By Jacqueline Schaalje
You’ve probably been in the situation: you’re at a party or reception and you have to speak to people that you don’t know (yet). They ask you about your job. What do you tell them?
Here are some ideas:
I’m in [field].
You can be in banking, in accounting, in the tourist industry, in graphic design, in biology, in dentistry, in computer programming, etc.
I’ve been in [field] for [X] years.
This tells your new pal that you’ve done this job already for a certain number of years.
I’m located/based in [the town/city where your office is].
I’m located in Paris.
I’m a [job].
You can be a chef, a sales representative, a travel agent, an account manager, a department manager, an engineer, a clerk, a programmer, a fitness instructor, or what not. Always check what your job is in English. You’d be amazed how many students come to me and they don’t know their job title in English! The only people who do know are accountants and doctors. I’m not making this up. You never know when you meet someone who you need to speak English to. Imagine you’ll sound really dumb if this person asks you what you do, and you say: “Um, um, I’m a …”
I’m responsible for [the job that you do].
If you’re a chef: I’m responsible for cooking my guests delicious meals.
If you’re a sales representative: I’m responsible for selling as many units as I can.
If you’re a travel agent: I’m responsible for giving my clients an experience they won’t regret.
If you’re an account manager: I’m responsible for giving excellent service to my 600 clients.
I got into [your job], because [the reason(s) for being in your job].
I got into programming because I’ve been designing games from when I was little.
I got into nursing because I was interested in medicine but I didn’t want to study for eight years.
I got into consulting because after working at a large telecom company I was ready to start on my own.
I’m interested in [something that you like in your job or would like to do]
Please, don’t say you’re interesting in. I hear this so often from my students, but it’s a mistake.
I’m interested in surfing the net to find new ideas for products.
I’m interested in travelling for my job.
I’m interested in growing in my field by learning from the experts.
If you’re talking to a lot of people (one after the other) at a social gathering, it’s called mingling. If you’re doing this with the purpose of getting a job or an order, or any other business purpose, it’s called networking.