Have you ever found yourself feeling as though your career development has ground to a halt? If so, chances are that you could benefit from some outside motivation.

As human beings, we all seem to be hardwired to seek inspiration from role models and leaders, and one of the best ways to get that motivation is with powerful and insightful quotes. Words that appeal to our innate aspirational nature can help to center our thinking and motivate us to press ever onward, overcome challenges, and ultimately achieve our dreams

In this post, we will explore seven inspirational career quotes that you can use to fuel your own career development and examine why those words are so powerful. We will also include relevant links to resources that can help you use those quotes to further your career goals.

Focus on being valuable

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein

As one of history's genuinely great minds, Albert Einstein was uniquely positioned to understand the nature of success. And though this quote has appeared in a variety of forms over the years, its meaning remains constant: success comes when you strive to provide value to those around you. If you keep that truth in mind as you chart your career path, you can work to always be the type of employee who adds something special to every job you hold.

Of course, it is also important to know how to highlight that value in your resume. For some great tips on how to illustrate your value to potential employers, read the post 4 Ways to Highlight Your Value on Your Resume.

Be committed to reaching your potential

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” — John Maxwell

These words from leadership expert John Maxwell point out a simple truth that you have probably noticed at some point in your life: abilities do not always translate into success. There are plenty of examples of talented people who never seem to tap into their potential. Meanwhile, people with similar levels of talent go on to achieve remarkable things. That desire to reach your full potential can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your ability to reach your career goals.

One of the best ways to discover and reach your potential is through mentorship. To learn more about how having a mentor can benefit your career development by helping you achieve your potential, check out 5 Ways a Mentor Can Boost Your Career Potential

Keep persevering through every challenge

“If you're going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill

Churchill knew a little something about persevering when everything seems to be arrayed against you. With this quote, he perfectly illustrated a timeless bit of wisdom: when things seem to be at their worst, keep moving forward. After all, if everything seems to be horrible, there is every reason to push ahead and get out of that tough situation. This is true whether you are experiencing difficulties at work or are currently unemployed and struggling to find the right job.

If you find yourself in the latter category, and need some motivation to help you through your difficult times, reread this quote and then go check out the article, 5 Methods to Avoid Depression Caused by Long-Term Unemployment.

Find the lesson in every failure

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” — Thomas Edison

This famous quote from the inventor of the light bulb is a great piece of insight to turn to whenever you are struggling with failure in life or work. How you view life's inevitable failures will help to shape your path to success. If you allow yourself to internalize every missed opportunity and failure, you may soon find yourself fearing failure so much that you stop trying. However, you can turn every failure into a lesson in a life and career filled with trial and error.

For more on this great insight, be sure to read the post, Why Failure is the Most Critical Component to Long-Term Success.

Always be mindful of that next opportunity

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” —Alexander Graham Bell

Much like Edison's quote, this wisdom from Alexander Graham Bell serves as a reminder that failures are never permanent. For every opportunity that you miss, there are a hundred other opportunities that you have yet to explore. The key is to avoid focusing on that missed opportunity so much that you fail to see other opportunities as they arise.

This is an important thing to remember during any job search since it's easy to get discouraged over rejected applications. For some advice on how to handle those closed doors, be sure to read From Lemons to Lemonade: Turn Job Rejection Into Opportunity.

Be confident in your ability to achieve greatness

“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” — Zig Ziglar

Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was a one-man inspirational quote generator and left us with countless examples of his wit and wisdom. This quote is one that perfectly captures his lifelong effort to help people realize their true potential. As you work to advance your career, you will encounter many challenges and obstacles that cause you to doubt your own abilities. When you do, bring this quote to mind and remember that you began life with all the innate potential for greatness you need to find true success.

Be sure to read the article, How to Improve Your Self-Confidence at Work for ideas that can help you deal with any self-confidence issues that may be stunting your career development. Many of the tips and advice in that post can also help you if you are currently unemployed and struggling with your job search.

Skills make all the difference

“Build your skills not your resume.” — Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is a true American success story, and this quote is one that should inspire everyone to recognize the importance of focusing on the skills they need to succeed. Too often, people look for experiences and titles that can enhance their resumes, rather than targeting the skill development they need to provide real value in the workplace. Focus on your skills first, and your resume will practically write itself.

Recognize also that the skills you need to build involve more than just those you learned as you earned your degree or certification. Today's employers place a premium on soft skills too! To learn more, read The Top 13 Job Skills Employers Want.


Millions of people around the world rely on motivational quotes to inspire them to be the best version of themselves. These inspirational career quotes can serve the same purpose by helping to raise your aspirations and motivate you to overcome every challenge that comes your way. Consider bookmarking this page or printing out a couple of these quotes to keep you motivated.

When you're ready to take the next step in your career, check out our free resume critique service to make sure your resume is presenting you correctly.

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