for 'political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental.'
  • Postgraduate - this relates to qualifications at a higher level than a Bachelor's degree, such as a masters or a PhD.
  • Pro rata - Proportionate to. This is used for part-time jobs, when the salary is proportionate to the full-time salary, e.g. A job which is 18 hours a week, which is half of a full-time, 36 hour week might attract a salary of £20,000 pro rata, which is £10,000 per annum.
  • Psychometric test - these are assessment tools which are used by employers to test skills, verbal and mathematical reasoning ability and the ability to carry out tasks which are similar to those involved in a job. There are also personality assessments which measure particular traits, such as influencing skills for a sales job, and/or suitability for a job role.
  • Referee - Someone who is willing to provide a reference for you to vouch for your employability, who is aware of your ability and performance. They may be a University tutor or former employer. They should not be related to you in any way, and should be in a position of authority.
  • Reference - Usually a written statement or answers to a questionnaire about an individual's ability and performance, written by a referee.
  • Resilience - the ability to cope with stress and adversity and not let it affect you. Certain occupations require a high degree of resilience, such as social work and counselling.
  • Selection criteria - these are the particular elements candidates are assessed against during the recruitment and selection process.
  • SME - an SME is a 'small or medium sized enterprise' which is an organisation which employs fewer than 250 staff.
  • STAR - an acronym which stands for 'situation, task, action and result.' STAR is a way of structuring your answers to questions, which ask you to provide an example of a particular skill or competency. For more information, watch the DVD clip - Your Jobs online - go to DVDs.
  • SWOT Analysis - 'Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.' A model to analyse performance and position. The first two are usually internal and the latter two external.
  • Tele-marketing - sales and promotion usually over the telephone
  • Transferable Skills - sometimes called 'Employability skills.' These are useful skills, such as communication skills, and problem-solving, which you might develop in one context or workplace, which transfer into another context or workplace.

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