You should start your career in a development program. Why? Transitioning from college to the professional world can be extremely difficult. There are no shortages of stories of people having trouble making the transition (Need Help? Click Here). Development programs can make this transition smoother. They are specifically designed for new graduates/young professionals. During these programs, most of the time your #1 goal is to learn. You have just spent the last 16 years learning and studying, approach this opportunity as an expansion of that with a twist.
These programs have one ultimate goal. To mold and shape you into a well rounded, productive employee and possibly on the fast track to leadership. Not only are these programs designed for YOUR DEVELOPMENT but your managers’ KPI (Key Performance Indicators) and incentives are most likely tied to your progress so they have extra incentive to accomplish this goal.
What is it?
So what do these development programs look like? If it is a quality program they will provide you with an opportunity to learn a function(s) and see how the highest performers operate. All of this is conducted in a “safe” environment where mistakes can be opportunities to learn and not ground for termination.
You will learn the products/services, processes, and people tied to the role you will ultimately be fulling. This is a huge advantage because you get first-hand examples of people being successful in the position you want to hold. It sets you up for success by establishing a solid foundation of all the moving pieces internally.
The people you meet during a development program is one of the biggest benefits. Most programs will have several people in the development program and ultimately you will start to build a bond with your coworkers who are on the same journey as you. If you all continue to grow with the company you can be tremendous assets for one another down the line. Perhaps one of you decides to pursue a new role at a different company and that relationship leads to a fantastic business opportunity that would have not been on your horizon without that connection.
Depending on how long the program has been around you have an opportunity to connect with alumni. They might have risen through the ranks and this now gives you an easy communication channel to learn from other emerging leaders in the organization. Chances are they will have a sense of gratitude toward the program and will want to give back to those just starting out.
After considering your team, alumni, your network has grown considerably. But most of the time it does not end there. Usually, participants in development programs get to take part in a unique experience that many people in the company are too privileged to enjoy. These can range from additional training like outside consultants etc to sitting in on executive presentations/meetings.
The opportunity for growth is usually astounding. Which is contrary to so many other positions in companies across the countries. You will not be pigeonholed in a specific role. These programs are designed to prevent that from happening and specifically for your advancement.
It’s hard to ask for a better opportunity than that. In addition, if you are in one of these programs during company reorganization /shake up you may get the nod for promotion even faster. During those chaotic times they will lean on people who are young, ambitions, and open to the change happening throughout the organization.
People are drawn to these programs for the money. Now the pay can vary from minimal to well in the six figures. It is dependent on the industry, organization, and function. However, chances are you in a favorable position to grow your income tremendously in the next couple of years regardless.
Development programs are not the only way to be successful. There are a ton of other avenues that can lead to the same results. I went through a development program and it brought me more success than I could have imagined. You too can have the same results if you are willing to prepare and put in the work.
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