There’s a difference between a job and a career. A job is a gig – something that can be given or taken away, something you’re doing for now and may not do forever. A career is a long-term commitment, a vision and a goal as much as a day-to-day reality. A career means you have direction and passion – and that you’ll have more opportunities and better jobs thanks to your sense of purpose and commitment.
But what makes the difference between a job and a career? How can you turn a job into a career? It’s not enough to just show up day after day – if you lose your job, how can you be sure of getting another one in the same line of work, continuing on the track you’ll need to stick to in order to make a career of this?
The difference comes down to qualifications. In this day and age, experience alone isn’t enough – in fact, you may never be able to get experience in the type of work you care about if you don’t first begin with some training. That’s why training matters for those who want a career, not just a job.
You don’t have to go to a university
Studying at a research university is all well and good if your goal is go into academics, law, medicine, or other fields that require higher degrees. But if you’re looking to go into auto mechanics or plumbing, going to college isn’t necessarily the best use of your money or time. There’s nothing dishonorable about scholarly pursuits, but when it comes to your career, college should be a financial decision. Is it worth the money, considering what it is that you want to do?
There are important alternatives to consider. If you want to go into a career as an auto technician, for instance, you may want to look at technical colleges, career institutes, and apprenticeships. There is more than one way to become more qualified in this or any other line of work – the important thing to understand is that it is worth becoming qualified, and that you don’t have to take out huge college loans in order to do so.
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Then there are certifications. These don’t necessarily mean classes – instead, they mean tests. Prepare with a course or on your own, and earn the certifications that will look best on your resume.
What these options have in common is that nobody can take them away from you. You’ll get to put them on your resume every time you look for a job, and your degree and your certifications will assure potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed. They’ll demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field – as well as your ability to follow through and achieve big things in life.
Every job needs great training
There are stereotypes around certain types of work that suggest that you can’t learn much about them, or don’t need to. Don’t fall into this trap – while some industries make use of unskilled labor, there are very few careers that will let you rise far without proper training. It doesn’t take much to sweep floors, for instance, but there’s much more than that to, and if you want to run the company instead of sweep the floors, you’ll need to understand the whole of how the business and the industry operate.
That’s the key to turning your job into a career: the commitment to proper training, and the certifications to prove it. Turn to an organization or institution that specializes in training people in your industry. Take certification tests that will award you important honors and qualifications. Speak to people you trust in your industry and ask them which courses and certifications would do the most for you, and then target those courses and certifications. Whatever you do, keep pushing for more and more training. It’s the only way to be the best and make the most of your career.