What’s the difference between a career, a job, and an occupation?

A job is what you show up to for work

A career spans your lifetime and includes your education, training, professional memberships, volunteering and your full history of paid work.

An occupation describes a type of work with associated tasks, education and training, wages, work settings, and more.

For instance, you may choose to get trained for the occupation “registered nurse”. Then apply for a job as an emergency room nurse at your local hospital. After several years, your career might include that experience in the ER, as well as jobs in pediatrics, patient education, and physiotherapy work.

How to set career goals

Career goals should be SMART.

  1. Specific – Aim for a specific, concrete area for your goal or steps.
  2. Measurable – To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: how much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
  3. Attainable – Goals are most attainable when steps are thought out clearly and allow enough time. How do you intend to accomplish your goal? Which actions follow on other actions? Is the goal realistic given where you’re starting from? It should be a challenge, but also achievable.
  4. Relevant – A relevant goal is one that really matters to you and to the end result. Is it worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does your goal relate to other efforts? Does it require resources that are currently available?
  5. Timely – A goal should be grounded within a defined time period, both for clarity and to give your action urgency. When do you want to begin? When do you want to complete each step?

Tips to achieve your goal

  1. Write down the steps: Write down your career goal and the steps to get there. This will help you remember and achieve each step. Post your list where you will see it often.
  2. Set deadlines: Give yourself a date to complete your goals by. Write the date when you actually finish each step.
  3. Reward yourself: Taking steps toward goals is hard work. Think of small rewards to give yourself when you complete any step, to help you stay motivated.
  4. Have An accountability partner: Find someone to help you stick to your plan: a friend, or someone else. Discuss your goals, and check in with them when you complete steps. If possible, do the same for your partner!


Do you know what skills you already have and how they can boost your career?

Your skills describe what you like to do and what you are good at. You develop skills by training and experience that improve your ability to do tasks.There are two kinds of skills: technical skills, and soft skills. Both types are important for success.

  1. build a locker
  2. operate equipment
  3. paint a portrait
  4. write a story
  5. write computer code
  6. teach a lesson
  7. investigate a scientific question
  8. sell products to customers
  9. Being a good communicator
  10. Being a critical thinker
  11. Working well as a team
  12. Being self-motivated
  13. Being flexible
  14. Being determined and persistent
  15. Being a quick learner
  16. Being punctual