Talking about Jobs and Occupations in Spanish

¡Hola y bienvenido! In the previous lesson, we introduced the vocabulary for jobs in Spanish, particularly the names of several common occupations and professions and ways to use them in meaningful sentences. Although we did a lot there, we have not contextualized the topic and seen the vocabulary and grammar in use through real conversations. That being said, this lesson will introduce some specific situations in which you might need to talk about jobs and occupations in Spanish, the questions you may be asked and their possible answers. Comencemos…

Vocabulary review: A list of common of jobs and occupations in Spanish

First, we will review the names of common jobs and occupations in Spanish using some nice graphics. These words are part of the vocabulary needed to understand the conversations later.

Common vocabulary for jobs and occupations in Spanish
Trabajos y ocupaciones comunes en español

Next, we will show you a video with a more complete list of jobs and occupations in Spanish, besides the explanation on the basic structure of sentences for this topic and key questions you need to know before moving forward in this lesson. It includes many cool examples on this topic.

Describing your job and Saying “What do you do?” in Spanish

So, “What’s your job” in Spanish

To review a little, the basic way to ask “what’s your job” in Spanish is with “¿En qué trabajas?” and “¿Qué haces?” It is easy to notice that some names of jobs and occupations in Spanish are written very similarly in both languages, which makes it easier to remember them. Our first example will be using the simple past of verbs in Spanish. For this tense, we should use a tilde over the last vowel for most verbs, e.g. “estudié” (I studied) and “viví” (I lived). In addition, when narrating something, it is important to use sequencing words such as “primero” (first), “luego” (then), “después”(later) and so on. Last, remember that adjectives and “me gusta” (I like) might be useful to say what you think about a specific occupation.

Example No. 1

Mi trabajo

Alguien me preguntó ayer ¿En qué trabajas? Cuando era pequeño yo quería ser arquitecto porque me gusta dibujar, pero no soy muy bueno en matemática. Luego quería ser bombero y después quería ser empresario. Después de pensar mucho, estudié para ser doctor. Ser doctor requiere (de) mucha responsabilidad, pero me gusta mi trabajo. Es interesante y al mismo tiempo puedo ayudar a los demás.

Read English translation
Someone asked me yesterday, what do you do? When I was little, I wanted to be an architect because I like to draw, but I’m not very good at math. Then I wanted to be a fireman and then wanted to be an entrepreneur. After much thought, I studied to be a doctor. Being a doctor requires a lot of responsibility, but I like my job. It is interesting and at the same time I can help others.

Describing your job in Spanish and sharing more information

When talking about jobs and occupations in Spanish, we can also add information about the place or company we work for. For example, if you are a teacher (maestro), you would probably work in a school (escuela) and if you are an engineer (ingeniero) perhaps you would work for a company (compañía/empresa). People may also ask what’s your job like in Spanish using “¿Cómo es tu trabajo?” and “¿Qué tal es tu trabajo?”

In order to describe your job in Spanish you may need adjectives like “interesante”, “aburrido”, “pesado” (hard), “difícil”and “fácil” (easy). Check all of this in the example below:

Example No. 2

¿Qué haces?

  • María: Oye ¿Qué haces tú?
  • Paul: ¿Yo? Pues yo soy ingeniero civil. Trabajo en una empresa de construcción.
  • María: Yo soy maestra de medio tiempo. También soy administradora de mi propio negocio. ¿Qué tal tu trabajo?
  • Paul: Es un trabajo interesante, pero siempre tenemos muchas cosas que hacer… tú sabes, todo trabajo es difícil de una manera u otra.
  • María: Dímelo a mí que tengo dos trabajos.
Read English translation
Maria: Hey, what do you do?
Paul: Me? Well, I’m a civil engineer. I work in a construction company.
Maria: I am a part-time teacher. I am also the administrator of my own business. How is your job?
Paul: It’s an interesting job, but we always have many things to do … you know, all jobs are difficult in one way or another.
Maria: Don’t tell me! I have two jobs.

My dream job in Spanish

Something cool about jobs and occupations in Spanish is that you can also talk about them as wishes or goals to say things like “Quiero ser policía cuando sea grande” (I want to be a police officer when I grow up) or using “Me gustaría” as in “Me gustaría ser científico” (I would like to be a scientist). These types of sentences are great for talking about dream jobs in Spanish – “Los trabajos de ensueño”. You can learn a little more about ways to express wishes in Spanish in this lesson. Besides, you can also use the future tense to say things like “Voy a ser doctor” (I’m going to be a doctor).

Example No. 3

Mi nombre es Cristian Jiménez. Tengo 18 años. Me gustan distintos tipos de trabajos, pero debo decidir qué estudiar en la universidad. Me gustaría ser diseñador de interiores para aprender de combinaciones de colores, cómo adaptar espacios y cosas así. También me gusta la tecnología, especialmente los juegos de videos, así que quiero ser programador o diseñador gráfico para crear juegos geniales. Creo que todo lo que tenga que ver con diseño, un poco de arte y creatividad es lo mío.

Read English translation
My name is Cristian Jimenez. I’m 18. I like different kinds of jobs, but I have to decide what to study at university. I would like to be an interior designer to learn about color combinations, how to adapt spaces and things like that. I also like technology, especially video games, so I want to be a programmer or graphic designer to create cool games. I think that everything that has to do with design, a bit of art and creativity is my thing.

Listening Activity No. 1: Jobs and occupations in Spanish

Listen to a conversation about jobs and occupations in Spanish between two girls. It includes some of the things that we have discussed in this lesson. Take notes of the things you consider relevant in the conversation, and then solve the interactive quiz about it. Press PLAY to listen to the Spanish audio.

Key expressions in the conversation:

  • Yo quiero ser… cuando crezca means I want to be…when I grow up
  • Eso suena interesante means That sounds interesting
Conversation script: jobs and occupations in Spanish
Lidia: Hay muchas profesiones interesantes hoy en día, ¿verdad Marta?
Marta: Sí, yo quiero ser Contadora cuando crezca.
Lidia: Es una ocupación interesante. Dime, ¿Qué hace tu papá?
Marta: Él es Ingeniero Civil. Es muy inteligente.
Lidia: ¿Dónde trabaja?
Marta: Él trabaja en una compañía de construcción. ¿y tu mamá Lidia?
Lidia: Mi mamá trabaja como Doctora en un hospital.
Marta: Ese es un trabajo pesado.
Lidia: Sí, pero a ella le gusta mucho cuidar de otras personas.
Marta: ¡Qué bueno! ¿A qué se dedica tu papá?
Lidia: Bueno, él es fotógrafo y es muy bueno en su trabajo…
Marta: Eso suena interesante…

Listening Activity No. 2: Telling about your job in Spanish

Listen to a couple of job descriptions in Spanish and fill in the blanks with the information provided in the recording.

Writing assignment:

Write a paragraph similar to the one before talking about your job in Spanish (lo que tú haces) and the things that you like and dislike about your occupation (lo que te gusta sobre tu trabajo).

Related Spanish Worksheets:

5 thoughts on “Talking about Jobs and Occupations in Spanish”

  1. Darren Rutter

    Me gusta el web sitio. Eso articulo me ha ayudado mucho. Tengo un intercambio mañana sobre este subjeto. Muchas gracias desde Inglaterra!

  2. I really like this site! I love the images with the listening of individual vocab words. The only problem is the conversations have music in the background which is very distracting when the students are focusing on the words. Is there any way to just listen to the people talking?

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