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Difference Between A Job and A Career?

The words job and career are often used interchangeably. We tend to not focus on the nuances of the words and what they really mean.  However, as you begin to advance in your career, you’ll begin to get asked more often what your career is?  This shift usually occurs once you’ve been a career professional for a few years and have gained some years of experience.  So, what is the difference between a job and a career?

What Is A Job?

Although both a job and a career are meant to help you earn money, they have dramatically different meanings.  A job is usually short-term, with a specific task or role needed to be completed.  A job is typically something done for the money.  Most jobs do not see long-term employees and will have high turnover rates as a result.

Jobs are typically paid by the hour.  The wages are generally not as high as in a career.  As jobs are typically focused on one task or responsibility, they tend to see a slew of applicants.  Jobs are a great way to become introduced to the concept of working and earning money.  They are a great way to build work ethic and to begin understanding how businesses, both large and small, operate.  In addition, jobs are a great way to become introduced to the nuances of the working world and learning how to work well with others.

What Is A Career?

A career is essentially a long-term employment strategy.  It is about securing your skills and knowledge within a particular field, industry, or concentration and continuing to leverage those skills for higher pay and responsibilities.  A career is more concentrated than a job and typically is a long-term strategy.

Careers are about gaining skills, gaining experience, learning the ins-and-outs of an industry, and building connections.  As most of your colleagues will be in the same career as you, it is extremely important to build you your network of connections.  These connections can help you secure new opportunities of employment or may simply be a great source for advice and mentorship.

Careers are also more salary based versus jobs which pay hourly.  Within a career, most individuals tend to prioritize promotions and advancement.  These promotions are typically merit based and are awarded to the individual that has shown the greatest amount of skill, knowhow, and tact within their specific role.

While not always necessary, most careers require some form of higher education.  As the job market has become increasingly more-and-more crowded, some companies are beginning to require advanced, graduate degrees from their labor force.  This requirement can be particularly difficult for low-income households, with graduate degrees costing upwards of $120,000.

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