What is the Difference Between a Job and a Career?

What is the Difference Between Job and Career?

Job vs Career – what’s the difference?

Long gone are the days where the majority of people leave school, get a job, and stay with that employer for the rest of their working lives.

Of course, this does still happen, but it is far more common nowadays for people to hold multiple jobs throughout the duration of their career, or indeed careers (plural).

So that begs the question:

What is the difference between a job and a career?

Let’s start by looking at the definitions…

Career Definition

Depending where you look, there a few definitions of Career, although they are all very similar in their description:

  • An occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
  • An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.
  • A field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.




Job Definition

Again, there are numerous definitions available, and – again – they have a similar theme:

  • A post of employment; full-time or part-time position.
  • A paid position of regular employment.
  • The regular work that a person does to earn money.

Key Differences: Job vs Career

This infographic highlights the differences between a job and a career:

What is the difference between a job and a career

How to Turn a Job Into a Career

If you feel that you are currently working a job rather than a career, but would like to tuen your job into a career, what should you do?

Well the first thing to do is identify some career goals that you want to achieve.


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For example, a common career goal is to find a type work that you enjoy doing that you would be happy to make a career out of. To do this, you may find that you try several different jobs before finding out what it is that really motivates and excites you. This may involve taking some risks, as you change jobs to find the right one.

Develop your skills

Once you have your ideal career defined, you then start to think about what skills or resources you need in order to achieve those goals.

You should look to enhance and deepen your existing skills that align to your career of choice. This can be through formal training or on the job experiences.

Similarly, you should think about what skills you don’t currently have that would benefit you in your chosen career, then seek out ways to develop those. Again, this might be through formal training courses or via work experience.

If you’re unsure what new skills you should be looking to develop, ask people in your chosen career field that you respect and admire what they would recommend.

Which ties in nicely with…


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Seek out a mentor

If you’re serious about turning your job into a long-term career you should look to identify at least one mentor who can support you.

An ideal mentor would be someone who is more senior than you are in your profession, with plenty of experience.

If you approach them and explain that you would like their mentorship to help you develop in your career there is a strong chance that they will agree – being asked to be a mentor is a big ego boost for even the most senior of people!

Build your industry network

You should look to meet other people in your chosen field to build up your network of contacts. This will help you gain insight and opinion from other people, share your own experiences.

Crucially, it will also help you build up a network of connects that you can tap into when looking to make the next step in your career.




Consider internships

If your current job is not in the field of your desired career, you may want to consider ways in which you can build experience in your chosen industry, and an internship can help.

Not only will an internship help you get relevant experience in your career field, it will also demonstrate your dedication and commitment.

Job Vs Career: Conclusion

A job can be taken away. A career cannot.

A job is fixed and cannot change – that’s why jobs can become obsolete. A career is adaptable and can take many twists and turns to fit in with personal, societal and technological changes.

A career encompasses our whole lives. When one career avenue is closed to us we need to take stock of the skills and experience we have built up in other areas of our whole career.

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