4 Job Description Buzz Words and What They Really Mean

Buzz Words

If you’re searching for a job it’s likely you spend at least some time every day scouring job boards trying to discern if the posted position is what you’re looking for. And as you continue to search and read job listing after job listing you start to notice something — most job descriptions have (many) similar words.

When you read things like organized, works well with a team, and entrepreneurial over and over again they start to lose their meaning. Every company can’t be looking for the same person, right?

Yes and no. These words are used frequently for a reason. But what are companies really getting at with these job description buzz words? Read on for our take.


Anyone seeking a new employee wants that person to be attentive to the little things. No one would actively look for something who only looks at the big picture and lets important details slip by. So, saying you want someone detail-oriented in a job listing is like stating the obvious. Everyone wants someone who pays attention to details and everyone thinks they are someone who pays attention to details. But to prove you really have the skills, make sure to follow their instructions exactly. If they have directions on what to use as an email subject line, follow it. If they only want a PDF version of a resume, send them that. Show them before they even talk to you that you really do remember the little things.


In today’s job environment, fast-paced is a synonym for a startup or an early-stage company. If it’s used in the job description to talk about the company, it’s more than likely the organization is fewer than 5 years old. What this also can mean is that people wear many hats, processes aren’t completely ironed out, and things are constantly evolving. So if that’s what you’re looking for then great! If not, it’s a surefire signal to keep searching for a company that’s a bit more established.

Team player

Unless you’re hiring someone for a very siloed position, everyone is part of a team at work. No matter if it’s the CFO or an executive assistant, they are all part of a larger group of people working towards the same goal. So, if a job posting has that in it, you can bet that fitting in with the hiring manager and future co-workers is something they’ll be looking at in the interviews. They want to ensure whoever they hire will be compatible with what is likely already a cohesive team. Be mindful of the team’s vibe when you interview — it will give you a good idea of if you want to work there and a clue to whether or not you’ll make it to the next round.


Another sure sign of a startup. When an organization uses the term “self-starter” they want someone who will take initiative and push themselves to think bigger. This could mean taking a project or task and proposing a new angle or idea. Or instead of having to be asked to do something, anticipating what will need to be done and just doing it. Think about times you’ve done this in previous positions so you have scenarios ready when you interview. That way you can readily display that you really are ready to dive in and bring something to the table.

Next time you’re perusing job descriptions, consider what hiring managers are really looking for when they use these buzzwords. They may be overused, but when you read between the lines you can decipher what they’re looking for in a potential candidate.

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