Applying for a job in English

Here’s some essential English vocabulary for a job hunt.

Job searching

There are many ways of finding out about a job. You could spot a job advertisement in the newspaper, or in a trade publication. In the UK, you could see avacancy in the Job Centre. You could also see alisting on an online job board, hear about an opening from a friend or colleague, or more rarely, be contacted about a position from a recruiter orheadhunter.


If you’re interested in a company, you could write aletter of speculation. For jobs you see online, you might fill in an application (form). Frequently, though, you reply to an ad with your CV (resume in American English) and a covering letter.

If you are shortlisted, you might be called in for an interview (an in-person or face-to-face interview). You might also have a phone interview.

The hiring manager or someone from the HR department will talk to you to find out if you can do the job, if you want the job, and whether you will fit in with the team. An interview is also your opportunity to find out if the company is a good match for you.

If they like you (and you like them) you’ll probably need to supply references, which are checked by the company. Then a firm offer can be made, and you can start negotiating salary and other benefits.

Tips for success!

Tailor (or customise) your CV for the role you apply for. Don’t just send out the same CV for each job. Make sure you proofread it for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Be the first to hear about a vacancy or opening
Develop your network of contacts. Attend industry events (such as fairs or conferences), be a member of industry organisations. Work your contacts: ask them for information or advice, and do the same for them.

Build your reputation in the field. Participate in discussions, give talks, publish papers or articles. Take part in online discussions via forums and blogs to come to the notice of thought-leaders in your industry.

If you are specialised enough, with hard-to-find skills and experience, develop your relationship with recruiters in your field. Help them to find suitable candidates for vacancies they’ve been hired to fill, and you will be valuable to them.


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