Career vs Job: Differences and Similarities

When planning your future, you should know the difference between a job and a career to ensure that you know which of them you are chasing at every point in time.

Even though they both work hand in hand towards ensuring that you constantly earn money, they are not entirely the same.

It is important to know whether you’re looking for a job or for a career to plan your professional goals. Where a career focuses more on achieving your goals, a job is mostly for the paycheck.

In this article, I have detailed the difference and similarities between a career and a job and why you should know them.

You would also learn how one affects the other and how a job can affect your career and how a career can lead to a job.

Keep reading.

What is a Career?

A career can best be described as your professional journey. It is what gets you to attain the heights you intend to achieve in life.

Also, a career helps you support your lifestyle and attain all of your ambitions.

Hence, to have a successful career, you must show yourself skilled and ready to do anything it takes. You must also have a certain level of training, education, or experience.

A career may be based on your passion. Imagine being paid heavily for something you enjoy doing. In your career, you rise through the ranks, starting from an entry-level position to going higher.

In pursuing your career, you could have a set salary with benefits such as stock options, retirement plans, pensions, and bonuses. You would also gain benefits beyond money, such as personal pride, work satisfaction, and self-worth.

A career would last for your entire life as long as you do not deviate from this line. Most people change careers a lot in their life but if you stick to a career laced with things you enjoy doing, you would be very successful in no time as you progress through your career.

Read About: How To Change Career When You Are Confused

What is a Job?

As dicey as it may sound, jobs make up your career. Even though it is defined as anything you can do to make money on a daily, it still furthers your career if you get a job in your career line. A job is mostly about “now” and rarely ever worries about the future.

Most jobs are short-term experiences, where you work for wages or salaries.

Most persons are of the opinion that a job would limit the furtherance of your career because you would constantly be chasing after money and tasks your employer has set out for you, instead of focusing on yourself and your career.

However, if you have a job that gives you more insight into your career and pushes you to do better at it than you are doing now, take it.

Even though it may seem like you are not furthering your career with a job and working for just now, you must know that if you pay attention, there is a lot you can get from working a job.

You learn from each job. Every job has a way of teaching you things. You would either gain more knowledge and experience, sometimes, even get a skill you did not have before.

Check Out: Job Search Advice: What Most Persons Don’t Tell You

What is the Similarities between a Career and a Job?

A career and a job have certain similarities because you cannot have one without the other.

Where a career could comprise all the jobs, you have worked whether or not they are associated; you might spend a good number of years working a job and it would not add to the bigger picture of your life.

However, there are certain similarities between a career and a job. Some of them are-

  • A job and a career can both provide you with networking opportunities- In going towards your career and working a job, you can connect and meet with a lot of people.
  • In both your career and your job, hard work pays off. If you put your all into your career, in a few years, it would pay off. As well as your job. If you put reasonable work into your job, you would create new opportunities for yourself and earn recommendations for future jobs.
  • In both a job and a career, you would continue learning and developing as time passes. For your career, you would learn things that would help you on the long run to become a professional you strive to be. You would learn your strengths and weaknesses, your talents and hidden skills you had not seen before. A job on the other hand would make you keep learning to prove you are valuable enough to your employer. Once you stop learning, you would most likely get demoted.
  • A job and a career requires that you work. Whether you intend to be self-employed or focus on making money and growing yourself, they both require that you do some kind of work.
  • In both a job and a career, to ensure you get to the highest level of the ladder, you would be required to get a mentor. The mentor would mostly be a person with an upper-level position or experience in your desired career or job field. You may ask them specific questions that relates to the career or job.
  • A career and job would help you expand your network. In most career and jobs, you would be required to attend conferences, seminars and social events. In attending these, you would meet new people whom you can share experiences and learning with.
  • In pursuing a career and a job, you would be required to apply for internships. Internships would help you in both a career and a job to break into any sector you want to. You may however, need certifications to get you into doors to do the internships.
  • They are both focused on earning your money. The major reasons for pursuing a career and a job is for the purpose of making money. Both can make you enough money depending on the amount of work you put into it.

What are the Differences between a Career and a Job?

Even though there are similarities between the two, there are also several differences between a career and a job.

They have been highlighted below:

A career is stable while a job is unstable

So far as you have the qualifications and experience you need, you can always have a career.

As the world evolves, following the rise in technology and putting into consideration factors like recession, you can lose your job at any time.

Long Term Value

A career increases the value you can offer on the long run and ensures you would get higher pay and better benefits.

A job is much steadier and fixed. Your pay would be stable and it does not matter that you can offer value and have learnt more during your employment.

Job Satisfaction

A career would give you job satisfaction and a sense of pride in what you do, which in turn leads to increased overall happiness, especially if you are doing what you like.

A job on the other hand, especially when it is not related to your career would constantly drain you and make you wish for more.

Mind Challenge

A career will challenge you on a daily basis, give you goals to work towards and motivate you, and therefore help make your job more meaningful.

A job would barely challenge you. You would always know your tasks for each day and it gets boring after a while.

Long Term Goal

A career is long-term and is a series of related employment in one field that provides experience for your future and helps you earn a better paycheck and living status.

A job is more short-term-oriented and focuses purely on earning money.

Life time Benefits

A career would give you full-time benefits which may include paid-time-off, sick days, health insurance, dental coverage, retirement contributions and stock options.

A Job typically does not come with such benefits.

Flexible Work Hours

  • With a career, you could work regular hours

With a job, your work tends to be more time-oriented.

  • In terms of education, your career would require more education and certifications. It would require that you have an in-depth knowledge and a specific skill set which strictly relates to your career.

A job does not require you to have several certifications only an educational qualification or a skill which you can be employed upon.

  • A career is for you to support yourself maximally and put in an enough effort toward reaching your goals and ambitions

The purpose of working a job is to earn money.

  • A career cannot turn into a job because it is a long-term professional experience.

A job on the other hand, can very easily turn into a career.

  • One of the major purposes of a career is to learn valuable skills.

The major purpose of a job is to earn money

  • People with careers oversee people with jobs.

A person working a job mostly only oversees the project he has been assigned to work on.

  • With a career, you have high hopes of advancement.

With a job, your advancement may only come in form of a raise or a promotion

  • You cannot have a career without a job

You can work a job without a career

  • A career opportunity has a high rate of professional growth. Specialized training and other self-development field as well as a chance to become a thought leader and specialist in your field

A job on the other hand does not gear towards professional growth. It simply presents you with an opportunity to earn your next pay and very low or non-existent career progression opportunities.

Can Jobs Make Up Your Career?

You cannot have a career without a job. A career consists of all the jobs you have worked so far as they all geared toward the purpose of improving your career as a whole.

To enable jobs to help in making up your career, you need to-

1. Find a Mentor

A mentor is someone who can offer your support and guidance throughout your career. Pick someone with a job title you aspire to have one day.

Ask them how they got to where they are today. Use this relationship to learn what you need to do to progress in a specific field or industry.

While mentors can offer great advice, they can also lead you to exciting connections and career opportunities.

2. Ask for more responsibilities

When you feel like you need more of a challenge at work, ask your employer for additional tasks. This can show that you are ambitious and ready for the next level in your career.

With more responsibilities often comes higher pay as well. When your employer sees that you can handle more challenging work, they may offer you a raise or a promotion.

By taking these opportunities, you can continue to move up the company hierarchy and grow in your career.

3. Continue your Education

With a higher level of education comes many more job opportunities. Employers looking to fill senior-level positions often want people with an advanced degree or years of experience.

If your employer ever offers to reimburse your education, definitely take advantage of this.

Otherwise, there are plenty of online or night courses that you could do while working a full-time job.

4. Build your Network

Building your network is an essential factor in building your career and job.

Ensure you always show up. Let people know the skills you possess. Make an effort to create connections everywhere you go.

Sign up for networking events to meet other professionals in your field. After getting to know someone at one of these events, ask for their contact information.

Following up with them to grab a cup of coffee or have a virtual meetup is a great way to build your relationship.


Is a Career more important than a job?

Yes. But remember that what is most important depends on what you want for yourself.

Can I get paid in my Career?

Yes. In pursuing your career, you would have to work jobs, and jobs pay you for your services.

What kind of career can I have if I am unemployed?

This depends on the skills you already possess. Find the best skill you have and leverage on it.

What kind of job can I have if I’m unemployed?

A self-employed job. Look for a skill you have; or a knowledge you have that people can buy, then leverage on it.

How long can it take me to build my career?

This depends on the career you want for yourself. It can take 6-15 years to work on your career.


Figure out how your jobs can translate into a career. What started out as a job can grow into a career.

You may find that you genuinely enjoy your job and want to find ways to make it into your full-time profession.

I hope in reading this, you have realized the difference between a career and a job. I hope this was helpful.


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