Humanities › Languages German for Beginners: Occupations (Beruf) Job and Career Conversation in German Share Flipboard Email Print Friendly conversation. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images Languages German Vocabulary Basics History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar English as a Second Language Spanish French Italian Japanese Mandarin Russian English Grammar View More Table of Contents Expand A Cultural Note on Asking About Other's Work A Note About German Grammar Common Professions (Berufe) Questions and Answers (Fragen und Antworten) Where Do You Work? Applying for a Position by Hyde Flippo Hyde Flippo taught the German language for 28 years at high school and college levels and published several books on the German language and culture. Updated January 30, 2019 Discussing your profession in German requires a new list of vocabulary. Whether your job is as an architect, a doctor, a taxi driver, or if you're still a student, there are many occupational words to learn in German. You can begin with the simple question, "Was sind Sie von Beruf?" This means, "What’s your occupation?" There's so much more to learn and this lesson will give you plenty of new study words and phrases pertaining to your career. A Cultural Note on Asking About Other's Work It's very common for English-speakers to ask a new acquaintance about their profession. It's small talk and a nice way to introduce yourself. However, Germans are less likely to do this. While some Germans may not mind, others may consider it an invasion of their personal sphere. This is something you'll just have to play by ear as you meet new people, but it's always good to keep in mind. A Note About German Grammar When you say "I'm a student" or "he's an architect" in German, you normally leave out the "a" or "an". You will say instead "ich bin Student(in)" or "er ist Architekt" (no "ein" or "eine"). Only if an adjective is added do you use the "ein/eine." For instance, "er ist ein guter Student" (he is a good student) and "sie ist eine neue Architektin" (she is a new architect). Common Professions (Berufe) In the following chart, you will find a list of common occupations. It's important to note that all professions in German have both a feminine and a masculine form. We have listed the feminine form only in cases when it is not simply the standard -in ending (as in der Arzt and die Ärztin) or when there is also a difference in English (as in waiter and waitress). You will find the feminine for jobs that are more likely to be feminine (such as a nurse or secretary) and in cases when the German feminine form is very common (as in student). English Deutsch architect der Architekt auto mechanic der Automechaniker baker der Bäcker bank teller der Bankangestellte, die Bankangestellte bricklayer, stone mason der Maurer broker stock broker real estate agent/broker der Makler der Börsenmakler der Immobilienmakler bus driver der Busfahrer computer programer der Programmierer, die Programmiererin cook, chef der Koch, der Chefkochdie Köchin, die Chefköchin doctor, physician der Arzt, die Ärztin employee, white-collar worker der Angestellte, die Angestellte employee, blue-collar worker der Arbeiter, die Arbeiterin IT worker Angestellte/Angestellter in der Informatik joiner, cabinetmaker der Tischler journalist der Journalist musician der Musiker nurse der Krankenpfleger, die Krankenschwester photographer der Fotograf, die Fotografin secretary der Sekretär, die Sekretärin student, pupil (K-12)* der Schüler, die Schülerin student (college, univ.)* der Student, die Studentin taxi driver der Taxifahrer teacher der Lehrer, die Lehrerin truck/lorry driver der Lkw-Fahrerder Fernfahrer/Brummifahrer waiter - waitress der Kellner - die Kellnerin worker, laborer der Arbeiter *Note that German makes a distinction between a school student/pupil and a college-level student. Questions and Answers (Fragen und Antworten) Having a conversation about work often involves a number of questions and answers. Studying these common job-related inquiries is a good way to ensure you understand what's being asked and know how to respond. Q: What's your occupation?Q: What do you do for a living?A: I'm a... F: Was sind Sie von Beruf?F: Was machen Sie beruflich?A: Ich bin... Q: What's your occupation?A: I'm in insurance.A: I work at a bank.A: I work at a bookstore. F: Was machen Sie beruflich?A: Ich bin in der Versicherungbranche.A: Ich arbeite bei einer Bank.A: Ich arbeite bei einer Buchhandlung. Q: What does he/she do for a living?A: He/She runs a small business. F: Was macht er/sie beruflich?A: Er/Sie führt einen kleinen Betrieb. Q: What does an auto mechanic do?A: He repairs cars. F: Was macht ein Automechaniker?A: Er repariert Autos. Q: Where do you work?A: At McDonald's. F: Wo arbeiten Sie?A: Bei McDonald's. Q: Where does a nurse work?A: In a hospital. F: Wo arbeitet eine Krankenschwester?A: Im Krankenhaus/im Spital. Q: At which company does he work?A: He's with DaimlerChrysler. F: Bei welcher Firma arbeitet er?A: Er ist bei DaimlerChrysler. Where Do You Work? The question, "Wo arbeiten Sie?" means "Where do you work?" Your reply may be one of the following. at Deutsche Bank bei der Deutschen Bank at home zu Hause at McDonald's bei McDonald's at the office im Büro in a garage, auto repair shop in einer/in der Autowerkstatt in a hospital in einem/im Krankenhaus/Spital with a big/small company bei einem großen/kleinen Unternehmen Applying for a Position "Applying for a position" in German is the phrase "sich um eine Stelle bewerben." You will find the following words helpful in that particular process. English Deutsch company, firm die Firma employer der Arbeitgeber employment office das Arbeitsamt (Web link) interview das Interview job application die Bewerbung I'm applying for a job. 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