Matching jobs and skills

Christopher Glick, Rikkyo University


Quick guide

  • Key words:Jobs, skills, matching, reasoning, explaining
  • Learner English level:Advanced high school to adult
  • Leaner maturity:High school and up
  • Preparation time:10 minutes
  • Activity time:35 minutes
  • Materials:Dice, handout


Working is a normal part of most people’s lives, either part-time while in school, or full-time afterwards, and is therefore something worth spending time considering. For people to succeed at their jobs, it is often important their skills match those their jobs require, a situation this activity asks students to consider. Using dice to randomize sets of skills and jobs, students argue why specific skills are suitable for a particular job.


Step 1:Photocopy the attached two-page handout (see Appendix). Double-sided is fine.

Step 2:Make sure each student has at least one die. To save time, two dice are better.

Step 3:Pre-check the job titles and skills vocabulary to make sure you can explain unfamiliar terms.


Step 1:Distribute the handouts, then explain to the students they are going to help each other find and give jobs.

Step 2:Read through and explain the jobs and skills, providing examples as needed.

Step 3:After distributing dice, model the activity’s procedure: students should use the dice to roll four different jobs (one for each Job card) and twelve different skills (three for each Skills card). Rolling dice and filling in cards takes time, so once everyone is on task, write the sample dialog (below) on the blackboard.

Step 4:Have students separate all their Job and Skills cards, then bring them up and pile them on different desks in a Job pile and a Skills pile.

Step 5:Once all the cards are piled on the two desks, take two of each type. Give one of each to a good student with whom you can model the activity.

Step 6:Explain again that students will both find and give jobs. With your student-volunteer partner, choose roles and work through the dialog below. Skills 1–3 and the Job are read directly from the cards. Encourage explanation, examples, or questions of the person’s Skills. Make sure each skill is explained as important to the job, no matter how weak the connection.

Sample Dialog:

A: Hello, can you help me find a job?

B: Maybe. What skills do you have?

A: Well, I (Skills 1)__________, (Skills 2)__________, and (Skills 3)__________.

B: With those skills, I know you will be an excellent (read your Job card), because:

(1)________, (2)________, and (3)________.

A: Thank you very much! (Take the Job.)


A: Thank you, but I think I will keep looking.

Step 7:If the job seeker is satisfied with the recommended job, they should take it and keep the matched Job and Skills cards. The job giver goes to get a new replacement Job card; the job seeker goes to get a new replacement Skills card.

Step 8:If the job seeker is not satisfied, the students separate and repeat the job seeking or giving with other students.

Step 9:After modelling the activity, ask students to come up, take one of both types of cards, and begin the activity.

Step 10:The activity should continue until you end it, students tire, or all the cards are taken.

Step 11:If you participated in the activity, tell the students about your jobs, or at least how many you received. Find out which students got the most jobs.

Step 12: (optional)Pair students and ask them to explain to their partners which job-skill sets they thought were best or worst for them and why.

Step 13: (optional)Assign Step 12 as homework.


This activity asks students to explain why a job seeker’s skills are suitable for a job they are trying to give away. Not only does it get students thinking about different types of jobs and skills, it requires interaction with other students as well as creativity, reasoning, and bluffing (in Japanese,hattari). Some job seekers’ skills are natural matches for offered jobs and thus easy to explain. However, most students are more than willing to stretch credibility to explain why, for example, a job seeker’s “good musical ability,” being “good with animals,” and “don’t like to wear uniforms” are a great match for the offered job of truck driver or English teacher.

Appendix: Sample handout

Available below