Instructional design is becoming a booming profession as the education market continues to grow, particularly in the online space – and with more opportunity comes increased competition.
No more than 10 to 15 years ago the instructional design profession was one that had demand but not as much visibility as the typical career tracks like engineering and healthcare. While it still isn’t the most popular profession there is, the growth has been staggering.
A big part of this can be attributed to the massive growth of the e-learning market. With the market being projected to be about $325 billion by 2025, you can understand why there has been an increased interest in the field. Instructional design is at the heart of this space as it applies to both e-learning and traditional instructor-led training events.
If you are interested in this field then you have plenty of options. Sure, you can get a formal degree in instructional design and that will serve you well. But that is not always necessary. You can do just as well with some practical experience and specific training offered by an association dedicated to the training and development industry. There are many popular options but CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) and CPT (Certified Performance Technologist) tend to be the most popular. The former is often included in job postings related to instructional design.
With so much competition, what should you have on your resume?
Now that competition for instructional design positions has increased, you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. There are certain ways to make your resume more attractive no matter what the position. Naturally though you will want to highlight certain characteristics more than others depending on the role. For example, if it is a management position then make sure to provide examples of your managing ability.
With that said, here are some “must have” items that should be on your resume so that you are at least in consideration.
- Relevant certifications – As mentioned above, make sure to include any relevant certification that you may have in the field.
- Examples of your work – remove sensitive information and have an online portfolio. Provide examples of both online and offline training initiatives if possible.
- Area of expertise – Too many instructional designers try to be “one size fits all”. Specify what it is that you do best. Remember that specialists always make more money than generalists.
- Achieved outcomes – Instructional designers often neglect to include hard numbers with regards to their achievements. Numbers validate your credibility. Use statistics and use them often.
- Demonstrate continued ambition – Explain what you are doing today to further your skills in the field. This is an ever-changing industry so employers want to see that you will stay up with the trends. This can involve examples of committees you are participate in or career specific networking groups.
Don’t use the same resume for each job opening.
My final word of advice is that you avoid a huge mistake that most applicants make (in any profession) when applying to a position: they send the same resume and cover letter.
As someone who has hired for our own company I can tell you that nothing catches my attention more than a cover letter that discusses the exact role and is specific to our company. This is probably because nearly everyone sends some canned message and resume. Make it easy for the people who are reviewing your credentials. Tell them why you’re a fit and point them to specifics on your resume. You will likely make it to the second round if interviews if you do.