Jobs and Professions

jobs and professions

The words jobs and professions are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them:
a job – a paid work position 
a profession – a specialisation that usually requires formal qualifications
an occupation – business, profession or job
a career – professional work path undertaken over a period of time with advancement

For career, and jobs and professions, you may be asked:
What do you do for a living? or simply, What do you do?
What’s your profession?
What’s your occupation?
What business are you in?

When we talk about jobs and professions in English, we use the indefinite article a
I am a plumber.
She is a teacher.
He had wanted to be a jockey.

Unlike many languages, in English most jobs and professions don’t have a different form for the male and female, but where they do they are listed below is the following format – male / female

Note that many end in  -er, -or, -ian, -ist, -ant, -man.

Common Jobs & Professions

accountant looks after the finances of an organisation
actor / actress performs plays on stage or in films 
air steward / stewardess serves airline passengers
architect designs buildings
artist paints or creates ornamental pictures or other art
baker makes bread and cakes
banker works in a bank
barista makes and serves coffee in a café
barman / barmaid serves drinks in a bar or pub
barber cuts men’s hair

jobs and professions barber

bookkeeper records money activities for a business
builder constructs buildings
businessman / businesswoman company executive
carpenter makes or repairs wooden items
cashier receives customer payments in a shop or bank
chef cooks and prepares food, in charge of restaurant kitchen
chemist a specialist in chemistry – interaction of chemicals
cleaner cleans the interior of buildings
coach advises/instructs in a particular field i.e. football coach 
decorator paints buildings and may do minor repairs
dentist treats and maintains teeth and gum health
designer creates artistic creations i.e. fashion designer 
developer develops something – property developer, web developer

jobs and professions chef

dietitian advises on food and drink for health 
doctor treats sick people, often in a hospital
economist a specialist in systems that produce or distribute wealth
editor in charge of content in a newspaper or magazine
electrician installs or repairs electrical equipment 
engineer designs, builds, maintains machines, or structures
farmer manages a farm growing crops or rearing animals
fireman works to extinguishes fires (also firefighter)
fisherman a person who catches fish for a living
florist sells cut flowers, makes bouquets and  arrangements
gardener tends and cultivates plants in a garden

jobs and professions electrician

hairdresser cuts and styles hair (usually for women)
receptionist answers phone calls  and greets visitors
jeweller makes, repairs, sells jewellery
journalist writes for magazines and newspapers
labourer unskilled manual worker often on a building site
lawyer provides legal assistance or representation
librarian caretaker of books in a library
mechanic maintains and repairs engines 
musician plays music to entertain others
nurse works in a hospital looking after the patients
optician tests and looks after people’s eyes and vision

jobs and professions musician

pharmacist prepares and dispenses medical drugs
photographer takes professional photographs 
pilot flies an airplane
plumber fits and repairs sanitary installations
policeman/policewoman investigates crimes
politician represents people in the country’s assembly
postman delivers letters
professor a teacher at a university
programmer creates computer programmes
psychologist treats mind and behaviour issues

jobs and professions photographer

salesperson a seller of goods or services
scientist carries out research and development in the natural sciences
secretary office worker who types, keeps records and other administrative duties
soldier works in the army
surgeon performs operations on patients in a hospital
tailor makes clothes for individual customers
teacher works in a school educating children
therapist helps people work through their emotional or mental issues
vet (short for veterinarian) takes care of the health of animals – a doctor for animals
waiter /waitress serves tables in a restaurant
writer someone who write books, articles, poems

Work related vocabulary

to look for a job
to apply for a job
to find a job
to get a job
to hire / to be hired
to fire / to be fire
to be laid off
to be made redundant
to lose one’s job
to leave one’s job
to resign
to retire
employer; employee: co-worker
CV – curriculum vitae
job interview

jobs and professions cv

CV – Curriculum Vitae
(Resume in American English)

Jobs & Professions by Field or Department


president; vice-president; chairman
executive officer; CEO – Chief Executive Officer; (COO; CTO; CFO – operations, technical, financial)
director; managing director; financial director; marketing director
manager; general manager; sales manager; project manager; line manager
Head of Marketing, Head of Sales, Head of Admin: HR – Human Resources, supervisor

Accounts and Finance

accountant; bookkeeper; accounts clerk
treasurer; financier; investor; stockbroker
banker; bank clerk; bank teller; cashier
auditor; economist; taxman; tax collector


sales manager; sales agent; sales rep; sales assistant; salesperson / salesman / saleswoman; salesgirl; sales clerk; cashier
wholesaler; retailer; merchant; distributor; dealer; trader 

Office, general

clerk; office clerk; secretary; typist; receptionist; girl Friday; PA (private or personal assistant)


doctor; GP (general practitioner); consultant; surgeon
specialist – ear specialist; throat specialist; cardiologist; paediatrician; ophthalmologist
paramedic; nurse
dentist; hygienist; dental nurse 


computer specialist; computer programmer; computer scientist; software engineer; systems analyst
web programmer; web developer; web designer
systems administrator; computer operator 


head master/mistress; principal; dean; provost
deputy head; head of department; professor
teacher – school teacher; maths teacher; English teacher; history teacher etc.; tutor


judge; barrister; lawyer; solicitor; legal secretary
police officer; policeman/policewoman; police inspector; detective
guard; prison warden; traffic warden 


artist; sculptor; photographer
musician; composer; conductor; sound engineer; pianist; drummer; singer; vocalist
dancer; performer
film maker; film director; producer; cameraman; lighting engineer; actor / actress
writer; author; publisher; playwright; dramatist; poet; journalist; reporter; correspondent
designer; fashion designer; graphics designer; interior designer; furniture designer


trainer: coach: team manager; physiotherapist; personal trainer; fitness instructor
gymnast; tennis player; golfer; footballer; cricketer


beautician: beauty therapist: cosmetician: aesthetician; make-up artist
hair dresser; hair stylist: barber
tattoo artist; nail technician: model


chef; sous chef; cook
headwaiter; waiter /waitress
bartender; barman / barmaid
dishwasher; busboy; kitchen porter


builder; developer; contractor; construction engineer, construction worker
technician; engineer; mechanic; electrician
welder; bricklayer; mason; painter decorator
maintenance man; handyman; caretaker 

Drivers & Crew

driver; chauffeur; taxi driver, bus driver; train driver; dispatch driver; delivery man
pilot; co-pilot; flight attendant; stewardess;
mechanic; car mechanic; railway engineer
captain; skipper; sailor 

Civil Servants

Public service workers who work for government are collectively called civil servants. Jobs can range from tax officers to overseeing operations in different ministries, and jobs have different grades from junior positions upwards.