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What Does Industry Mean on a Job Application?

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Job Category Helps Define the Position and Skills Needed

Looking for a new job? Chances are you'll need to complete a job application. Filling it out correctly is important. It can make a positive difference when it comes time for an employer to schedule candidates for an interview. Put your best foot forward in the job search process by submitting an application that clearly tells about your experience and skills. A neat, complete job application can help you land a position that is right for you and your family.

What Does Industry Mean?

You can think of industry as the category or general field in which you work. On a job application, "industry" refers to a broad category under which a number of job titles can fall. For example, sales is an industry; job titles under this category can include sales associate, sales manager, manufacturing sales rep and pharmaceutical sales.

What is Industry Jargon?

Every industry has its own vocabulary, called jargon. Jargon is like slang; it's a shortcut way to communicate. Don't assume your prospective employer will understand the jargon you use on your job application, even if you're staying within the same industry. Your application might be reviewed first by an administrative assistant or human resources specialist who is unable to grasp your meaning. When explaining your skills and past work experience on a job application, be sure to use language that anyone, regardless of industry, can understand. It's especially important to do this if you're seeking a job in a different industry from any you've worked in previously. A potential employer needs to understand what skills and experience you can bring to the position.

Examples of Industry on a Job Application

The following is a list of industries typically included on job applications. Remember, under each industry, there can be wide variety of job titles, representing a wide range of responsibilities and salaries.

  • Administrative/Support
  • Art/Design/Media
  • Business
  • Child Care
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Health Care
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance
  • Legal and Law Enforcement
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Nursing
  • Real Estate
  • Restaurant and Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Technology

Prepare to Fill Out a Job Application

It's a good idea to prepare a job application before you start to look for a job. There are many sample applications online that you can download, print and then complete on your own time. You'll have ample opportunity to verify information, such as addresses and phone numbers of references and former employers. Be sure to check grammar, spelling and punctuation. Take your completed sample application with you to job fairs and interviews, and use it when filling out a job application online. It will be much easier to fill out a real job application when you can refer to your completed sample.


Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.

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