4 Ways to Find Out if a Prospective Employer Offers Professional Development

When you’re on the hunt for a new job, it’s likely you’re weighing factors such as salary, healthcare coverage and paid time off. If you’re like most job seekers, you’ve also got a keen interest in what sort of professional development opportunities your next employer has to offer as well.

But how do you know whether the organization that’s wooing you has a solid professional development program in place? To find out, you might have to do some detective work. Here are four tips to guide you:

1. Look to social media

Many organizations know job seekers are interested in professional development. Companies that are especially proud of their programs will often tout them on their websites. You can also follow potential employers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. If they’re really gung-ho about helping their employees develop and hone skills, you’ll likely see mention of this in their social media feeds.

2. Tap your contacts

Do you have friends or LinkedIn connections who have worked, or do work, for your prospective employer? Or maybe they know someone who does? Call in a favor and ask them to inquire about their company’s professional development programs. Better yet, ask for an introduction to their contact so you can meet for coffee and ask about professional development and other benefits.   

3. Use a direct line of questioning

If things get serious and you’re brought in for an interview, you can ask the hiring manager directly about professional development. There’s no shame in wanting to improve your skills game: It shows you’re serious about your career. Some questions to consider asking:

  • What types of professional development opportunities do you offer?
  • Do you provide mentorships to new employees?
  • Does your organization have a leadership development program?
  • Do you offer professional development incentives such as tuition assistance, coverage of professional membership dues, or reimbursement for conference and seminar fees?

4. Rely on a recruiter’s expertise

Specialized staffing agents are well-versed in all the perks their client companies offer to prospective employees, including professional development. Additionally, by keeping in touch with candidates after they’re placed in a role, recruiters gain insider insight into incentives, and will likely know if candidates are satisfied with the opportunities offered by employers.

To climb the career ladder, you need to have access to programs that help you hone existing skills and pick up new tricks of the trade. Do some legwork before accepting a job offer to make sure your career path sets you up for success.