Career Lingo - Defining Career Vocabulary

Apprenticeship - An apprenticeship is a combination of paid on-the-job training and related classroom training in a specific career. These programs are registered with the United States Department of Labor and are designed to culminate in certified journeyman-level skills attainment and nationally recognized credentials. Apprenticeships are sponsored by an employer who is responsible for providing journeyman-level mentorship and supervision to the apprentice and sees that all required coursework is completed. Usually about 1 - 6 years (dependent on the occupation) but most average 3 - 4 years.

Background Check - Background checks are a standard part of the hiring process for many employers. A background check is a collection and inspection of public and private records by an individual or organization. Contents of a background check may include verifying: criminal records, credit history, work authorization, education history, social media profiles, driving records, medical records, etc. Laws regarding background checks may vary depending on our city and/or state.

Benefits - Benefits are the financial rewards and other compensation employees receive in addition to their regular paycheck. Benefits may include medical, dental, vision and prescription coverage; paid vacation, holidays and sick days; tuition assistance; or a retirement plan to save for your future. Full-time jobs are more likely to include benefits, but some part-time jobs may offer benefits as well.

Blue-collar - Blue-collar is a term that describes those who typically work in manual labor positions and earn an hourly wage. Blue-collar workers are typically known to wear protective equipment and clothing while carrying out their employment responsibilities.

Business Casual - Business casual is a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and business like impression. Appropriate business casual dress typically includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sport coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot.

Career Fair - An event held where various companies and employers recruit potential employees. Usually, there are booths or tables set up for each company looking to hire students. All the booths are set up in one room, so job applicants can walk around the room, introducing themselves to potential employers, find out about opportunities and build relationships with employers. Job applicants should dress professionally, prepare an elevator pitch and bring resumes to hand out to companies they are most interested in. They should also be prepared to gather business cards of employers they talk to and follow up with an email afterwards reminding them of the conversation and expressing interest in the position/company.

Compensation - Compensation includes any benefits a person receives as a result of working for a company or organization. This could include salary, commission, insurance benefits (health, dental, life), retirement benefits, tuition reimbursements, health club memberships, parking, communication/cell phone reimbursement, living stipend or any other benefit or payment received for employment.

Cover Letter - A cover letter is a brief document, usually 1 page in length, which overviews your qualifications as they directly relate to the qualifications which the employer is seeking. A good cover letter motivates the employer to want to get to know you further and drives them to your resume. Cover letters should be targeted directly to the opportunity for which you are applying and should never be generic or mass produced. Information on how to write an effective cover letter.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) - A curriculum vitae (CV) is similar to a resume in that it is an account of one's personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experiences typically used for a job. A CV differs from a resume in that is typically more detailed than a resume and can include several pages. A typical CV includes information such as areas of interest, research, honors and awards, publications and presentations, employment and experience, scholarly or professional memberships, and references. A curriculum vitae usually is relevant to those applying for a job in academics (e.g. Professor).

Elevator Pitch - A short, concise, introduction of yourself which typically lasts about 30 seconds but no more than 60 seconds. It may include your name, past education, work experience, skill/characteristics, and goals. An elevator pitch should be natural sounding and takes practice to perfect. Example: " I recently graduated from college with a degree in communications. I worked on the college newspaper as a reporter, and eventually, as the editor of the arts section. I'm looking for a job that will put my skills as a journalist to work."

Entrepreneur - An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business and is willing to risk a loss or a person who organizes, manages, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise.

Externship - An externship is very similar to an internship in that they both are a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with the practical application in a professional setting. Externships, however, are more typically spent observing employers/employees to preview their day-to-day activities and functions. Usually a few days to a weeks in length.

Full-time - Full-time employment is usually considered somewhere between 30-40 hours a week. This can differ from employer to employer.

Graduate Assistant (GA) - A Graduate Assistant is a student who is engaged in graduate coursework at a university and who is paid to assist in teaching, research, or in a professional setting on-campus.

Graduate School - A higher education institution which awards postgraduate degrees - most commonly master's and doctorate (PhD) programs. You will almost always need to have completed an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree, sometimes known as a 'first' degree, before applying for admission to graduate school.

Gross Income - The amount of money you earn before anything is taken out for taxes and deductions. For example, even though your monthly salary may be $3,500, you might only receive a check for $2,500. Most check stubs will indicate the taxes and deductions removed from your salary.

Handshake - Handshake is an online tool for connecting employers and students. Handshake at SUU contains all off-campus opportunities for students and alumni that are posted through SUU. This included jobs while students are going to school at SUU, internships, and career jobs for graduates of SUU. Handshake will remain available to you even after you graduate.

Human Resources (HR) - The division of a company that is focused on activities relating to employees. These activities normally include recruiting and hiring of new employees, orientation and training of current employees, employee benefits, and retention. Will often be the department you will call with questions during the application process.

I-9 Form - An I-9 form (also called the Employment Eligibility Verification form) state that you are legally authorized to work in the United States. Employers require you to fill out an I-9 form when you are hired. When you fill out the I-9, you'll also have to submit one or more documents that verify your identity and your eligibility for employment, such as a U.S. passport or permanent resident card.

Internship - An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills developed in a professional setting. Internships give students opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths. Internships also allow employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. Internships can be both paid and unpaid. Usually about 3 - 6 months in length.

Informational Interview - An information interview is a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you. It's not a job interview, so it's important to keep focused on getting information, not a job offer. The Department of Labor provides information about how to find contacts, make contact, hold the meeting, and sample questions for a successful informational interview.

Interview - An interview is a two-way exchange of information which an employer uses to get to know more about a candidate prior to making a decision of hire. Ultimately, an employer wants to know three things: 1) Do you have the skills we are seeking for this position, 2) Can we work with you, and 3) Can you help us meet the goal for this position? An interview should also be used by the candidate to get to know more about the employer such as would I fit in well with the team and culture, would I be able to excel in this position, does this company fit my values, ect. You can learn more about how to have a successful interview at

Job Application - A form or paper which indicates interest in a particular place of employment or position within a company. Typically requests personal identification information, such as name, address, and phone number, as well as a history of job experience. Unlike a resume, a job application is legally defensible and often requires your signature to verify that the information you included is true.

Job Market - The job market, or labor market, is the market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as much as a concept demonstrating the competition and interplay between different labor forces.

Job Requirements - Job requirements are qualifications and skills necessary for a certain position. Job requirements are usually written in form of a list that contains the most important qualifications that a candidate must possess in order to be able to perform certain job duties.

Jobseeker - A person who is actively searching for a job.

Job Shadow - A job shadow is a work site experience during which a person spends time one-on-one with an employer/employee observing daily activities and asking questions about the job and industry. Job shadowing is a career awareness and exploration activity that allows a person to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities without investing much time. Such exploration activities can assist in making good career decision and in focusing studies once a career interest is identified. Usually about 3 - 6 hours in length.

Layoff - Temporary or permanent termination of one or more employees, usually part of a company's efforts to reduce costs, production, or end operations. Employees are sometimes called dislocated workers and are often eligible for unemployment insurance and other benefits.

LinkedIn - The world's largest professional network with more than 562 million users in more than 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn exists to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. LinkedIn is an e-portfolio and/or online resume which allows you to showcase your experience and ambitions to both employers and professionals. Information about how to set up an effective LinkedIn account.

Net Income - The amount of money you earn after money is taken out for taxes and deductions. For example, even though your monthly salary may be $3,500, you might only receive a check for $2,500. Most check stubs will indicate the taxes and deductions removed from your salary.

Networking - The exchange of information or resources to cultivate productive relationship for employment or business activities. Networking strategies

Online Portfolio - An online portfolio (also known as an e-portfolio or digital portfolio) is a way to reveal your accomplishments and credentials to others through the means of the internet. This most likely includes your resume, design work, artwork, reports, lessons plans, transcripts, certifications, articles, letters, etc. Really it should include any document which the employers in your industry would be interested in viewing. Examples of free online portfolio platforms include LinkedIn, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Wordpress. There are other online portfolios options but please keep in mind what works best for you and the employers who will be viewing your online portfolio.

Onboarding - The process by which a new employee settles into their new job. This includes learning the job and how to do it along with learning the company culture.

Open enrollment (benefits) - The period of time which an employee has to elect or make changes to their benefits such as health, dental, life insurance, etc.

Overtime - Worked performed by an employee which is in excess to a basic workday (typically 8 hours a day, 5 days a week) as defined by company rules, job contract, statute, or union (collective) agreement. The overtime pay rate for eligible employees is 1.5 times the regular working hour rate.

Paid Time Off (PTO) - The purpose of Paid Time Off (PTO) is to provide employees with flexible paid time off from work that can be used for such needs as vacation, personal or family illness, doctor appointments, school, volunteerism, and other activities of the employee's choice.

Part-time - Part-time employment is usually considered somewhere between 0-29 hours a week. This can differ from employer to employer.

Pension - A retirement plan that requires an employer to make contributions into a pool of funds set aside for a worker's future benefit. The pool of funds is invested on the employee's behalf, and the earnings on the investments generate income to the worker upon retirement. *Note - not all employers offer a pension.

Phone Interview - A job interview conducted over the phone. Often used by employers to do an initial screening of candidates. This is not a casual conversation. Ensure that your environment is free from distractions for you and the employer. Give the employer your full attention and pretend you are sitting in the same room as him or her.

Pink-Collar - One who is employed in a job that is traditionally considered to be "women's work". Examples of such work includes: Nursing, Teaching, Social Work, Secretarial work, Child Care, etc.

Professional Dress - In most industries, professional dress means wearing a suit, slacks or skirt, button shirt, and a matching jacket. Men should wear a tie and dress shoes, and women should wear stocking and closed-toe shoes. Suits should be neutral colors such as grey, navy, brown or black. Ties should be conservative in nature (avoid bright colors or animations).

Résumé - A brief account of one's personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experiences typically used to apply for a job. This document is usually one to two pages in length and the information contained therein should be targeted to the job for which you are applying. Information about how to write an effective resume.

Roth IRA - A retirement account which allows a person to set aside after-tax income up to a specified amount each year. Both the earnings on the account and withdrawals (upon eligible age) are tax free.

Salary - A fixed regular payment, typically paid on a monthly or biweekly basis but often expressed in an annual sum, made by an employer to an employee, especially a professional or white-collar worker.

Salary negotiation - The process where one party (usually the employee) negotiates the amount of their pay, income, earning, commission, salary, wages, etc. with another party (usually a representative of the employer such as a manger). It is advised that you do not negotiate until you are offered an opportunity with that company. Speak with a representative of the SUU Career Center for information on how to negotiate of if you are unsure.

Student Job Fair - An event that happens at SUU every fall semester in which local businesses come to campus to recruit SUU students for open positions at their place of employment. These jobs are typically part-time and can be worked while attending school at SUU. Information about the Student Jobs Fair, or how to prepare yourself for a fair.

Thank You Card/Email - After each interview it is advised that you send the interviewer(s) a thank you card. It is a great way to stand out from other candidates and says a lot about you as a candidate. Handwritten cards are the best however if your handwriting is not ideal you may send an email. Include everyone in the interview. Try and return the thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. Keep is short.

Wages - A payment usually of money for labor or services usually according to contract and on a hourly, daily, or piecework basis.

White-Collar - Reference to a type of job with salaried, professional workers in office settings who typically wear business attire as opposed to the protective clothing of blue collar jobs.

Worker's Compensation - A system of insurance that reimburses an employer for damages that must be paid to an employee for injury occurring in the course of employment.

Work Study - On- or off-campus job offered as part of a student's financial aid package. Student is employed by the school but the majority of the funding for the position comes from the federal or state government.

401(k) - A qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan that eligible employees may make salary-deferral contributions to on a post-tax and/or pre-tax basis.