Difference Between Career and Goal

Career is a profession undertaken for a long period in one’s life. Whereas a goal is an aim, ambition, or an expected result. A goal has a very broad definition concerning life, academics, or profession itself.

On the other hand, career is spoken of, only concerning one’s occupation in life.

Goals are things people would like to achieve in their life from time to time. It has no boundaries.

Career is the course of one’s professional life within a single industry or sector. It has restraints or boundaries.

Within the scope of one’s career, goals can be set and achieved.

Career vs Goal

The difference between Career and Goal is that Career is a profession which a person chooses for earning money and sustaining livelihood. Goal can be a number of things which a person would like to do or achieve in a lifetime and that may keep changing from time to time.

Career vs Goal


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCareerGoal
DefinitionThe jobs held, titles earned, and work accomplished over a long period in a person’s professional life.It is a short term or a long term ambition or determined desire expected to be achieved in any aspect of one’s life.
ScopeCareer mostly refers to one’s professional life but can also be used for one’s entire course of life.Goals can be set concerning an hour’s work, academic achievement, occupation, or even a day’s water intake for a person.
UsageUsually used about employment.Used varyingly for various life targets in daily life, education, profession, sports, etc.
SignificanceAll students study to establish potential professional lives or careers. Long term effort is dedicated to careers to live good lives.The importance of goals is relative to the purpose of or kind of work. The goal of wanting to sky-dive 10 times in life may not be important in comparison to the goal of winning a life-changing b-school competition.
ExampleRam made a career choice to pursue Engineering over Medicine.Lisa’s goal for the weekend is to binge-watch on Netflix while eating ice-cream.


What is Career?

Career is related to one’s employment or occupation during her/ his lifetime. However, the broader meaning of career would include all the decisions one makes as a professional or as a college graduate which will be valuable for life.

The meaning of career can hence encompass all educational, socio-economic-political activities and life-changing decisions one makes in life. It can reflect the personality and basic values of a person.

Good career choices and decisions lead to a good and comfortable life.

Career concerns one’s progress in his or her life through several jobs. It includes one’s education, unpaid work experiences like internships, and even volunteering. 

A career can involve a series of unrelated jobs. For example, a person can be an engineer and then switch jobs to work as a bank executive.

Further, he or she may decide to follow their passion and become a writer, etc.

Secondly, a career can involve a string of successively responsible positions. They will be related to one another.

For example, a person may begin as a lecturer at a university and then be promoted to the position of associate professor, professor, and Head of the Department over some time.


What is Goal?

A goal is an anticipated result towards which efforts are directed. It is envisioned, planned, and desired to be achieved.

It is similar to purpose, target, aim, or ambition. They can be short term, long term, or intermediate goals in life.

Goals direct attention towards goal-relevant activities, difficult goals lead to increased, prolonged and persistent effort.

People set goals to succeed, take control of their life’s direction, and focus sincerely. Having a goal provides a benchmark that needs to be achieved.

It’s not enough to only think that you shall practice acts of charity. Without a goal, one may not execute philanthropic activities due to lack of goal and hence lack of determination and focus.

The goals one set must always motivate them. It means that the goal must be significant and valuable for oneself.

Lack of interest in the result or irrelevance of goals can decrease the possibility of actually achieving that goal. Thus goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Determining goals for oneself is the first step to accomplishing anything meaningful in life. Having goals helps people look forward to each day.

Not having any goals ever is a way of living an average life.


Main Differences Between Career and Goal

  1. Career is what one works to be or achieve and is trained for it. On the other hand, goals can be arbitrary.
  2. Career is one’s course of work in life. It is well-planned and people continue in the same career paths for a long time. But, concerning goals, there can be many, every day and every month. Goals can be set for finishing homework or even becoming a doctor.
  3. Goals are the ends that need to be met with effort, determination, strong mind, and consistency. It can be for short or long term. Career is one’s permanent calling for life and one has to work towards it their entire lives.
  4. There can exist many kinds of goals like academic goals, career goals, life goals, etc.  Career or professions are also of different kinds like chef, painter, musician, doctor, biologist, etc.
  5. A career, in short, defines an occupation and broadly covers one’s course of life. But the word goal can have different meanings like an anticipated result or a goal scored in a football match.
Difference Between Career and Goal


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal
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