Three Key Differences Between Jobs & Careers

An Operator with Headphones and a Doctor in Uniform

I have often come across people mentioning jobs and careers in the same breath, implying both to be the same thing. Comparatively more mature (in age) people realize this important difference through their years of experience whereas many others do not differentiate between a job and a career consciously. In reality, it is such an important concept that it should be ingrained into a person’s mind from a young age.

To understand them better, let’s find out some basic differences:

1. Definition:

A job comprises a certain amount of work, performed as part of one’s occupation, in return for an agreed remuneration. It can be full time or part-time. For commercial purposes, this employment creates profits for the employer and the worker gets paid with his earnings in return. For example, working at a fast food cash counter is a normal job.

Career can be defined as a complete occupation or profession that requires a certain level of training and/or education, usually followed over the working lifetime of an employee. Following the course of time, any career goes through a progression involving ups and sometimes downs. As a result, it is not uncommon to see one’s career going through a flux at that point of time. For example, getting qualified and working as a nurse is called making a career in the health care industry.

2. Time Span:

A job is an arrangement between an employer and an employee at any given time in a working person’s life whereby the employer pays and the employee earns compensation in exchange for the work provided. A particular job can last as little as a few weeks or months to a few years.

A career, on the other hand, is an employment of a person over most of that person’s working life. It encompasses all the jobs worked for by one aggregating into a profession by which the career is identified. A well identified career may last over almost all of one’s working life.

3. Qualification:

One might or might not have to hold a certain qualification for a job. For example, a short term job or a temporary one can be done without getting a specialized training. Taking the fast food counter job again, a person can ably perform it with basic customer service knowledge.

However, to make a career in a chosen discipline, you need to be qualified, and progressively so, in order to make it a lasting profession. For example, in order to make a career in media, one might have to complete a degree or diploma in Journalism, gain experience in related jobs and progressively attain a stable position.


To make a meaningful career, good planning, informed decisions and well meaning guidance from sources like parents and teachers is imperative. Life being the way it is, sometimes people have to jump in jobs unrelated to their chosen career or in an area that they won’t be following for the rest of their lives, in order to survive. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it as long you don’t lose sight of your original career goals and strive to come back on track to achieve it.


  1. Nadine Roberts says

    My name is Nadine Roberts, I am currently a student at CDI College. I would like to leave a comment for Mona but most of all for anyone one who is looking for help with their resume and/or career choices. Mona has been very helpful and informative for me, even if she didn’t know something off hand (there wasn’t much she didn’t know about) she would find out the answers to any questions I had. She also has a huge network of individuals within the lower mainland. I would recommend anyone to go talk to Mona because she is so passionate about what she does, it is truly inspiring. Thank you again Mona for all your help.

    • Mona says

      Thanks Nadine for your very generous comments. I am very glad to learn that you found me to be helpful to you and to others. Your encouraging words will help me to passionately help anyone needing career related help with anything I can do to the best of my ability. Thanks again.

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