Applying for a job or handing in your notice: collocations for work (1)

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by Liz Walter

One of our readers recently asked for a post on collocations relating to the world of work. Well, she’s lucky because she’s getting two of them! This first one focuses on starting and leaving jobs.

A person who doesn’t have a job is out of work. We say that people look for a job, look for work or, much more formally, seek employment:

John’s a designer, but he’s out of work at the moment.

Eva’s looking for work in the retail sector.

A residence permit will enable you to seek employment in this country.

When someone finds a job they want, they apply for it. They may have to fill in an application form and have an interview:

I’ve applied for several jobs recently.

Please fill in the application form and return it by March 3rd.

Liam had an interview for the post of deputy manager.

If they are successful, the company offers them the job/work/post. More informally, we say they get the job. They can then accept or turn down the job:

She’s been offered work at the restaurant.

I hope you get the job, Paul!

They offered me the job, but I decided to turn it down.

When companies hire new workers, they take on staff and if they get rid of them, they lay them off. Much more formally, they terminate their employment.

We usually take on extra staff over the summer.

Orders fell and Mike was laid off.

We have taken the decision to terminate your employment.

When companies decide to stop employing so many people, we say that they cut or shed jobs, or more dramatically that they axe jobs. We say that people lose their jobs, or that there are job losses:

One in three car companies is shedding jobs.

Several of these firms are axing jobs.

Hundreds of people lost their jobs when the factory closed.

The restructure is likely to lead to job losses.

When someone decides to leave a job, they hand in their notice (tell their employer that they are going to leave). We say that people leave their job or quit their job. ‘Quit’ used to be more common in American English but is now widely used in British English too, especially when people leave a job suddenly. When people retire at an earlier age than usual, we say they take early retirement:

Katie has handed in her notice and will be leaving next month.

We decided to quit our jobs and travel the world.

I took early retirement in order to concentrate on my painting.

Look out for my next post, which deals with collocations connected to the experience of having a job.

22 thoughts on “Applying for a job or handing in your notice: collocations for work (1)

  1. andrijamihalic

    Hello Liz,
    thank you for this blog post!
    It lists very relevant collocations and it is to the point.
    I enjoyed reading it and learned some new expressions.
    Thank you!

  2. Yusuf Oyekunle

    Question:When someone retires at a given period,could we say ‘we take or have retirement’ ?Without a shadow of doubt,it is really essential and interesting.I find it helpful!All the best to you!!!

    1. Liz Walter

      Although we say that someone ‘takes early retirement’, if it’s at the normal time, we usually just say they’ve ‘retired’. Hope that helps!

  3. Iris

    Hi Liz, I have two queries.

    Can I use “jobless” as a substitute for “out of work”? And In the sentence “We decided to quit our jobs and travel the world.”, should I say “travel the world” or “travel around the world”, which one is more commonly seen?

    1. Liz Walter

      An interesting question about ‘jobless’ – I think it’s a word we use to talk about other unemployed people, and less usual if we’re talking about ourselves. I don’t think most people would say ‘I’m jobless at the moment’. And ‘travel the world’ and ‘travel around the world’ are both possible, with the first probably slightly more common and natural sounding.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to educate us dear!! I’m hoping I will not be using the term “lay off” in the near future, my widow Brain didn’t make the greatest of impressions. “Feel free to elaborate the meaning of a “widow Brain” and it’s negative affects that it leaves on one’s life. And I love the sound of early retirement, traveling the world is a fraise I hope to use at least one in my life, lol. Lay off is still better than quite, lol.

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