You’ll probably come across the same phrases over and over again in job ads. Some of them will be about the ideal candidate, and you can use these to tailor your CV. Some will be about the job. Together, they can help you decide whether you want to apply for the job or not.

About you

Team Player

You’ll be working a lot with other people, sharing ideas, and helping out. The role may require flexibility and compromise.

Attention to detail

You’ll be good with grammar, spelling and numbers – accuracy is probably a very important part of this job.

Proven track record

You need to have had some previous experience of the role, or the sector. Make sure you can prove it with documents or a portfolio, and by explaining clearly what you did.


(Also: Pressurised/demanding environment)
You could be working to tight deadlines, with limited resources, juggling lots of different tasks, and put under pressure to deliver.

Self- starter

(Also: Driven, proactive)
You’ll be managing your own workload, maybe even deciding what you work on. You may have to find your own motivation to keep going – your employers will trust you to get on with it.


You’ve got good ideas and the energy to push them through. You’re ambitious for yourself and the company. Your enthusiasm will get the best out of other people.


(Also: Dedicated, enthusiastic)
This implies that you’ll be expected to work in a concentrated, productive way. Long hours might also be a feature of the job, so enthusiasm and a passion for it will help.


About the job

Competitive salary

This means that the company will pay you an above-average salary for the sector. This is probably because it’s in competition with other businesses to get the best candidates.


Per annum, which is Latin for ‘every year’. This is usually used to describe how much you’ll be paid.


These are acronyms for part-time and full-time.


Circa, which is Latin for ‘around’. You’re most likely to see this in relation to salaries. It means that there is some flexibility around how much you could get paid, probably depending on how much experience you have.

Pro rata

Another Latin phrase, meaning ‘in proportion’. It’s generally used to indicate that the full-time salary and benefits of a job will be adjusted according to the hours or days you work in a part-time role.

DBS check

(Previously known as a CRB check). Disclosure and Barring Service checks are done to make sure you don’t have a criminal record. They’re required for some jobs like health care and working with children. All the paperwork is done by your potential employer.


For a limited time, normally used in relation to length of contract.


On target earnings. This phrase is most often found in ads for jobs in sales. It means that you’ll receive a basic salary that is topped up by commission, as long as you hit your targets.

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