An Open Letter to 2016 College Graduates — Get Into Business Development

Michael Canty
April 28, 2016

It’s that beautiful time of the year, the birds are chirping, the temperature is rising, and pretty soon you’ll be graduating college. It’s a great accomplishment, it took time, dedication, and perseverance to get your degree. Now it’s time to put that oh so coveted piece of paper and yourself to work. Is reality sinking in yet?

It can be a very intimidating prospect: going out and starting a career, moving out of your parents house, taking on the true responsibility that comes with being an adult. I can remember back a few years ago when I was in your shoes. I was lost and afraid. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or even how I would do it if I did. So with my business degree in hand I went out and began to explore what the world had to offer.

After quite a few missteps and some jobs that I really didn’t love, I was lucky enough to come across the position of a lifetime. A position that put me on a path to a successful career, provided me with a great income, and above all, a job that I love waking up everyday and doing. As you walk across that stage this spring and out into the working world, it is with the highest recommendation and without hesitation that I say: find a job as a Business Development Representative. Here’s why…

Business Development Representatives are in High Demand

The Business Development Representative (BDR) position is the ultimate entry-level position into the business world, and it’s in high demand. With the emergence of startup technology companies all across the United States from L.A. to Boston, and more than a few other cities in between, the business development position has become essential to the successful operation of countless businesses. As these companies continue to grow so does their need for fresh, new talent.

In the BDR role you will learn more about how the business functions, it’s customers, the industry it operates in, and the value your product provides than in any other entry-level position. It will provide you with the work ethic and professional knowledge required to climb the career ladder efficiently and effectively. You will be an indispensable member of the team and constantly see the fruits of your labors in the success you will achieve.

It Pays Well... Even Better if You Excel!

One of my biggest problems entering the job market was finding a position that would pay me a livable wage. With my student loan debt looming on the horizon I needed a position that would pay me well. With countless other bills in tow it became essential for me to increase my earning potential as quickly as possible. If this is a concern of yours, and I’m sure for many of you it is, the BDR position is a great way to maximize your earning potential at the entry level.

With average BDR base salaries ranging from $40,000–$50,000 in most major cities it’s hard not to see the appeal. You’re potential for earning doesn’t end there though. As a BDR you are part of the sales engine that drives companies, and you have the opportunity to boost your earnings further through “on target earnings” or "OTE." As you meet and exceed your designated quotas you will earn a commission for your hard work and success.

On target earnings in this position tend to push salaries upwards of $75,000. It is not unheard of for a BDR to make his way into six-figure territory.

It Gives You Career Options

I graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing, and I always thought that would be the the position I would ultimately take. Sales wasn’t even on my radar, but I’m sure happy that I found it. Sales is the position for me, it fits my personality and I look forward to continuing to grow in this career path. However, I have also seen many colleagues in the BDR position move on to other roles. Positions in marketing, customer success and creative are often the next step for those who start in this role.

There is a good reason for that too. The insight you gain into the customers, their pains, and your industry will be unrivaled. You will be an expert in your product and customers. This experience will carry you on to other opportunities and allow you to truly forge your own career path should you have the ambition. This position is the proverbial foot in the door and once it’s open you can enter any room you’d like.

I could continue on and on about all the upside to starting your career in Business Development. I have lived and witnessed the impact it can have on the careers of young women and men entering the workforce. The opportunity is there. Your next step off that graduation stage should be to take it!


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