Know How You’ll Grow
Before you take that new position, be sure you know how your new employer will help you develop professionally. Since a growing number of candidates, like you, fully expect to get training on the job, it’s important to find out up front what professional training the company offers and how they approach ongoing education… before you sign on the dotted line.
If the company has a serious commitment to professional development, your interviewer may bring up the topic as a perk of your employment. If they don’t, you should be prepared to broach the subject.
Keep it positive and demonstrate your desire to make a difference within the organization. Let them know that you see ongoing education and professional development as tools you want to take advantage of – both in order to further your career, and make the maximum contribution possible to the success of the business. Keep in mind that ongoing education can take many forms, so ask for specifics.
- Do they offer formalized training programs and development courses?
- If not, are they willing to pay for, or at least contribute to, the costs associated with external training?
- Do they offer online options that would enable you to pick and choose the specific courses that are most important to you and would allow you to learn them at your own pace?
- As part of the growth process, do they believe in routinely involving you in projects designed to stretch your skills and develop competencies?
- Are there mentors or associates who can help coach you and provide the direction needed to expand your skills and capabilities?
The answers to these questions can help determine whether the offer before you matches your long-term career objectives. You need to be realistic. However, your career development path can be every bit as important as initial pay scale and title when you consider your opportunities for advancement within the company, as well as the professional field of your choice.