What Is The Difference Between A Job And A Career?

You might have heard people talking about wanting a career as opposed to a job. For some of us, this might sound a little strange, as many have used the term interchangeably before. Well, we are here to set the record straight.

There is a difference between a career and a job. This difference is that a job is something one does for money. However, a career is about long-term development. A career is something you spend time building and progressing in.

We’ll look at both careers and jobs in detail in this article.

What Is A Career?

A career is something that is often defined as the journey of an individual’s working life. Careers are often based on what you are passionate about compared to something you are doing for just money.

You might have heard of the phrase career progression. This is how to explain the difference between a job and a career. In a career, the aim is to keep progressing until you reach the next stage or the top of your career.

Careers often last an individual’s entire life. There is of course the option to switch careers but many stay in the chosen career and progress.

Careers often come with benefits that some jobs don’t. Some of these benefits include the individual’s satisfaction at work and pride. The key point is that careers have benefits that are not just about money.

What Is A Job?

A job is something that someone does in order to earn money. This money is something that covers the individual’s basic needs.

There is usually a contract between the employer and the employee agreeing that the employee will get regular payments in exchange for completing the tasks they have agreed to.

Jobs can be what make up a career. During a person’s career, they may have many different jobs. However, jobs can also be separate from a career. Some people have jobs purely for the money. Some jobs might not have any progression.

Key Differences Between A Job And A Career

Here are some of the key differences between a job and a career.


A job is considered to be short-term compared to a career, which is considered to be long-term. A career is meant to be something you achieve throughout your life. Most people often do this by having short-term jobs and progressing to the next job in their career.

An example of this would be having a career in the firefighting industry could lead to having different jobs.

You could start out as a firefighter, then be promoted to the next job of being lieutenant, after your next job in this career could be being promoted to captain.

You could keep being promoted and changing jobs until you reach being a Chief.

These would be considered having short-term jobs that lead to fulfilling your long-term career goals.


Jobs and careers are about exchanging, though they exchange different things. In a job, you are exchanging your services, time, and energy for a regular paycheck. Whereas in a career, you are exchanging your time and energy for the ability to pursue your work ambitions.

Concept And Focus

The concepts of a job and a career are different. The focus of them is also different. The concept of a job is to fulfill your basic needs. This means that a job is there so you have what you need to survive. Whereas the concept of a career is that it is a goal in itself.

So since the concepts are so different, the focuses of them are completely different. A job focuses on getting money, whereas a career focuses on improving and reaching the next goal. A career focuses on continuing to learn and progress.


Both jobs and careers have different requirements. Jobs require you to have some form of education, experience, or other skills. On the other hand, a career requires you to have relevant experience and training in the field that you have your career in.

Can You Turn A Job Into A Career?

coworkers working together

Yes, some jobs can absolutely be turned into a career. As mentioned above, a career is made up of many different jobs that you progress through.

So if you are in a job where there is the ability to progress, this can most definitely be a career path. Some jobs, however, cannot be turned into a clear career. These are jobs that have no progression. Although, you can use the skills you’ve learned to work towards another career.

How To Turn A Job Into A Career

Here are some of the ways you can turn your job into a career.

Know Your Path

The first step to turning your job into a career is knowing the paths that this job can lead you to. You need to be aware of the progression to the next stage of your career path.

Looking back on the example of working as a firefighter, some people are content with being a firefighter and keeping that as their job. However, if you want to pursue a career in the fire service you need to know what the next stage after becoming a firefighter is.

Learn And Train

The best way to turn your job into a career is to continue learning new skills and go on as many training programs as you can possibly go on.

The idea is to keep developing new skills so that when you eventually want to go for the next job on your career path, you have the skills and training required for that field.


Another great way of being successful in your chosen career path is to network. If you make more connections, especially with people in the positions you want to be in when relevant roles open up, they may recommend you.

Also increasing your network connections means having access to different skills and training opportunities.

Find A Mentor

Mentors are a great way to make improvements in your chosen career path. From them, you can learn specific skills and training, which will prepare you for when you attempt to make the move to the next stage of your career.

Take Every Opportunity

Make sure you try to go for every opportunity you are presented with. This will help to develop your skills and knowledge of your specific career. Whether these opportunities are an internship, a work trip, or even volunteering, seize every opportunity you can.

Final Thoughts

So a job is something short-term that you do in order to receive money, whereas a career is a long-term goal that you are continuously trying to achieve. During your career, you may have many jobs that help you to achieve your career goals. They are two different concepts but they can also overlap.

There are plenty of jobs that you can turn into a career, you just need to know about what you need to do in order to move to the next stage.


Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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