I am not employed right now but I'd like to communicate that if I work, I'd work as x.

I don't want them to think I am currently working.

Is there a better phrase than

My profession is x


  • I have experience working as an X or, if you are professionally qualified, I am a professional X. Apr 27, 2022 at 16:19
  • 3
    Saying 'My profession is X', when one is not currently practicing it, is likely to be misleading, even though it may arguably still be true. If one wishes to convey what one's profession is and avoid misleading the audience in this way, one has to say something more elaborate.
    – jsw29
    Apr 27, 2022 at 16:33
  • 'Craig Miller, an actor currently between roles ...'. Apr 27, 2022 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


Stating your profession doesn't have to mean that you are currently employed; it indicates your normal line of work and/or your skill set. If you want to state what your normal job/vocation is but that you're not currently working, you could say

I'm a computer programmer, though I'm currently between jobs.

You would normally only say this if you are actively pursuing that profession as a career, though. You wouldn't say

I'm a cashier, though I'm currently between jobs.

...as 'cashier' isn't considered the kind of job that needs specialist skills or knowledge.

  • In other words, there is a difference in this respect between professions, in the strict sense, and occupations; being a cashier is not a profession.
    – jsw29
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:52
  • @jsw29 Correct. Per Merriam-Webster's definition 4a "A calling requiring specialised knowledge and often long an intensive academic preparation" or b "A principle calling, vocation, or employment". I suppose that if a person has really dedicated themselves to being an incredible cashier, and actively seeks out that role, you could call it a profession at that point; most cashiers are not so focused.
    – Werrf
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:58
  • Agree that a profession is a skill set, a qualification, a dedication to an activity and so forth. But the phrase “between jobs” is not clear. It may be a euphemism for “unemployed” or it may mean that the next job exists but has not been started yet.
    – Anton
    Apr 28, 2022 at 7:02

Yes. Is implies present tense. E.g.

I am a blacksmith.

Clearly indicates that you are currently a practicing blacksmith.

I was a blacksmith.

Indicates that you were a practicing blacksmith (though ambiguous on the implication in the present).

I had been a blacksmith.

Indicates that you were a practicing blacksmith in the past but no longer are.

If you don't want to be misleading, you should indicate that you were practicing your profession in the past but not in the present, using past perfect tense.

  • This isn't how job titles work in English (or any other language I know). "I am a blacksmith" means either I am in employment (possibly on holiday, on sabbatical, on maternity/paternity leave, doing vocational training, etc), or I'm looking for work as a blacksmith, or maybe I've recently finished working as a blacksmith and intend to do it again quite soon.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 27, 2022 at 18:05
  • 1
    @StuartF The question isn't for job titles (e.g. CEO). It's for professions (e.g. Doctor). Saying that you are a CEO when looking for work as a CEO is definitely wrong.
    – uberhaxed
    Apr 27, 2022 at 18:08
  • 2
    @uberhaxed your example, of doctor, undermines your position. A doctor is a doctor, even if they're not currently working as a doctor.
    – Werrf
    Apr 27, 2022 at 20:00
  • @Werrf is a pro athlete, such as a basketball player, still a pro athlete when they are retired? For example, Magic Johnson retired and became a sport correspondent but would be referred to as a former althlete. And all of this is besides the point. The OP specifically asked for phrasing that makes it unambiguous that they are not currently employed in their profession.
    – uberhaxed
    Apr 27, 2022 at 20:27
  • 2
    @uberhaxed OP asked for phrasing that communicates that "if I work, I'd work as X". Your options - "I was a blacksmith" or "I had been a blacksmith" do not convey that. "I am a blacksmith, but currently between jobs" does.
    – Werrf
    Apr 27, 2022 at 20:30

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