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This Business English lesson plan on careers has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

In very simple terms, a career is the occupation a person progresses through during their life. Some people may find their career immediately after finishing education; others may have to wait longer as competition for jobs increases. In the past, people had a career for life. These days, as options increase or are limited, people have become much more open to the idea of pursuing multiple careers through their life. In this Business English lesson plan on careers, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how their career is going, their ambitions and the measures they need to take to progress in their careers.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

HuffPost | The Pros and Cons of Making a Career Change

The article looks at some advantages of making a career change, such as following your passion and the ability to grow, as well as some of the disadvantages, such as financial insecurity and increased stress. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any other pros and cons?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Larry Smith called “Why you will fail to have a great career” which looks at some of the reasons people don’t secure the career they always dreamed of.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including why the students chose their careers, their long term career plans, and their motivations at work.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with careers such as career break, career ladder and dead-end job. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about careers. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what would make them quit a job, whether they think a career change is a good idea, and whether a degree is necessary for a good career.


After the class, students will write a personal career plan. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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4 thoughts on “Careers”

  1. Hello,
    Just drawing attention to the duplicate PDF download section at the end of the article. No link or download is attached to the second duplicated set.
    Thanks for the lesson!

    1. Hi Nate, thanks for your reply. Yes I’ve been updating the blog posts with a new format and unfortunately the business posts still have the old structure. The lesson plans for the business topics will be the first download link (the ones at the bottom don’t work right now). I’ll try and update these as soon as possible.

  2. Menderes Kekevi

    The teacher’s guide doesn’t contain the answers to the video questions in exercise 3. Can you please update it?

    1. Hi Menderes. The video activities for the business lessons don’t have answers as it’s another speaking activity (based on what the students thought about the theme of the video). The general lessons are the ones that have correct answers.

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