The examiner might ask you to describe an ideal job, or talk about your dream job, in part two of your IELTS Speaking test. In this case, the cue card will give you a few ideas on what to say.
Here, we’ll look at how to give a strong band-seven answer to this question, including three example answers (go straight to the answers here).
What You Can Talk About
First, choose a job you’d like to do that’s easy to talk about. This might be your current job, if you really like it.
It’s important to choose a job that’s easy to describe. You can say:
- What that job is
- What responsibilities this job entails
- What qualifications and personal qualities it requires
- What kind of company needs that job
- Which specific company you’d like to work for
- Where you’d like to work (which city or country)
- What hours you’d like to work
- Who you’d like to work with
- Any other job details you can think of
Say Why You Want This Ideal Job
When talking about why you want this job, you can talk about:
- How lucrative it is (how well-paid it is)
- What perks and benefits it offers (good things apart from pay)
- How interesting it is
- How challenging it is
- How much you would help people in this dream job
- What amazing skills you would learn
- What opportunities for promotion you would have
- How famous and respected you would be
- How you’d have flexible hours
- How you wouldn’t have to work long hours
- How you could work with children all-day
- All the interesting people you’d meet
- How it would allow you to travel a lot
- Anything else that comes to mind
Grammar Tip: Use ‘Would’
When talking about an ideal job like this, or any ideal situation, you are describing a hypothetical (imaginary) situation.
This means you should use the word ‘would’ a lot because ‘would’ is the word we use to talk about hypothetical things (imaginary, unreal things).
For example, you could say:
‘Well, I would love to be a pilot. If I were a pilot, I would be very happy because I would have such an exciting job. I would fly expensive fighter jets all day. I think it would be so much fun.’
This is a wonderful way to speak English, and the examiner will be very happy to hear it.
For hypothetical situations, we also use ‘could’ instead of ‘can.’ For example:
‘If I were a fighter pilot, I would be very happy because could fly faster than any other vehicle on Earth. And I could see the world from the sky every day. It would be amazing.’
Use ‘Would’ in Every Sentence
When we describe a hypothetical situation, we use ‘would’ or ‘could’ in every sentence (not just the first sentence). This tells the listener that we are still just imagining something. It’s not real life.
Many English students have trouble using the word ‘would’ properly (in every sentence while describing the hypothetical situation). So if you use ‘would’ properly in your IELTS Speaking test, your examiner will be impressed.
It’s not 100% necessary to use ‘would’ to answer this ‘ideal job’ question. But it’s a good idea to do so.
In the three example answers below, you can see ‘would’ used in two answers, but not in the third answer.
Focus on Vocabulary
In part two, the examiner is listening for interesting, uncommon words and phrases. So it’s really important to focus on using good vocabulary.
One great way to prepare for this is to learn a few good word groups.
For example, if you learn a word group to describe a ‘money-making’ activity, this will include words like: ‘lucrative, profitable, well-paid, financially rewarding, wealthy, well off, making money hand over fist…’ and more.
You could then use this same ‘money-making’ word group to describe many different job-related questions in part two.
Learn more about word groups here. The example answers below will show you some good word groups in use.
Tell a Story or Two
While preparing for part two, you should think of many short stories to tell.
Try to use at least one story in your part-two answer. With a short story, you can:
- Keep talking easily for 30 to 60 seconds
- Show off your past tenses (past simple, past continuous, past perfect…)
For this question about your dream job, you could prepare a story about:
- When you first heard about your dream job
- When you decided you want to have this job
- A famous person who had or has this job
- A friend who got a job like this
- What job you always dreamed about doing as a child
- A similar job to your dream job that you had in the past
- A really bad job you’ve had before that makes you want to change
- When you first got this ideal job (if you already have your dream job)
- How you got this ideal job
- Any other related story you can think of…
Now let’s look at three example cue cards and answers to this question. See what ideas you can borrow for your own answer.
Ideal Job Cue Card One
Describe an ideal job.
You should say:
- What this job is
- What responsibilities it has
- What qualifications it requires
And say why you would enjoy having this job.
My ideal job would be a job where I could continuously expand my capabilities and feel a sense of progress every day. So I think my ideal job would be as a sales rep for a prestigious multinational company like Microsoft, Facebook, or perhaps Shell.
I’m currently a saleswoman working for a terrific company. But to be frank, I’m extremely ambitious, so it’s really important to me to have plenty of opportunities to prove my abilities and reach my full potential.
My ideal job would be in a dynamic work environment where everybody is striving to succeed. And I would have a good chance of promotion if I proved myself. It would be a work environment in which I could thrive, in which I could stretch my wings and fly.
I would have a great mentor to offer me guidance and lessons on business and sales techniques. My boss and mentor would give me encouragement and plenty of constructive criticism, which is very important for anyone who’s hungry to learn like me. And I’d earn a very high salary, of course. I think that would be a perfect job.
I’ve never had a job like that before. But in my previous position, I had a wonderful mentor who really helped me become more confident. He gave me quite challenging clients to handle early on, so I had a chance to prove myself. And he gave me lots of feedback and encouragement. I was very grateful to him for that.
Hopefully, I’ll keep getting better and I’ll keep climbing the corporate ladder, and soon I’ll get my ideal job at a large multinational company where I can reach all my goals. That would be wonderful.
(Word Group Used: ‘Personal Growth Activity’)
Ambitious, Mentors, Guidance, Encouragement, Acknowledgement, Feedback, Constructive criticism, Opportunities, Personal and professional growth, Expand my capabilities, Chance to prove my abilities, Prove myself, Reach my full potential, Rise through the ranks, Climb the corporate ladder, Dynamic work environment, Striving to succeed, An environment in which I can thrive, Further my goals, Feel a sense of progress, Progress in my career, Opportunities to learn, Learn something new every day, Hungry to learn, High chance of promotion, Offers plenty of opportunities for growth, Stretch my wings and fly.
See many more word groups here.
Dream Job Cue Card Two
Describe your dream job.
You should say:
- What kind of job this is
- What industry this job is in
- Who is suitable for this job
And say why this is your dream job.
Well, I’m going to talk about a job I would really love to have. I think if I could have any job, I would be a famous writer. That would be a super-exciting and fun job.
I would write amazing novels and I’d sell millions of books, and so I’d become very wealthy too, making money hand over fist. I’ve always wanted to write stories for a living, and I’ve also always wanted to be affluent and financially free. So ideally, I’d achieve both of these goals by being a very successful and prosperous writer.
In fact, I’d like to be frightfully rich, rolling in cash. I’d live in luxury apartments in various cities around the world. I would travel all the time, visiting my well-to-do friends in various countries and having incredible experiences. I’d also give money to all my family members and friends, so they could also live on Easy Street, well provided for, with no money worries.
To be a successful writer, I’d have to be very creative and also very level-headed so that I invested my wealth wisely. I know that many writers don’t know how to handle money well, so they don’t make much and then they lose their wealth. So I know that writing novels is not usually a lucrative career. But I would build my wealth carefully, and make sure that my writing was profitable and financially rewarding.
I heard the story of J.K. Rowling, the woman who wrote Harry Potter. I believe she became one of the richest women in the world from her novels and the Harry Potter movies. So I want to be just like her. In the beginning, she was poor, like me. She wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. But she worked so hard and didn’t give up until she became successful. She has a real rags-to-riches story. I admire her very much and I’d love to have her life.
(Word Group Used: ‘Money-Making Activity’)
Lucrative, Profitable, Gainful, Well-paid, High-paying, Financially rewarding, Prosperous, Flourishing, Thriving, Become wealthy, Build my wealth, Affluent, Well off, Well-to-do, Frightfully rich, Make my fortune, Rolling in cash, Be a breadwinner, A rags to riches story, Making money hand over fist, Become a man of means, Living on easy street, Well provided for, No money worries, High risk, high return, Invest my wealth wisely, Handle money well, Born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
Ideal Job Cue Card Three
Describe your ideal job.
You should say:
- What job you’d like to have
- Where you’d like to work
- Who you’d like to work with
And say why you’d like to have this ideal job.
For me, the most important thing is stability and security. So my ideal job is some kind of well-paid government job in accounting. That kind of job has excellent job security so you can rest assured and have peace of mind and a sense of safety. You know you’re not going to lose your job suddenly, and it’s very well-paid so you can save for a rainy day.
I know accounting isn’t the most exciting job in the world, but I really dislike instability and I’m quite risk averse. I like the feeling of having my feet firmly on solid ground. So I’d love to find a job like that and hopefully, I’ll find a job like that after I graduate.
In my ideal job, I’d like to have good health insurance and a good dental plan. I want to know that I’m safeguarded against uncertainty. And I’d like to have consistent, predictable work for the long term. I think if you’re an accountant working for the government, then you’ll never want for work. That’s because there’s always a huge demand for accountants.
My aunt is an accountant. She found her first job very quickly after she graduated from college, and she’s had that same job for sixteen years. She hasn’t ever changed and she’s very happy. I’d like to find a similar job to hers. In fact, my aunt might help me find work when I graduate next year.
In my ideal job, I’d also like to have friendly coworkers and a nice boss who’s easy to work with. I just want to spend time with nice people who I can be friends with.
(Word Group Used: ‘Stable and Secure Activity’)
Security, Stability, Stable job, Job security, Steady work, Reassured, Long term, Predictable, Consistent, Rest assured, Safeguarded against uncertainty, Offered protections, Sense of safety, Financial security, Dental plan, Insurance, Peace of mind, Safe and sound, Feet firmly on solid ground, Better safe than sorry, Save for a rainy day, Build my nest egg, Instability, Impermanence, Risk averse, Dislike of transient positions, Market volatility.
Now, Your Turn to Try
Give this question a go yourself.
First of all, prepare a word group and a short story.
Then set up the voice recorder on your phone. Set a timer for one minute. Then ask yourself out loud to describe an ideal job or describe your dream job.
Prepare your answer for one minute. And then start talking. Try to talk for two minutes without stopping.
Afterward, you can listen to your recording, notice any mistakes, and then do it again.
This is a very good way to prepare for part two of your IELTS Speaking test.