There is a fine line in the difference between a job and a career. Many may assume that they are the same item but, this is a misconception as they are two different things. However, they both work hand-in-hand.
While jobs and careers both enable us to earn enough money to support ourselves and our families, they do not mean the same thing. It is important to know whether you’re looking for a job or for a career to plan your professional goals.
In this article, you will learn the difference, how one could affect the other and how you can turn your job collectively into a career.
Definition of a job
A job is a paid position of regular employment. It is the work you perform to earn wages and support your basic needs. It could be full-time or part-time.
Jobs are mainly driven by first-hand skills or developing skills that you have to carry out the work.
If you are in a company set-up job, there are expectations of you to perform your individual jobs and deliver a certain threshold of results from the duties you are responsible for.
Jobs are mostly contractual and can either be short-term or long-term.
Definition of a career
A career is an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress. It is the path you embark upon to fulfill your professional goals and ambitions.
A career is mostly driven by an individual’s passions. Careers may require a certain level of education or training to achieve their goals.
Furthermore, individuals with careers on track often have salary benefits such as pensions, retirement benefits, stock options and bonuses.
Arguably, they also gain benefits beyond money, such as personal pride, work satisfaction and self-worth.
You could hold numerous jobs under many employers in your chosen industry that you progress through during your career.
4 ways in which your job affects your career
You will likely hold many jobs throughout your career, even if you don’t have a set career path in mind when you first join the workforce. It may be helpful to consider every position you fill as a step in your life’s work. Your job can affect your career in these ways:
1. Jobs build your career
A career consists of all the jobs you have worked, regardless of whether they are associated with each other. You could spend decades working a job in the same department as one organization.
Alternatively, you could work many seemingly unrelated jobs over your lifetime, such as shopkeeper, executive assistant and information technology specialist.
They all define your career and can connect you with other opportunities you are passionate about. Think of jobs as short-term duties that can help you achieve your long-term goals.
2. You learn from each job
Every job you take teaches you lessons you can apply to future jobs. You will also gain a variety of skills, knowledge and experiences.
For instance, maybe your job as a retail clerk taught you how to handle difficult situations with tact. Your receptionist position may have taught you good communication and customer service skills.
Other roles might help develop your writing skills, develop your ability to handle rejection or teach you the value of perseverance and hard work.
3. Jobs provide you with networking opportunities
With each job, you build a network and community of professional contacts.
If you maintain a productive and professional relationship with all your colleagues and clients, you can provide yourself with the ability to reach out to these connections throughout your career.
4. Hard work pays off
Your current job could affect your career in unexpected ways. For this reason, try to go beyond doing the bare minimum.
A positive outlook, an eagerness to learn and consistently high-quality work can set you apart, create new opportunities and earn you recommendations for future jobs.
4 ways to turn your job into a career
If you aim to have a career, you can work toward meeting that long-term goal. These strategies can help:
1. Continue Learning and developing
Always aim to enhance your skills and knowledge. If you know what career path you want to pursue, figure out what expertise and experience you need to get there.
Once you are aware of the requirements, seek to develop your qualifications whether through practice in your current job or formal training, online courses and education.
When trying to determine which skills will benefit your career most, look to successful professionals in that industry.
Ask yourself what their strengths, talents or accomplishments are. Reach out to individuals with similar careers, and ask for their advice.
2. Get a mentor
If possible, seek out a mentor or two with an upper-level position or experience in your desired field. Ask if they will consider supporting and advising you professionally.
While working with a mentor, you may plan specific questions to ask or topics to discuss, like career development. Consider your mentor’s path and whether a similar one could work for you.
3. Expand your network
Workshops, conferences, seminars and social events can be great places to meet professionals in your field.
You can expand your network to have more resources for sharing experiences, learning, gaining advice and gaining job recommendations.
4. Apply for an internship
Building experience in your career field, even if it is an internship, can help you advance or break into that sector.
If you are currently working as an information technology consultant but desire a career in the publishing industry, for instance, you may seek educational or certification opportunities and then look for internships that can help you gain editing or production experience.
Jobs and careers are interconnected, as a lifetime of jobs makes up the career you choose.
Most people start at the bottom with an entry-level or low-paying job before progressing through different jobs in their industry to gain the experience needed to meet their long-term goals.
The skills and knowledge you develop in each role can contribute to success in your career.