It’s always interesting to learn about people, and asking what kind of job they have is a great way to learn. But what are the best questions to find out what someone does for a living?
This article will explore how to ask someone what they do for work. There are some great options that cover different situations to help you in many contexts.
- So, what do you do for a living?
- What do you do for work?
- I’m interested in hearing what you do
- I’d love to learn more about your job
- So, what’s your job?
- If you don’t mind me asking, where do you work?
- What do you do to pay the bills?
- Can you tell me more about your job?
- What do you get up to for work?
You should read on to learn the best ways to ask someone what job they have. Then, you can choose the best options to help mix up your writing.
1. So, What Do You Do for a Living?
This is one of the most common conversational phrases to ask someone about their job. Nearly every native speaker uses it to find out what people do. “For a living” refers to whatever someone does to pay the bills.
It’s a very common question, meaning most native speakers know how to respond to it. We highly recommend using it when you ask someone about their job.
You may also refer to these examples:
- So, what do you do for a living? We’ve talked for so long, but I’ve just realized that I’ve never asked!
- It would be really nice to learn more about you. So, what do you do for a living? I’m eager to hear more.
2. What Do You Do for Work?
Another great alternative phrase is “what do you do for work?” It’s a simple enough question. Even non-native speakers will understand that you want to learn about their job here.
Luckily, when figuring out how to ask someone about their job, you don’t need to overcomplicate things. A simple question goes a long way, and it helps to set up a friendly conversation with someone to learn more about them.
Perhaps these examples will help you understand more about it:
- Well, what do you do for work, Phil? I’d love to know what helps to keep that smile on your face all day long.
- What do you do for work? I wish I could have a job that’s as good as the one you go to! It sounds like you have the best time.
3. I’m Interested in Hearing What You Do
It’s always friendly and polite to show an interest in people around you. So, “I’m interested in hearing what you do” is a great example of how to ask someone what their job is.
Here, “what you do” is a question relating to someone’s work. It’s a shortened form of “what do you do for a living?” which is a common phrase amongst native speakers.
Here are a few examples to help you understand more:
- I’m interested in hearing what you do. So, shall we meet again sometime to talk about it?
- It’s nice to see you again, Murphy! I’m interested in hearing what you do for a living. Are you free to talk?
4. I’d Love to Learn More About Your Job
Of course, you might not have the time to learn about someone’s job right away. But maybe you’re interested in setting up a conversation with them in the future.
We recommend a friendly phrase like “I’d love to learn more about your job.” It shows you’re interested in someone’s working life and want to catch up with them to learn more about it.
You might want to refer to these examples to help you as well:
- Hey, mate! I’d love to learn more about your job sometime! I’m always intrigued to hear what people do.
- I’d love to learn more about your job. Whenever you get a spare moment, can we talk more about it?
5. So, What’s Your Job?
If you want to keep things quite casual, “so, what’s your job?” does the trick. It’s a great question to include in more conversational situations, like when talking to friends you haven’t seen for a while.
It’s also a well-rounded option. It allows your friend to fully explain their job (or explain as much as they feel comfortable telling you, of course).
These examples will help you understand it better:
- So, what’s your job again? I think you’ve told me before, but it’s been a while since I asked!
- So, what’s your job? Does it suit you nicely, or are you looking for something else to try?
6. If You Don’t Mind Me Asking, Where Do You Work?
We always recommend starting a polite and formal question with “if you don’t mind me asking.” You can’t go wrong with it when you want to ask something but don’t want to annoy someone or waste their time.
From there, you can continue to the simple question of “where do you work?” Using “where” allows someone to talk about their workplace and the type of work they do.
You can also refer to the following examples:
- If you don’t mind me asking, where do you work? I’m looking for a new job, and it sounds like yours is great.
- Well, if you don’t mind me asking, where do you work? I’d love to hear more about the things you get up to.
7. What Do You Do to Pay the Bills?
A great casual question to drop into a conversation is “what do you do to pay the bills?” Of course, you need to be friends with the person you ask this question. Otherwise, they might think it’s a bit rude.
“Pay the bills” allows you to ask what someone does for work. However, it also relates the situation to the money they earn, which is why it might come across as slightly rude or intrusive if you’re not familiar with the person you’re asking.
These examples should help you if you’re still stuck:
- So, what do you do to pay the bills? I’m always interested in learning what types of jobs people have.
- What do you do to pay the bills these days? It’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to catch up.
8. Can You Tell Me More About Your Job?
If you know what someone does as a job but would like to know more, there’s no reason you can’t ask about it. “Can you tell me more about your job?” is a great way to do this.
It shows you have a rough idea about someone’s job. It also implies you would like to know more and get to know them on a more personal level. You can’t go wrong with it if you want to build a relationship or connection with someone.
You can check out these examples to help you understand it:
- Can you tell me more about your job? You always look so happy after a day of work! I wish I could feel like that.
- Well, can you tell me more about your job? I’m still interested in learning more about what you do.
9. What Do You Get Up to for Work?
There’s one final alternative to share. It’s another casual option, making it suitable when talking to friends you haven’t seen for a while.
We recommend using “what do you get up to for work?” to find out what someone does for a living. It’s a great way to chat with friends and learn more about what they get up to if you don’t see them all that much.
Here are some conversation examples to also help you with it:
- What do you get up to for work, Michael? I’m very interested to learn more about it.
- You have quite an interesting job, though. What do you get up to for work? I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned it before.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.