IELTS speaking vocabulary: talking about your work or career

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You may be asked questions about your work or career.  Read the following IELTS style question and answers below and pay attention to the words or phrases in bold.

Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check any meanings you are unfamiliar with.

Make a note of any new vocabulary and the best way to learn it is to use it!

IELTS speaking part 1 - style questions

Examiner:  Do you have a job right now?

Janet:  Not at the moment, in fact I am currently studying for my Masters in Psychology which I am finding really interesting but also very challenging. I have always been fascinated by Psychology, so I decided to learn more about this important field.

Examiner: Will you plan to use this learning in your future career?

Alix: Well, I hope it will be useful for me but as a future career what I am really motivated about is to work in Environmental studies, which is particularly relevant and topical in the current climate crisis. I will be looking for an internship in the USA or even an apprenticeship which might be more practical and hands on.

Examiner: What qualifications would you need for this job?

Kamil: I am not exactly sure. Whilst my degree in Psychology is interesting, I’m not convinced that it will be as useful as studies in Biology or even Geography might be. However, I have managed to gain informative and valuable work experience in a range of innovative small companies who are at the cutting edge of this field so I hope that will be useful.

  • important field.
  • motivated about
  • internship
  • apprenticeship
  • hands on
  • valuable work experience
  • innovative small companies
  • cutting edge

IELTS speaking part 2 - style question

Describe a job that would be classified as crucial or highly important

You should say:

  • what the job is
  • what the job involves
  • why it is important

Davido: There is no doubt in my mind that workers who dedicate themselves to the Health profession should be considered highly important or key. Not just in this recent COVID pandemic, but in all situations, day or night, local or global, we depend on nurses, doctors, consultants and medical professionals to diagnosecare for and cure us.

It’s definitely not a career for the faint hearted and if you are after job flexibility or a dependable nine to five it’s not the one for you. As an example, a friend of mine who had always been determined to be a Doctor, is currently practicing in at a London hospital and specialises in children’s medicine or pediatrics. 

He is involved in the A and E department, so has to react swiftly and calmly in all kinds of worrying situations but always appear optimistic though, sadly he has often had to break bad news to families.

Of course, a career in Medicine is one of the most important there is as we are totally dependent on being able to get help when we need it, everything from routine check ups to specialist consultancies, operations and follow up care.

Of course, there has always been huge appreciation and acknowledgment for our doctors and nurses and this continues to grow. Whilst in many countries, medics are well paid, in others, the job is not lucrative, although there is no doubt that the gratitude the public feel towards medics is overwhelming.

IELTS speaking part 3 – style question

Examiner: Which jobs would you say are most respected in your country?

Emilie: Similar to many countries, the well established fields of law, education, and medicine may be the most highly-acclaimed ones. It is usually thought that  people specialising  in these fields can easily earn lucrative income compared to others, although there is no doubt that many years of study are required which can be both expensive and highly challenging so the rewards are hugely merited.

Examiner: Some people say it’s better to work for yourself than be employed by a company. What’s your opinion?

Working as an employee can offer many benefits, such as a reliable salary, the possibility of moving up the career ladder for promotion, as well as being a member of a pension scheme.  It is often acknowledged that being  a full-time employee can be demanding and very stressful. However, being self-employed, while being appealing does not offer much job security.

Examiner: What changes in employment have there been in recent years in your country?

Raff:  As far as I know, more and more people, especially the young generations are involved in setting up their own businesses as this is seen as offering more independence, more flexibility and the chance to be creative, and to earn substantial sums. So,  the “start-up” community is now more alive than ever, especially tech start-ups which are diverse and very exciting with a lot of potential to grow exponentially.

Vocabulary list and definitions:

  • A field (of work): an area or type of career
  • Motivated about: wanting to do well in
  • Internship: working for a short time, sometimes unpaid
  • Apprenticeship: hands on, or practical work to learn a job
  • Hands on: getting involved and doing everything to help
  • Innovative small companies: with new, creative ideas
  • Cutting edge: the best new technology
  • Diagnose: to find out what is wrong
  • Pediatrics: specialist child medicine (also spelled paediatrics)
  • Routine check ups: a regular  (not urgent) visit to the doctors
  • Huge appreciation: gratefulness and gratitude
  • Follow up care: an appointment after an operation or illness
  • Lucrative: money making or profitable
  • Highly merited: well deserved
  • Career ladder: moving up through promotions to the top of the company
  • Pension scheme: money for retirement
  • Job security: knowing you can keep your job / job safety
  • Start up community: new small businesses sometimes internet based

More IELTS vocabulary tutorials to help you prepare for your IELTS exam: