Instructional design is a booming industry, yet I am surprised as to how many instructional design professionals don’t invest in their own careers through networking possibilities.
Truth is, the elearning industry has some of the most prestigious networking outlets.
It goes beyond networking though, it is self-marketing.
The idea of marketing your own skills can be somewhat intimidating, and understandably so. That said, this is often what drives you to the upper pay-scale range. Marketing your expertise can be easy to do with just a few strategic decisions.
First, whenever you create an elearning course or instructional design graphic, save it for your own personal portfolio. Even if you are working for a corporation and the training is internal, you should save these assets.
It is very important that you take the necessary steps to remove any sensitive information. Remove any client names, proprietary data, and images. Also, you will want to remove trademarked logos. This may make the course look incomplete, but you can add your own fake logos and information (even simple filler text) as it is more about the layout than the content for your portfolio.
In addition, make sure you have an up-to-date resume with all of the training projects you have completed. I recommend that after each major development you add a bullet point to your resume. You can format it at a later time when you actually need your resume, just make sure you get it recorded. While you are doing this, do the same for your LinkedIn profile.
Speaking of which, if you do not have a LinkedIn profile as an instructional designer, you are actually hurting your career. There are a ton of opportunities on LinkedIn in our industry – be it job offerings or chances to connect with like-minded professionals.
To get the most out of your career, you have to put the effort in to position yourself in a positive light. Believe it or not, most people don’t do this. Put in the time and your career will benefit.