I'm working on a job app and I would like to offer our user the possibility to save a job and let them find it quickly later.

First I thought using a star icon to let them "star" a job like starring a mail in Gmail for example. But I was wondering if there are best practices regarding the use of star, favorite or save (label and/or icon) for this type of action.

Maybe "save" is the most easy to understand for not advanced users, what do you think?

Edit: Thanks for all your answers, there are many subjectives opinions (like @3nafish said) but there isn't only one answer to this question. I will do some A/B testing with different labels and icons to see which one fit the best.

  • 5
    This question's generating a lot of subjective opinions about selection of various icons. Is is possible that what you're really looking for is best practices regarding re-access patterns and saving information for later? If so, you should probably create a new question asking that instead. (There are so many answers here already that creating a new question asking that is probably a better option than editing the current one.) Apr 19, 2013 at 13:10
  • 3
    Something else to consider is that you are mixing the choice of the star symbol with the verb "to star" in your question. While some sites (GitHub comes to mind) use both the star symbol and the term "star" ("star this", "I starred that", ...), other sites (many StackExchange sites, etc.) and apps use the star symbol but call it "favorite". I think many would agree that using a star symbol would be familiar as a sign of importance, whereas using "star" as a verb is not as familiar, but may be gaining acceptance. Apr 19, 2013 at 16:35
  • What about "remember"?
    – AndrewC
    Apr 19, 2013 at 19:56
  • Just a suggestion: if users don't care much about your site, they're not likely to bother with fiddly customisations like "favourites" and "stars". Instead, consider just making it really easy to see any jobs they've already interacted with. Apr 24, 2013 at 5:29
  • Also, consider "shortlist" instead of star/favourite/bookmark. Apr 24, 2013 at 5:29

8 Answers 8


To "star" something is a very abstract concept hardly familiar outside Gmail. While people save things for later all the time, they hardly ever "star" something. While the star as an icon is fine, it doesn't translate well to a verb or action.

Marking things for later reference is commonly offered through either "bookmarks" or "favorites". Here, favorite is very implicit about what it accomplishes, but if there is a menu option somewhere that lists your favorites it's easy enough to understand the use of the feature.

In the context of a website, you may run into some confusion when a user marks something as a favorite, but doesn't find it in the favorites menu of their browser.

If the action is to save something for later, why not just call it "save for later" and have a on overview called "saved for later"? You can then further support that with either a star or bookmark icon.

  • 3
    Yes, name the action after what the action does. I can imagine a conversation going: "What is the 'star' option? - that's for saving for later", whereas I can't imagine the conversation "What does 'save for later' mean - it means Save it for Later". Some options are just self-explanatory.
    – JonW
    Apr 19, 2013 at 9:58
  • 2
    On the SE is also the concept of "stared messages in chat" so my first thought was that that word comes from "to stare" and I haven't got the concept... Apr 19, 2013 at 13:26
  • I'm not a fan of "save" in this context, but both "bookmarks" and "favorites" are great.
    – jhocking
    Apr 19, 2013 at 15:53
  • 3
    "To 'star' something is a very abstract concept hardly familiar outside Gmail" - unless you use GitHub (which uses symbol and term), or many StackExchange sites or many, many other applications that use star to mark something as important. I even used to "star" things when I took notes in school. While the verb "star" and adjective "starred" may not be in common vocabulary yet, it could easily become so. Apr 19, 2013 at 16:21
  • Yes, it could. But still it doesn't mean anything in normal language, and that makes it less likely for the general public to pick it up. It's like the tech community equivalent of "to smurf". Especially since there are a bunch of terms that already cover the same functionality but to do make sense without explanation (bookmark, save, favorite, flag, mark). Apr 19, 2013 at 17:34

Depends on how you are approaching the concept. I can call it a WATCHLIST. What exactly do you want the user to do.

Create a list of jobs so that they can visit again and check them. Yes it works same as a favorite but the term doesn't suits the purpose of job searching. A person cannot have a favorite job post.

I will rather have 2 options for the user. Apply or Add to Watchlist as this serves the propose of the user visiting your website. I makes it more relevant to the action they are performing.

  • Well what I'm trying to offer to the user, it's more a way to save a job in order to let him apply later. For example, he saw a good offer while he was in the bus, and he would like to apply but now he don't have time, so he can save it, access it at home with his desktop computer for example and apply.
    – Matteo
    Apr 19, 2013 at 10:03
  • 1
    Well then make that choice upfront... APPLY and APPLY LATER (as a secondary option).
    – ajayashish
    Apr 23, 2013 at 5:52
  • if you want to make it more like icon... then keep a small list of such saved jobs on the right panel and when someone clicks on the icon (STAR) then it animated as if it is going and adding to that list.
    – ajayashish
    Apr 23, 2013 at 5:54

But it's not a Save action though, is it?

The feature you describe sounds very much like the conventional Favorite feature. The user marks an item of interest to have it easily accessible at a later point. The item is still accessible even if the user doesn't mark it, but then the user has to manually look it up again. This does not sound anything like a Save feature. A user leaving an item without saving it conventionally entails that the item is unrecoverable, it was not of interest so therefore I discard it, usually used in the context of self generated material.

If I'm writing an email and suddenly decide to wait with sending it to a later point, I would expect a feature symbolized with a save icon and the description Save for later, a star icon would feel really out of place and inaccurate here. However, if I receive an email for example, and the email is of great interest (something I want easy access to) I would expect a Favorite feature symbolized by a star. Not a Save icon that says Save for later. "-So what happens if I don't save it? Can I still access it?" Would be my thought process in that scenario.

The Star icon is widely spread and pretty much a convention for marking items of interest. Just have a look right next to your question. Based on how I interpret your question I would without a doubt recommend you with going with the star icon.


Each of the words has a distinct meaning and implication, and they should be used only in that context.

'Save' has no indication of quality. You are simply stating that you want to have it available for later.

'Star' indicates that you are flagging an item to more easily find it and do something with later. Think of starring an email in gmail here - it's not necessarily your favourite email, just something that you want to come back to later.

'Favourite' is an indication of quality as well as marking something in a way that you can find it later. Favourites also act as a sort of vote that you can use to assign a more global value to an item which may be of use to other users. It is one of the reasons why the 'favourite' star is shown below the vote count on this site.

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In the context of your app the most appropriate option would be to 'favourite' the job as that is their most likely intention. They most likely want to show that they are interested in it and they want to be able to more easily find it again later.


Few thoughts:

Job Sites are not like blogs which keep their old posts under archive section. Jobs appear and go away within a week to couple of months time at most. As Ajay mentioned, Jobs cannot be "favorite" and even if they do, your "favorite" jobs wouldn't be accessible to you after few weeks - I wouldn't expect that happening to my favorites. For the same reason, "Save for later" would give me a different understanding than applied reality.

Idea of "Starred Jobs" is the better option of the three. Starred can be interpreted as "Selected", "Marked" or "Flagged" jobs without giving user the feeling that these will be "saved" for him to be reviewed few months later.

"Watch List" is also good but watch-list is mostly about developing stories, forum posts, activity feeds and areas which grow or change over time. If I had to pic out of "Star" or "Add to Watch List", I would find "Starring" more relevant and useful than "Watch List".

Conclusion: Staring is the better of all available options. It is not perfect but it is the least confusing of the given list.


I think a star wouldn't be obvious enough way to "save for later". "Favourite" would be a better option or better yet, "Save for later"

  • You're right, I think "Save for Later" define better this action.
    – Matteo
    Apr 19, 2013 at 9:52

Personally, I think you should consider a different word here : Shortlist

"Shortlist" is something that everyone will understand, and it can double as a noun and verb.

Usage as verb:

Shortlist this job?

Usage as noun:

Go to [Jobs] Shortlist.

In the context of your app, the meaning of "Shortlist" is very unlikely to be lost on the user. A user might read "Watchlist" and be confused. Watchlist? What am I watching? Is it watching for me? Of course most people will understand, but the objective of UX is to have as few people complaining as possible, right? ;)

When you're dealing with "Shortlists" you know that it's a short list, derived from the larger list of all jobs - one that you create and maintain.


There is not a "right" answer here. The trick will be clearly communicating the functionality to the user and making sure you are consistent. Save/star/favorite/bookmark/shortlist/like/track/store, all are acceptable indicators of the functionality. What it comes down to is the overall feel of your experience. You'll have to take in the entire process as a whole and then decide what works best.

For example, are you allowing users to save a resume? A "save" option for a resume may come in conflict with a "save" option for a job listing. Does the interface require you to save space? Then a star icon could work. Is the site/app language professional or friendly? Then respective uses of "bookmark" and "favorite" will tie into the general feel of your experience.

The good news is that you have the right options. Now you need to decide what works best in your specific situation.

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