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Find Out What Job Buzzwords Like ‘Detail-Oriented’ and ‘Team Player’ Really Mean

photologue_np, Flickr

At some point you’ve probably held a job that turned out to be unpleasantly different than you thought. As it turns out, though, the warning signs of what positions really entail might actually be right in the job postings.

Those seemingly meaningless buzzwords used in ads might be the key to avoiding workplace bait and switch in the future.

When most job seekers scan the want ads, they often skim over common buzzwords, but Kevin Fleming, owner of Grey Matters, a neuroscience-based executive development and coaching firm, says we may want to look closer when we see terms like “self-starter” or “detail-oriented.”

“Jargon is our way to grow lazier decision making in corporate cultures,” Fleming says. “We use these words to cover up something. It could also be a way to hide some ambivalence.”  Here’s some other common jargon revealed:

  • Team Player: Fleming explains this is a “code phrase for someone who will allow us to do whatever we want to you.”
  • Self Starter: You may not receive any direction or guidance, this position will expect you to pull your workplan “out of thin air.”
  • Detail-Oriented: Expect to have someone looking over your shoulder all day. Fleming explains this might hint at a job working for a control freak.
  • Early-stage or venture-backed: Don’t expect to get paid much (or anything) unless this company takes off.

While you may never be able to avoid ads with buzzwords in them, being more aware of what is hidden behind the jargon may help you narrow your search to the positions that are really right for you. And when your boss is breathing down your neck, critiquing your every move, well, at least you were warned!

[CNN Money]

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