Is a Job the Same as a Career?

It sometimes seems like the terms "job," "occupation," and "career" mean the same thing. In fact, they have very different meanings.

For this guide we will use those terms to mean the following:

  • A job is a specific position, or work for which you get paid. Example: a computer technician at XYZ Company.
  • An occupation is a type of job with the same characteristics. Example: physicians, teachers, or scientists.
  • A career is a lifelong journey that lasts your whole life. You build skills, knowledge, and experiences. It includes education, training, work experience, and community involvement. It includes school and work. It also includes unpaid work and hobbies.

Setting goals helps you move from a string of unrelated jobs to an occupation. Successful people tend to set short- and long-term goals. They think about what they can do now to achieve their goals in the future.

What’s the difference between an occupation and an industry?
Your occupation is what you do, or a type of job. Your industry is where you do it, or a type of business.

A janitor is an occupation that is found in most industries. Health care is an industry that employs many occupations. You can find doctors, accountants, and janitors in health care.

You need to know the difference between an occupation and an industry. It will help you know what type of work you want to do, and where you want to work. It will also help you learn how you can prepare for that work. Plus, you will be better at your job search.

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