According to the Dictionary:

We have all heard the term job. By definition, it is a paid position of regular employment or a task or piece of work that is typically paid. We have also all heard the term career, which is by definition, an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with progression opportunities. So, with two clearly different definitions, why are the words used interchangeably more often than not?

Without really thinking about it, you might say “yeah, I have a job” when asked about your employment. However, what you are actually referring to could very well be your career-not your job.

Whether you are a candidate in the job market, or a company searching for hires, it is imperative to understand the difference between these terms and what each one means.

How they Vary: 

A career embodies structured, upward progression. This requires long-term planning and goal making. When you have a career your various job experience, certifications, training, and education all feed into it. These assets help you to climb the professional ladder.

Careers may also be characterized by salaried pay with room for financial growth. Being able to climb the professional ladder also means being able to climb the salary ladder.

In comparison to a career, a job has a lot less room for growth and progression.  While this may not be the case for each and every job, it is true that it is typically short-term employment meant to bring in a paycheck.

Since there is little room for professional growth with a job, the same goes for financial growth with a job. Job seekers and workers put in long hours for lesser amounts of money than those with a career. It takes much more time to advance your pay when working a job.

Another difference between careers and jobs is the way they align with your values and goals. Since a career is a more long-term occupation, it will typically be something you are passionate about that aligns with your values and/or morals. This could be true for a job, however since it is more short term and typically meant to bring in an income, people don’t consider goals and values as much when accepting a job.

How They Relate:

While jobs and careers vary greatly, they do connect throughout one’s life. Jobs make up your career. You may work several jobs while building up your career whether they are related or not. The multiple jobs you work in a lifetime may seem unrelated, but in some way, they will help build your career and connect you with opportunities to grow professionally. Jobs can be thought of as short-term duties that help you to achieve your long-term goals such as a career.

On top of making up your career, jobs also provide learning opportunities. No matter what the job is, a variety of skills is gained. An example of this could be working as a receptionist, which teaches communication and customer service skills. Other jobs may provide the opportunity to improve writing skills. These learned skills will be an asset in the long run when building up your career.

Turning a Job into a career:

We have established that jobs and careers are two totally different experiences, but we have also concluded that they relate in some ways. So how can you go from a job to a career?

As previously mentioned, Jobs give you the chance to learn and develop. Enhancing your skills and knowledge makes you a more hirable candidate. Figuring out a specific career path may help you to work jobs that teach the necessary skills. Besides Jobs, online courses and education will also help you prepare for a career path.

Mentors. We have all had one or heard of them. Someone with expert-level experience in the field of your choice can be a great asset. Between the support, guidance, and opportunity to grow professionally, mentors will help take you from job to career.

Internships are another great way to get your foot in the door. Like some jobs, Internships give you experience in your desired field. A huge pro to many internships is they give you the chance to climb the ladder. You could start as an intern, then move up to an entry-level position and eventually even higher!

The bottom line is, Jobs and careers hold two different definitions, but it is important to know the difference and how jobs can help you build your career. Working the right jobs, learning the necessary skills, and making the right connections will help you land the career you dream of.