The relationship between occupations and identity remains underexplored for the early modern period. This essay makes a case for the utility of seventeenth-century ballads to the study of that relationship. First, it outlines how ballad discourses assigned stock characteristics to various trades in ways that would have influenced external processes of identity formation. Second, it questions what these sources can tell us about internal occupational identity by examining issues of authorship and consumption. The essay concludes that ballads can be a valuable source for historians seeking to more fully appreciate the operation of early modern occupational identities.