Jobs and Work ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

9 to 5

ESL Jobs Vocabulary Games - Matching and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 45 minutes

In this engaging set of jobs games, students practice jobs vocabulary and describing jobs with 'has to'. To begin, students play a pelmanism game where they match pictures to the names of jobs. In pairs, students take it in turns to turn over a picture card and a word card. If the picture and job written on the word card match, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, give each student a word card and a jobs worksheet. The students imagine that they have the job on the word card and that the jobs on the worksheet are done by people in the class. The aim of the activity is to find out which student does which job. To do this, the students go around the class asking each other the question: What do you do? Students reply, 'I am a/an...' After a student has spoken to a classmate, they write their classmate's name next to the appropriate picture on the worksheet. Next, in groups, students take it in turns to choose a picture card and make sentences about the job on the card with 'has to', e.g. 'The person doing this job has to work long hours'. The other students in the group listen and try to guess the job being described. The first student to guess correctly wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards wins.
9 to 5 Preview
 

Scrambled Jobs

ESL Jobs Vocabulary Worksheet - Writing and Spelling Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

This free jobs worksheet helps students to practice the names of jobs and their spelling. Working alone, the students unscramble the letters on the worksheet to form the names of jobs. When a 10-minute time limit has been reached, elicit the answers from the class. Students score one point for each correct job and spelling. The student with the most points wins.
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Interactive Version - Here is a free jobs vocabulary interactive worksheet to help students learn the names of jobs and how to spell them.

 

What do they do?

ESL Job Descriptions Game - Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this describing jobs game, students match cards together to make sentences about jobs. In pairs, students take it in turns to turn over a card. If a student turns over a job picture card, they place the card face up on the table in front of them. When a student has a picture card, they can start to make a sentence about the job in the picture on their next turn by looking for word cards. All the sentences are four word cards long and start with an article 'A' or 'An'. When a student finds a suitable article card, they place the card next to the picture and then move on to find the next word in the sentence. This continues until the sentence is complete, e.g. 'A postman delivers mail'. If a student turns over another picture card, they can start a new sentence to describe that job, so a student may be working on many sentences at the same time. The student with the most sentences at the end of the game wins.
What do they do? Preview
 

Before they were famous

ESL Celebrity Jobs Activity - Reading, Matching, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 20 minutes

In this intriguing celebrity jobs activity, students guess what jobs celebrities did before they were famous and check their answers by asking past simple yes/no questions with the verb 'to be'. In pairs, the students look at the celebrities on their worksheet and match them to jobs they think they did before they were famous by completing sentences. Students then take it in turns to check their answers by asking their partner past simple yes/no questions with the verb 'to be', e.g. 'Was Hugh Jackman an aerobics instructor?' If the student asking the question gets the answer wrong, they keep asking questions until they get it right. The student with the most correct first-time guesses is the winner.
Before they were famous Preview

Interactive Version - In this celebrity jobs breakout room activity, students decide what jobs celebrities did before they became famous and then check their answers by asking was/were questions to a partner.

 

Find Someone Who...

ESL Jobs Vocabulary Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this jobs activity, students learn and practice jobs and work-related vocabulary by asking and answering questions in a 'Find someone who...' activity. The students begin by reviewing the jobs and work-related vocabulary on the worksheet and preparing the yes/no questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Students then go around the class, asking each other the yes/no questions for the items on the worksheet, e.g. 'Do you want to work abroad?' When a student finds someone who answers 'yes' to a question, they write down the person's name and ask a follow-up question to gain more information (e.g. Why do you want to work abroad?), noting down the answer in the last column. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
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Fun Jobs Games

ESL Jobs Vocabulary Games - Matching, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 60 minutes

This impressive set of jobs games consists of a matching game, miming game, quiz game, and describing game to help students practice jobs and their related duties. To begin, students play a jobs pelmanism game where they match jobs to duties and make sentences. In groups, students take it in turns to turn over a picture card and an activity card. If the picture and duty match, the student makes a sentence, e.g. 'A chef cooks meals'. If the sentence is grammatically correct, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, the students play a jobs miming game. The students place the activity cards face down in a pile. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card and mime the activity on the card. The first student to guess the activity being mimed wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end wins. After that, students play a jobs quiz game. One student takes on the role of quizmaster. That student takes the activity cards. The other students deal out a set of picture cards evenly. The quizmaster picks up an activity card (e.g. cut hair) and asks a question with 'Who...?', e.g. 'Who cuts hair?' The first student to answer the question correctly (a hairdresser) wins. The student with the corresponding picture card then hands it to the winning student. The student with the most cards at the end is the winner. The students then move on to play a jobs describing game using the cards. The students take it in turns to pick up a picture card and describe the job on the card, pretending that it is their job. The student describes the job by talking about what they do, e.g. 'I work in a kitchen and cook meals'. The other students listen and try to guess the name of the job. The first student to guess correctly wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards wins.
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Likes and Dislikes at Work

ESL Job Preferences Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this free work preferences activity, students express their likes and dislikes for different work activities and choose a job for a partner based on their preferences. The students think about the work activities in the questionnaire on the worksheet and number each one, according to how much they like or dislike doing the activity. The students write their answers in the column marked 'You'. In pairs, students then ask their partner the questions on the worksheet and complete the questionnaire with their answers. Next, students think of a job for their partner based on the work activities he or she likes doing. The students then take it in turns to tell the class about the job they chose for their partner and the reasons for their choice. After each student has presented, their partner says whether they agree with the choice or not.
Likes and Dislikes at Work Preview
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Interactive Version - In this free job preferences breakout room activity, students talk about their preferences for various work activities and then choose a job for a partner based on their likes and dislikes.

 

What do I do?

ESL Jobs Guessing Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this 20 questions jobs game, students ask yes/no questions in order to find out someone's job. In groups, students begin by writing down as many yes/no questions as they can think of using the suggestions on the worksheet and their own ideas. The students then take it in turns to pick up a picture card. The other students in the group ask 20 yes/no questions in order to guess the job on the card. The first student to guess the job correctly wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
What do I do? Preview
 

What's my job?

ESL Job Descriptions Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 35 minutes

In this jobs descriptions game, students describe and guess jobs. In groups, each student takes a job card. The students then have one minute to prepare five present simple clues about the job on the card. The students then take it in turns to give their clues. The other students listen and try to guess the job. The first student to correctly guess the job wins and keeps the card. If no one guesses correctly, the student with the card wins and keeps the card. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. For lower-level students, you can have them mime the jobs for other students to guess.
What's my job? Preview
 

Guess the Job

ESL Jobs Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this jobs guessing game, students describe past and present job duties using the past simple and present simple. In groups, students take turns picking up a white card and a grey card from each pile. The white card shows the first job they did when they were young. The grey card shows the job they do now. The student then describes their first job in the past simple. For example, if the job was 'paperboy', the student might say 'I used to deliver newspapers to houses in my area. I rode my bike around my neighbourhood and threw papers on people's front lawns.' The student then uses the present simple to describe the job they do now, starting with the phrase 'But now...' For example, if their present job was 'graphic designer', the student might say 'But now, I use a computer a lot and design logos for companies.' The other students listen and try to guess the two jobs by making a sentence, e.g. 'You used to be/were a paperboy but now you're a graphic designer.' The first student to make a suitable sentence that correctly guesses both jobs wins and keeps the two cards. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
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The Job Interview

ESL Job Interview Role-Play - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 60 minutes

In this job interview role-play activity, students create job interview questions and then role-play a job interview to practice asking and answering the questions. The students begin by deciding on a job they would like to apply for. Next, divide the class into two groups, interviewers and candidates. In their groups, the interviewers discuss and create details for the job, e.g. salary, working hours, etc. The candidates discuss and write down the ideal profile a candidate should have for the job, e.g. the person’s background, work experience, etc. The interviewers then write down job interview questions for the items listed on their worksheet and the candidates write down questions to ask during the interview. After that, pair the interviewers and candidates together and they begin the role-play. The interviewer’s task is to decide if the candidate is right for the job. The candidate’s task is to find out as much information as possible to decide if they want the job. When all the pairs have completed the job interview, the interviewers say what qualities they were looking for and if they found the right candidate. The candidates say what they thought of the job and if they would like to do it.
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The Right Person for the Job

ESL Work Preferences Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 35 minutes

In this free work preferences activity, students ask and answer questions about their likes and dislikes for work-related activities and choose a job for a partner based on their preferences. First, students answer a set of 'Do you like...?' questions about work-related activities by completing the column marked 'You' on the worksheet. In pairs, the students then ask their partner the questions from the worksheet to find out their likes and dislikes and note down the answers on the worksheet. Students must also ask for reasons why and write the explanations on the sheet. Afterwards, students look at their partner's answers and think of a job for them based on their preferences. Finally, the students report back to the class on the job they chose for their partner, explaining the reasons for their choice.
The Right Person for the Job Preview
 

This job...

ESL Jobs Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this communicative jobs discussion activity, students match jobs to statements. The students then discuss the statements in groups and collectively agree on one job for each statement. Working alone, the students think of a job that describes each statement and write the job in the 'My Answers' column on the worksheet. In groups, the students then find a job they all agree on for each of the statements. Students discuss each statement in turn and give their answers. The students also give their opinions on other students' ideas and come up with a job they all agree on. Students write their agreed-upon job in the column marked 'Our Answers'. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session where groups explain their choices to the class.
This Job Preview

Interactive Version - In this jobs discussion breakout room activity, students associate jobs to statements and then talk about their answers in groups and collectively decide on one answer for each statement.

 

Work Skills and Preferences

ESL Work Skills and Preferences Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 40 minutes

Here is a rewarding job skills activity to help students practice talking about work skills and preferences. In pairs, students take it in turns to interview their partner about work skills and preferences and write down their classmate's answers on the worksheet. Students then summarize their partner's skills and preferences and advise them on what type of job or career would be suitable for them based on their results. After that, each pair joins with another pair to make a group of four. In their groups, the students discuss the jobs available on a 'Jobs Board' and say which skills are needed for each job. When the students have finished, they look at their completed questionnaire and propose a job for their partner from the 'Jobs board' by completing a gap-fill with their partner's work skills and preferences. Finally, each student reports back to the class on the job they chose for their partner by reading the gap-fill text. Their partner then says whether they agree or not with their classmate’s decision.
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Phrasal Verbs at Work

ESL Work Phrasal Verbs Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this work-related phrasal verbs activity, students complete questions with phrasal verbs relating to work. Students then ask the questions to a partner and discuss the answers. This activity is suitable for Business English students, people who work or adults. In two groups, students complete the phrasal verbs in the questions with the verbs from the box in their correct form. When the pairs have finished, check the answers and meanings with each pair. Students then pair up with someone from the other group. The students take it in turns to ask their partner the questions on the worksheet and discuss the answers. Afterwards, the students give feedback to the class on what they found out about their partner.
Phrasal Verbs at Work Preview

Interactive Version - In this phrasal verbs breakout room activity, pairs of students complete, ask and answer questions with phrasal verbs related to work.

 
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